Substitutes controversy September 6, 2005

Aleem Dar rejects Ponting blast


Aleem Dar says the use of substitutes was justified © Getty Images

Aleem Dar, the Pakistan umpire, has rejected Ricky Ponting's tirade over his run-out by a substitute English player in the fourth Ashes Test.

"Since Ponting got run out by a substitute's throw, the matter was blown up," Dar told AFP ahead of the decisive fifth Test, which starts on Thursday at The Oval.

"But England were within the rules for having a substitute for the injured Simon Jones." Ponting was run out by the substitute, Gary Pratt, at a critical stage of Australia's second innings at Trent Bridge, where Dar officiated.

With Australia facing defeat after being forced to follow-on, Ponting reacted angrily and was fined 75% of his US$9,400 match fee by the match referee. Ponting had already criticised England's repeated use of substitute fielders, saying they were being used as a way of giving the home side's fast bowlers extra rest periods.

Dar, 37, said he and his fellow umpire, Steve Bucknor of West Indies, considered Simon Jones's injury before allowing the substitute to take the field. "We considered that Jones took five wickets in the first innings so he couldn't go out without a genuine reason," said Dar, "and there is no embarrassment that we allowed a substitute for Jones."

England lead the series 2-1 and need just a draw at The Oval to win the Ashes for the first time in 19 years. Dar said the current series was riveting. "England are playing better cricket but despite that Australia have fought till the end."

Dar, who has stood in 22 Tests and 53 one-day internationals, refused to comment on some of the umpiring decisions that went against Australia. "I would be lying if I said there was no pressure and that umpires don't make mistakes. But I keep relaxed and don't take into account who is playing who."