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Last Updated: Friday, 22 September 2006, 07:07 GMT 08:07 UK
Waqar protests Pakistan innocence
Waqar and Woolmer chat at The Oval
Waqar Younis with Pakistan's head coach Bob Woolmer
Pakistan bowling coach Waqar Younis has insisted the team is innocent of ball-tampering claims arising out of last month's Oval Test against England.

"I went straight into the referee's room and asked to see the ball. There was nothing wrong with it," he said.

Captain Inzamam-ul-Haq will face charges of ball-tampering and bringing the game into the disrepute at a hearing in London next week.

As captain, he is deemed responsible for the actions of the entire team.

If found guilty of the disrepute charge, he could face a suspension of up to four Tests or eight one-day matches. The ball-tampering allegation carries a possible penalty of a one Test or two one-dayers ban, plus a heavy fine.

The controversy began when umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove imposed a five-run penalty on Pakistan after deciding that the condition of the ball had been altered.

Pakistan's response was to protest by initially refusing to take the field following the tea interval, a move which led to the umpires awarding the game to England by forfeit.

But in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Waqar defended the team's actions, saying: "It was bad for cricket, but if you ask me, it was good for our country and our reputation.

"By doing what he did, [Hair] was calling the whole Pakistan team cheats, penalising us five runs with no evidence. That was totally wrong.

"We wanted to make our protest. Then we went back on to the ground because we didn't feel that the crowd should suffer.

"By the time we took the field, Darrell had taken the bails off."

The whole thing should have been sorted out in the first 36 hours of it happening

Waqar Younis

On Thursday, Hair said he expected to appointed to umpire at the forthcoming ICC Champions Trophy in India, a tournament which features all the major cricket nations.

"The whole thing has become a mess, and it's going to get more messy now," said Waqar.

"I don't like that they will make an announcement before the result of the hearing, without knowing what is going to happen to Inzamam.

"They are basically saying that [Hair] is innocent. They should have waited until after the case. The reputations of both men are still hanging."

His comments could lead to further problems for Pakistan as ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed recently issued a "final warning" about people speaking inappropriately about the case ahead of the hearing.

There are reports, meanwhile, that former team manager Zaheer Abbas will not travel to London to give evidence.

The Pakistan Cricket Board relieved him of his job last week, claiming that he was being "rested" because he was a key witness.

But on Thursday, the Press Trust of India quoted a PCB official as saying: "Only Inzamam, a local lawyer and [PCB] chairman Shaharyar Khan will attend the hearing."



SEE ALSO
Pakistan defend Zaheer decision
13 Sep 06 |  Pakistan
ICC reveals Inzamam hearing date
07 Sep 06 |  England
Inzamam charged in cheating row
21 Aug 06 |  Cricket


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