Hair accused us of cheating, says Inzamam

Published: Monday, August 21, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London (UNI): An agitated Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq today said his team felt ''persecuted'' by Darrell Hair after the ball-tampering controversy and claimed that the Australian umpire accused his side of cheating.

''This allegation is mean. He's not saying what his allegation is, he's just saying your guy is cheating. In my personal opinion, TV will show if anyone is tampering,'' he told Cricinfo.

''It's a big disappointment for me and my team and especially for cricket, the way this game was going. But I don't think we could carry on like this. If someone like this says 'cheat' then this game is not on,'' he added.

Recalling the chain of events, the Pakistan captain said the ball was changed without his consent and he did not even get to see the allegedly tampered ball.

''They did not warn me. (Hair) did not talk to me, he wasn't telling me when he's changed the ball, he didn't ask me 'can we change the ball?','' he said.

Inzamam said he decided to walk off after not getting any satisfactory explanation from the umpires. He said his repeated calls for an answer were met with the same reply that the ball had been tampered with but he was not shown the ball even once before it was given to the match referee.

''I said it is in my rights to see the ball," he added, "to show that the ball is doing nothing. I wanted to say it's ok, the condition of the ball has not changed, but Hair says 'It's my decision','' he said.

The burly right-hander said that the pride of his nation came before everything else for him and he would rather lose then accept being called a cheat.

''This game is about more than winning and losing. It's about respect and countries come first. If someone says to me you are a cheat and Pakistan is doing wrong things, my first priority is to my country,'' Inzamam said explaining his actions during the match.

Accusing Hair of acting unilaterally, Inzamam said the Aussie's presence was not an issue for them after the incident and his team wanted to come back and continue with the match but the umpires had made up their minds by then.

''We were ready to play. The main issue was not whether we were going onto the field, it was whether the ball had been tampered with or not,'' he said clarifying that Pakistan never wanted to abandon the match.

''We had lodged our protest and after that we came to the ground.

But then the umpires were not coming. It is up to them, and we await the referee's hearing committee,'' he said.

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