ICC rules different for different players: Ramiz

Published: Tuesday, May 27, 2003, 21:07 [IST]
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Karachi: A top Pakistani cricket official on Monday questioned an apparent discrepancy in punishments meted out by the International Cricket Council (ICC) under its code of conduct. Ramiz Raja, the director of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), questioned why fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar was given a two-match suspension for alleged ball tampering in a match last week against New Zealand as part of the teams' tri-series in Sri Lanka. "I do not want to defend Shoaib Akhtar's acts, which were discouraging but there seemed to be different sets of rules for different players," Raja said in a statement on Monday. Australian pace bowler Glenn McGrath escaped punishment for a finger wagging verbal tirade against West Indian batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan during the Antigua Test in the Caribbean earlier this month. South African match referee Mike Procter took no action against either players, a move reportedly condemned by current Indian captain Saurav Ganguly and former Pakistan captain Imran Khan. "Sledging and ball tampering are bracketed under Level 2 offences and it seems strange that while one offence is pursued so seriously another offence goes unnoticed," said Raja. Television cameras apparently caught Shoaib scratching the ball during Pakistan's league game of the tri-series against New Zealand at Dambulla, Sri Lanka. Television umpire Gamini Silva brought the action to the attention of match referee Gundappa Vishwanath of India, who did not make his decision to suspend Shoaib and fine him 75 percent of his match fee until a day later. "If television is considered a fact-finding mission, then it has to be universally followed as part of the standard playing conditions applicable universally," Raja argued. "In Shoaib's case, the match referee had relied heavily on television pictures whereas the McGrath/Sarwan case, with televised evidence of a misdemeanour, was deemed not fit for reporting as a Level 2 offence." Raja also sought to clarify Shoaib's position with regard to speculations that he was caught tampering with the ball. He said Shoaib's action of scratching or cleaning the ball was considered an attempt of changing the condition of the ball by the match referee. "Ball tampering is an offence which invokes certain actions which are: a) change of the ball immediately, b) five penalty runs to the opponent. In the case of Shoaib, neither one of these actions were invoked," he said. Raja said the matter will be discussed at the ICC meetings in London next month. Copyright AFP 2001

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