ICC to consider Pak plea for neutral umpires

Published: Thursday, February 10, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:The International Cricket Council said on Thursday it would consider a request by Pakistan for using two neutral umpires in One-Day Internationals.

Spokesman John Long confirmed the ICC had received a letter from the Pakistan Cricket Board following their disappointing tour of Australia, which was marred by a series of controversial umpire decisions.

The Pakistanis claim the umpiring during the one-day series heavily favored Australia and want One-Day Internationals to conform with Tests, in which neutral umpires have been mandatory since 2001.

Currently One-Day Internationals are controlled by one home and one neutral umpire.

"We have received a letter on that topic and it will be dealt with in the appropriate forum at the appropriate time," Long told the Australian Associated Press.

The matter is likely to get an airing at the next meeting of the ICC's cricket committee at Lord's in May.

The cricket committee would then make a recommendation for the chief executives of member countries to consider when they meet in mid-year.

The final decision rests with the ICC executive board.

Umpiring has replaced chucking as the hot issue in international cricket after accusations that umpires have been intimidated by the all-conquering Australian team.

Retired New Zealand opener Mark Richardson added fuel to the debate this week in a newspaper interview in which he said Australians had mastered the technique of influencing umpires' calls.

""he Aussies are very good at putting pressure on the umps," he said in New Zealand's Dominion Post, singling out Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist but also mentioning Glenn McGrath and captain Ricky Ponting.

"Shane Warne's the best, He will talk and talk. Warney makes it very obvious to the umpires what he is trying to do. He tells the umpires what he is setting up and it does generate pressure," Richardson said, speaking a week before Australia begins a tour of New Zealand.

Australian coach John Buchanan has rejected the accusations.

"There are procedures in place to deal with any sort of problems like that," Buchanan said.

"The referee and umpires would have stepped in if that was the case."

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