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Last Updated: Monday, 4 September 2006, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK
Pakistan muzzled in tampering row
Malcolm Speed
Malcolm Speed will act if Pakistan make further public comment
The International Cricket Council has issued a "final warning" to Pakistan over public comments made about the ball-tampering row at the Oval Test.

ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said he had been "very disappointed" by comments made by Pakistan officials and team captain Inzamam-ul-Haq.

He said: "I will not hesitate to lay a charge should further inappropriate comments be made ahead of the hearing."

A code of conduct hearing is scheduled to take place later this month.

The Test series between England and Pakistan finished amid acrimony at The Oval on 20 August.

England were awarded the match by forfeit at the end of the fourth day after Pakistan had refused to take the field after tea.

Umpire Darrell Hair was in the thick of the controversy, awarding five penalty runs to England after he and his colleague Billy Doctrove decided Pakistan were guilty of ball-tampering.

Over the course of the last two weeks there has been a stream of unnecessary and inappropriate public comment from the Pakistan Cricket Board

Malcolm Speed

Many of Pakistan's public comments since then have centred on Hair, while England have been silent on the issue.

The ICC has not yet said where the hearing into the affair - in which Inzamam is also charged with bringing the game into disrepute - will take place or exactly when it will be.

But it seems likely to follow the one-day series between England and Pakistan which ends on Sunday.

Speed said: "There will be plenty of opportunity for Pakistan to put its side of the story in the fair environment of the code of conduct hearing. That is the appropriate forum for its views on these matters.

"But over the course of the last two weeks there has been a stream of unnecessary and inappropriate public comment from the Pakistan Cricket Board, much of which could be seen as prejudicial to the hearing.

"Ahead of this hearing it is wholly inappropriate for officials or players to comment on the issues that will be addressed, particularly as the code of conduct includes a specific offence of 'public criticism of, or inappropriate comment on, a match-related incident or match official'.

He added that only the "acute international, diplomatic and political sensitivity of this issue" had persuaded him not to lay a supplementary charge to date.

'Moral victory'

Speed has felt the need to raise the matter twice in the past 10 days with PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan.

Inzamam and Khan both gave a series of interviews in the immediate aftermath of the Oval Test in which they protested Pakistan's innocence.

Then, after umpire Darrell Hair offered to resign in return for $500,000, Pakistan insisted they had scored a "moral victory".

Team manager Zaheer Abbas gave an interview to BBC Asian Network, saying: "This proves our protest on the fourth day of the final Test was legitimate.

"This is a moral victory for us, and it's good that now this issue can reach its conclusion.

"As for whether we need to revisit the result of the match, we'll have to discuss it with the parties concerned."

SEE ALSO
Pakistan call for umpire inquiry
29 Aug 06 |  Cricket
Pakistani shock at Hair revelation
26 Aug 06 |  South Asia
Team vindicated, Pakistanis say
26 Aug 06 |  South Asia
Inzamam charged in cheating row
21 Aug 06 |  Cricket


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