ICC consider use of forensic tests

The ICC have suggested that forensic tests may be conducted on the ball used in the controversial Oval Test to ensure a fair hearing for the Pakistan captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq, which is due to take place at the end of September.
The fourth and final Test between England and Pakistan ended in contentious circumstances when Pakistan refused to take the field on the fourth day after being accused of ball tampering. The move led to umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove awarding the match to England - the first forfeit in the history of Test cricket.

"The laws of cricket are clear on what constitutes changing the condition of the ball," Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive said. "Lawyers for Pakistan and the ICC are studying what evidence can be put forth. A forensic test is being suggested."

Inzamam was subsequently charged with ball-tampering and bringing the game into disrepute and faces an ICC hearing at the end of this month.

"We want a fair hearing," Speed said. "No final date has been agreed upon, but it will be announced in a day or two. We don't want to sit on the side of the umpires. We don't want to sit on the side of the team. We want to sit in between them and accept whatever decision is made by the adjudicator."

Duncan Fletcher, the England coach, has broken his silence about the rumours that he brought the issue of ball-tampering to the attention of Mike Procter, the match referee, before the incident unfolded. "All I want to say is that people thought they wrote the truth: it wasn't the truth, it was far from the truth," he told reporters at the England team hotel in Southampton. "I know what the truth was and I'm very, very happy with the truth and I'd just like to move on."

Speed denied the ICC had delayed the hearing, initially to be held soon after the Test, to allow matters to settle down.

"We were very keen and would have preferred to have the hearing in the match referees' room right after the match as it happens in normal circumstances," he said. "But Ranjan Madugalle [the Sri Lankan adjudicator] had a serious personal problem which needed his urgent attention. In no way we were seeking to defer the hearing."

When asked if the power of awarding a Test would be taken away from on-field umpires, Speed said the ICC could only consider the proposal if it came through its cricket committee.

"We must bear in mind that on-field decisions have been made by umpires for a long time," he said. "It has stood the test of time. We have certain processes in place in ICC to consider changes in the laws."