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.

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