The Oval Test controversy February 13, 2009

PCB looks into Oval Test again

Cricinfo staff

Aamer Sohail could meet the key actors from 2006, including Inzamam-ul-Haq and Zaheer Abbas © Getty Images

Refusing to let a dead dog lie, the Pakistan Cricket Board has set up a three-man panel to look once again at the Oval Test of 2006 whose result the ICC has changed twice. The Test was initially awarded to England after Pakistan forfeited following allegations of ball-tampering. The ICC changed the result to a draw last July under pressure from the PCB only to revert to an England win earlier this month.

The committee will be headed by former Test opener and director of the National Cricket Academy, Aamir Sohail, and will include Wasim Bari, director HR and administration PCB, and Sultan Rana, director domestic cricket. The panel may be expanded to include an international umpire as well.

Sohail may meet the key players of that fateful fourth day of the Oval Test, when Inzamam-ul-Haq, the then Pakistan captain, refused to take the field after tea. Umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove had penalised Pakistan for ball-tampering, a decision which incensed Inzamam and led to his no-show. Sohail will be hoping to meet Inzamam as well as Shaharyar Khan, who was PCB chairman at the time, and Zaheer Abbas, the team manager.

"We have set up a committee to look into the result again," Salim Altaf, chief operating officer PCB, told Cricinfo. "We want to clear some misperceptions in the public about the recent result change and get the facts out into the open."

The decision to set up a panel follows criticism of the present administration over its 'perceived' failure to prevent the result from being overturned again at a recent ICC meeting. The world's governing body had changed the original result last year, a move which prompted criticism from the MCC, the guardians of the game's laws.

Legal opinion was sought about whether such a change was permissible under the laws and when it was found that it wasn't, the move to switch back the result took place.

Privately, board officials have acknowledged that the issue is now "dead and buried" and another committee will not change that. But a sudden ratcheting up of criticism of the present board has led the sports ministry to suggest that they take some kind of action or at least be seen to be taking some action. No timeframe has been set for the committee to come up with its findings.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andy on February 14, 2009, 9:30 GMT

    The fact that Pakistan were ahead (and most likely, going to win) is irrelevant, as is the fact Inzamam wouldn't have wanted a loss. The fact is they refused to play.

    Calling the umpires into question for a supposed failure to communicate is rather shortsighted, since it's not like the Pakistan team said a word until the game had been called off. Besides, is sitting in the dressing room silently sulking really the best, and most mature, way to protest?

    And when was Inzamam called for throwing during this whole saga? He didn't even bowl :|

  • gul on February 14, 2009, 9:13 GMT

    Let me start by saying, I am a fanatical pakistan cricket fan. But this doesn't blind me to the fact that under the laws of the game, the pakistani teams actions constituted a refusal to play and therefore a forfeit. I equally believe that Darrell Hair's and Billy Doctrove's handling of the affair was over zealous. If there was a suspicion of ball tampering, a quiet word in the captain's ear should have sufficed. I understand the umpires do not have to do this, but it's their responsibility to manage the game; and a quiet word might have stopped the wrong doing, if there was any. Why the ICC reversed the decision in the first place is beyond me, and the I agree with the return to the original decision of a win to england. The PCBs decision to re-ignite the debate is a PR exercise to save face in front a people that have been starved of test cricket for over a year now. They need to organise cricket matches anywhere in the world, not bring up old ones that should be dead and buried!

  • Keith on February 14, 2009, 3:39 GMT

    Come on, please, let it rest!

  • Jake on February 14, 2009, 2:39 GMT

    The decision reversed twice will now never give the feeling of righting a wrong.Having reversed the decision earlier to a draw It should have been the ICC in fact that should have let a dead dog lie. This was long forgotten, what was the point in going back and starting a fire again?. This was probably a pig-headed decision egged on no doubt by those jokers who call themselves guardians of the games laws[MCC], but really want nothing more than to call the shots and look condescendingly down on the subcontinent. And they say the BCCI calls the shots.

  • Adrian on February 14, 2009, 2:29 GMT

    Pakistan was well ahead in this match (although behind in the series) and, had the match been allowed to continue, then it would have almost certainly resulted in a big Pakistan victory. Therefore, given this, the decision by Darryl Hair to refuse to communicate with the Pakistan team (he should have at least gone to the dressing room to ask why they hadn't taken to the field before just abandoning the match) and then award the match to England is wrong, in every sense of the word. His behaviour was bullish and brought the game into disrepute. The draw, realistically, is a compromise, because a fair result would have been to have awarded the game to Pakistan, not to England. Inzamam was called for throwing, which was a very bad decision, yet he was punished unfairly with no evidence, that brought a dark cloud over the game. He had every right to be upset, and to protest things. He didn't want the game to end in a Pakistan loss! He wanted communication! Give the game to Pakistan

  • Javed on February 14, 2009, 0:22 GMT

    I am sorry but PCB is total farce. A non stop drama machine without much sense.

  • osman on February 13, 2009, 23:25 GMT

    I think this whole thing is getting out of hand, the ICC have not handled this properly, Darrel Hair was a joke! So, why punish Pakistan? PCB need to take this action and make sure the result changes back to a draw. Its all politics these days, can you imagine India being there instead of Pakistan? It would have been a draw long ago and no issues made. Inzy was 100% right!

  • Javed on February 13, 2009, 23:07 GMT

    Matches are won or lost on the field. It is a shame that at MCC's insistence this match has been awarded to England when they were facing a certain innings's defeat. This test match should be declared as a draw. That is the way I will count it anyhow. And BTW what authority does MCC has to force ICC to change the outcome? In today's cricket they are nothing but a glorified cricket club with a great past but little future.

  • Bob on February 13, 2009, 19:09 GMT

    Bureaucracy in extremis... The MCC are the custodians of the Laws. The umpires quite correctly awarded the match to England under the terms of Law 21.3.(a).(ii), because the Pakistan team refused to play. There is can be no other decision.. quod erat demonstrandum.. The PCB are doing themselves no favours by appearing to think themselves above the Laws of the game.. Is it any wonder that the rest of the cricketing world regard Pakistan cricket in an unfavourable light.

  • Daniel on February 13, 2009, 16:38 GMT

    The PCB need to accept that they lost that test match fair and square. They should learn to get over it and stop sucking a lemon.

  • No featured comments at the moment.