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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 August 2006, 06:49 GMT 07:49 UK
Inzamam defiant over Oval protest
Inzamam believes the tampering claim was a slur on his team
Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq says he has no regrets despite being charged with bringing cricket into disrepute after the fourth Test against England.

"I slept well on Sunday night because I felt I had done the right thing," Inzamam told the Daily Express.

He led a dressing room protest by his team after the umpires ruled they were guilty of ball-tampering.

"It would be difficult for the players to play on if we are labelled cheats," the 36-year-old warned.

Inzamam, a veteran of 113 Test matches, will also face a charge of altering in condition of the ball at a disciplinary hearing on Friday.

It has been laid against him because he is deemed responsible for the conduct of the entire team under cricket's code of conduct.

He said the whole incident had "exploded out of the blue" and added: "Normally if a problem is developing, a good umpire will alert the captain to it so he can take action if needed, and sort it out.

We are confident that justice will prevail in this case

Inzamam's lawyer Mark Gay

"The first I knew of this issue was when Darrell Hair decided to change the ball. He didn't mention a bowler who was at fault...and he didn't mention any evidence, only that he was changing the ball.

"At first he refused to show me the ball and said I would have to ask the match referee for a look at it.

"I argued that it was my right to see it and he relented. It looked like a normal 56-over-old ball which had visited the boundary a few times."

The Test was awarded to England after Pakistan failed to come onto the field following the tea interval during the fourth day's play, giving the home side a 3-0 series victory.

Pakistan cricket supporters
Fans in Pakistan make their feeling on the issue clear

But Inzamam said: "When the problem blew up on Sunday I would estimate we had a 70% chance of winning the game, but I wasn't prepared to let down the team and Pakistan by backing down.

"When you compare winning a game of cricket with letting down your country, it is a very small thing. Respect is more important."

The fate of the rest of the tour hangs on what happens at Friday's hearing, to be overseen by Ranjan Madugalle, the International Cricket Council's chief match referee.

Pakistan have appointed law firm DLA Piper to put Inzamam's case.

Their team will include Mark Gay, who previously worked for the England and Wales Cricket Board when they had issues about the team travelling to Zimbabwe during the last World Cup.

"We are determined to defend these charges vigorously and we wanted to make sure that we have the best possible representation," said Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan. Support for umpire Hair has been widespread in his native Australia.

Former Australia skipper Steve Waugh said: "He always stands by what he believes so you can't ask for much more from an umpire."

Sydney's Daily Telegraph newspaper, meanwhile, dubbed Hair "the bravest man in cricket" and former international umpire Lou Rowan said Inzamam should be kicked out of international cricket for 12 months for "showing contempt for the rules of the game."

Richard Bevan, chief executive of England's Professional Cricketers' Association, told BBC Five Live that some of the comments about Hair had been "inflammatory".

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