August 21, 2001

Match referee John Reid draws protest from Pakistan

John Reid is in the wars again.

The tough-talking, and acting, International Cricket Council referee, and former New Zealand cricket captain and all-rounder has drawn the continuing ire of the Pakistan Cricket Board who have taken exception to his appointment as match referee to the Pakistan-Bangladesh Asian Test Championship match.

As soon as the appointment was announced, the PCB announced it would be protesting against Reid.

In the past, in his role as match referee Reid has been involved in fining and suspending Pakistan fast bowler Waqar Younis for ball tampering while Azhar Mahmood had been fined and warned on similar charges.

Reid was also involved in acting on the reports of umpires concerned at fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar's bowling action. He sent the umpires report to the ICC for action by the ICC's bowling committee which agreed with the umpire.

Reid said today he had no comment to make on the Pakistan protest although he did say he was disappointed by it.

Reid said that despite the protest he was still available to go to the match and do the job he had been appointed to.

The issue is an important one for the ICC and raises questions on its administration of the world game.

The Pakistan view is that the ICC created a precedent for an official being challenged after Sri Lanka successfully sought the removal of Australian umpire Darrell Hair from their games in the 1999 World Cup. Hair had been involved in calling Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for throwing on a tour of Australia.

Since that time however, the ICC has toughened up its governance in order to seek more control of its member countries, especially in the wake of match-fixing controversies.

ICC president Malcolm Gray said from Melbourne today that all he knew about the Pakistan complaint was what he had seen on CricInfo on the Internet and would be talking with ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed tonight to see if a protest had been received.

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