The MCC, the independent governor of cricket's laws, has recommended the ICC overturn its awarding of a draw for the disputed England-Pakistan Test at The Oval in 2006. Originally the match was ruled the first forfeit in the game's history, but the ICC changed the result at an executive board meeting in July.
The MCC world cricket committee, which includes current India captain Anil Kumble and former Test leaders Rahul Dravid, Michael Atherton, Shaun Pollock and Steve Waugh, met on Saturday and Sunday in New Delhi and decided "cricket is the worse for this decision".
The committee chairman Tony Lewis wanted confirmation from the ICC that the original outcome of the match should stand. "The ICC has no power under the laws of cricket to decide that results should be altered, whether it feels it's 'inappropriate' or otherwise," the former England captain Lewis said. "The ICC's decision is wrong and sets a very dangerous precedent. Cricket is the worse for this decision."
Majid Khan, the former Pakistan captain, said the committee's decision was unanimous "simply because the rule states that you can't overturn a decision". "The result should stay as is," he said. When asked what the reaction to the decision would be in Pakistan, Majid said "we'll wait and see".
The controversy began after tea on the fourth day of the fourth Test when Inzamam-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, refused to lead his team back on to the field following Australia umpire Darrell Hair and West Indian Billy Doctrove enforcing a five-run penalty for ball tampering. It was a decision that initially gave England victory and resulted in a suspension for Hair, who was reinstated after an employment tribunal hearing in October 2007, following protests from Pakistan. Hair has since stood down from elite-level umpiring.
Inzamam, who is now retired and playing in the unofficial Indian Cricket League, was fined for four games for bringing the game into disrepute. The team was cleared of the original ball-tampering allegations.
"The board's decision was based on the view that in light of the unique set of circumstances, the original result of the match was felt to be inappropriate," the ICC said in a statement in July. The ruling meant England won the four-match series 2-0 instead of 3-0.
"As far as we're concerned there is no record of any other result [but a forfeit]," Lewis said. "We're not reversing the ICC result, we're just saying they had no place to do that. We, MCC, wrote the rules in 1788 and the laws working party now is run by Robert Griffiths QC. Legally, there is absolutely no way the ICC can change the laws of the game, which it did do."
The committee also supported the umpire review system that was used in the recent Sri Lanka-India Test series and agreed to work with the ICC in ensuring the primacy of Test cricket. It also vowed to complete further research into trialling pink balls in the hope they could be used in day-night Tests.
An increased focus on fostering spin bowlers was also discussed along with a recommendation that umpires should not give the players the option to leave the field for bad light. MCC's 18-man world cricket committee is charged with improving the game and its governance. As the sport's law makers, the MCC has the power to alter the rules while using its influence to urge the ICC to change its position.