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September 22, 2006
Waqar Younis, Pakistan's bowling coach during The Oval Test, insists he saw no evidence of a tampered ball when he viewed it in the referee's room on the day Darrell Hair ruled the game be forfeited. Waqar's claims in the Sydney Morning Herald came as Ricky Ponting supported Hair's possible appointment at next month's Champions Trophy in India.
"There was nothing wrong with [the ball]," Waqar told the paper from his home in Sydney. "I went and told the boys that I thought it was totally wrong ... I promise you, nothing was wrong with it. There were 30-odd cameras at the ground that didn't see anything, so you would think that there had to be something wrong with the ball for Darrell [Hair] to do what he did." Hair docked Pakistan five runs for tampering and the visiting team then delayed their entrance on to the field by 45 minutes after the tea break on the fourth day.
Waqar, who was suspended for ball tampering in 2000, said he was not a key figure in the team's protest, which led to the decision to award the game to England. "It was bad for cricket, but if you ask me, it was good for our country and our reputation," Waqar said. "It wasn't just about ball tampering. By doing what he did, [Hair] was calling the whole Pakistan team cheats, penalising us five runs with no evidence. That was totally wrong."
Inzamam-ul-Haq faces a two-day disciplinary hearing in London, which starts on Thursday, and he will answer charges of ball tampering and bringing the game into disrepute. The ICC is reportedly planning to announce its officials for the Champions Trophy before the hearing and Hair, whose international career appeared over last month, said this week he would travel to India for the tournament.
"If he's one of the best umpires in international cricket then of course he should be umpiring," Ponting told reporters in Kuala Lumpur. "You need to have the best umpires umpiring cricket at the highest level and obviously Darrell has been on the international panel for a long time. There's been a bit happening over the last month or so with Darrell, but I have always considered him to be a very good umpire and we will see how he performs in the Champions Trophy. I think it would be good for Darrell to get back on the horse again."
Waqar said it was wrong for the ICC to reveal whether Hair would umpire at the tournament before Inzamam's hearing. "I don't know what the ICC is thinking," he said. "This should have been sorted out in the first 36 hours of it happening. The whole thing has become a mess, and it's going to get more messy now ... They are basically saying that [Hair] is innocent. They should have waited until after the case. The reputations of both men are still hanging."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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