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Last Updated: Monday, 21 August 2006, 07:58 GMT 08:58 UK
Experts on Oval controversy
For the first time in cricket history, a Test match was forfeited after Pakistan refused to take to the field in protest at being penalised for ball-tampering.

The match was awarded to England, who took the series 3-0, but the fall-out from Pakistan's and umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove actions has everyone talking.

BBC Sport rounds up the views of former players and officials on the controversy.

Geoff Boycott
Geoffrey Boycott
Former England batsman and TMS commentator writing in the Daily Telegraph

The ICC must be blind or stupid not to have realised that there is history between Darrell Hair, the umpire who accused them of changing the nature of the ball, and Pakistan.

There were mutterings after the Headingley Test that Pakistan didn't like Hair's attitude.

Pakistan regard Hair as an officious umpire and they don't like his style of man-management.

It should have been obvious to the ICC that appointing him to this series created a situation like a volcano waiting to erupt

Ian Botham
Ian Botham
Former England captain and commentator writing in the Daily Mirror

They are the mandarins who fiddled while the game slid towards anarchy at The Oval.

The ICC are the alleged governing body who left 23,000 paying spectators and millions of people tuning into TV and radio coverage completely in the dark.

And they are the administrators who should have sorted out an unholy mess by separating hard fact from innuendo and supposition at the fourth Test, which will now be remembered for all the wrong seasons.

They needed to make a statement specifying exactly why the ball was changed, what they had seen, who was involved and how often.

Otherwise the whole Pakistan team stands accused of cheating

Imran Khan
Imran Khan
Former Pakistan captain and all-rounder speaking on BBC News 24

I do not agree with the way Inzamam protested.

He should have protested when the ball was being changed, and then again at the end of the game.

I suspect Inzamam was shell-shocked. But under no circumstances would I not come out after tea - Pakistan were winning the Test.

I certainly think Darrell Hair is at fault.

The main culprit is Hair. This is no way to pass a decision - it's too sensitive an issue for Pakistan, because of the history of ball-tampering accusations.

Nasser Hussain
Nasser Hussain
Former England captain writing in the Daily Mail

Did Darrell Hair actually see a member of the Pakistan team tampering with a cricket ball? Has he got proof?

If he hasn't then he has made a massive mistake.

If I had been accused of cheating in this way then, as long as I was sure of our innocence, I would have done exactly the same thing as Pakistan.

I wouldn't have come out after tea, either.

People have said that Pakistan should have waited until the close of play and then gone down the right channels, but they wouldn't have seen it that way.

To Pakistan, if they had carried on playing, they would have been admitting their guilt.

Rameez Raja
Rameez Raja
Former Pakistan batsman and TMS commentator writing in The Nation newspaper

The star of the show was definitely umpire Darrell Hair, but as a villain of the piece.

His arbitrary and insensitive style of judgment here at The Oval sparked an absolutely needless controversy that has put the Test match in serious jeopardy and brought infamy to the game.

Dickie Bird
Dickie Bird
Former Test umpire speaking on BBC Radio Five Live

I think they should have finished the Test match.

Pakistan have been badly hurt [by the accusations] but the people who have to suffer are the fans.

I would have tried to keep it going for the sake of public; they have paid the money.

After the match you all get round the table and thrash this out.

Mike Gatting
Mike Gatting
Former England captain speaking to BBC Five Live

It is a very sad state of affairs; it is very difficult - but very sad it happened the way it did.

At the end of the day when you get called a cheat it is not very nice and it is an emotive subject.

I understand how much it hurts and how aggrieved you feel. At the same time there are times and places.

I would have hoped there were some wiser heads in the dressing room to be able to calm things down and say 'Look, boys, you've got to go out - but we can sort this out at the end of the day'.

The umpires have a very difficult job, and it is their opinion. When you put two guys in charge of a match it is in their hands, and you hope they will use a bit of common sense at times.

Asif Iqbal
Former Pakistan all-rounder

It was badly handled by Darrell Hair. He should have spoken to the captain first and said he was suspicious.

Darrell Hair assumed the ball was tampered with. It was an assumption - there was no evidence.

By signalling five runs, he gave his verdict they were cheating in his opinion. The condition of the ball had changed, but he has not named a particular individual.

Javed Miandad
Javed Miandad
Former Pakistan captain and coach

Pakistan committed mistake after mistake and put themselves in a no-win situation.

Whoever took the decision [to stay off the field] it's the skipper who will face the punishment

Either he should have taken the decision immediately or have played the match under protest.

Pakistan has not only lost the match, but also lost the sympathy with the crowd, who came to see the game.

If I have been in Inzamam's place I would have asked the boys to play on. I would have played under protest and kept the door open for the appeal.



SEE ALSO
Cricket's stigma
21 Aug 06 |  Laws & Equipment
Rashid Latif column
21 Aug 06 |  England
Lengthy talks fail to save Test
20 Aug 06 |  England


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