August 22, 2001

ICC rejects Pakistan protest

The International Cricket Council (ICC) Tuesday rejected Pakistan's objection and retained controversial New Zealander John Reid as match referee for the first half of the Asian Test Championship.

Pakistan host Bangladesh between Aug 29 and Sept 2 at Multan and then play against India at Lahore between Sept 12 and 16, pending New Delhi clearance. The remaining matches are between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh at Colombo and India and Bangladesh at Bangalore.

In a press statement, the ICC said its policies don't permit any member country to veto the appointment of independent referees or umpires.

The ICC statement added that the policy was reconfirmed at the ICC executive board meeting at Nairobi in October 2000. However, the toothless and ineffective ICC forgot that it had removed Darrell Hair from the 1999 World Cup matches involving Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka had refused to play the games if supervized by Hair. The Australian had called Muttiah Muralitharan seven times in an over during the 1995-96 Melbourne Test.

The statement, quoting ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed, said: "I have spoken personally to the PCB and John Reid about this matter and explained the ICC's position.

"The PCB has assured me that John Reid will receive the same courtesies that are extended to all ICC officials visiting the country, and for his part Mr Reid remains keen to fulfil his appointment covering the (four) Test matches."

Pakistan, last week, had registered its protest against the appointment of Reid after the former New Zealand captain made controversial decisions which left cricket in a spin.

Reid, in 1999, forwarded Pakistan paceman Shoaib Akhtar's case to the ICC after he was reported for throwing during the Perth Test by umpires Darrell Hair and Peter Willey. Ironically, Reid had not raised any eye-brows against the pacer despite being the match referee in at least two World Cup games involving Pakistan. However, the most debatable Reid's decision was against current Pakistan captain Waqar Younis whom he handed a 50 per cent fine and one-match suspension on the charges of ball tampering. Azhar Mahmood was also fined on the same offence in the tri-nation one-day series in Sri Lanka last year.

Reid's cruel decision, which left a black spot on Waqar's glittering career, was an unilateral one as none of the umpires had reported the incident to the New Zealand.

The ICC further said if India crossed borders for the icebreaking Test, South African Rudi Koertzen will be the third country umpire.