Pakistan contemplate skipping Middlesex game

Published: Tuesday, August 22, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Karachi: The Pakistan team may skip Thursday's One-day match against Middlesex to show solidarity with skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq before he attends a disciplinary hearing on Friday, manager Zaheer Abbas said.

Inzamam faces a possible suspension of eight One-day internationals or four Tests if he is found guilty of ball-tampering and bringing the game into disrepute when he faces an International Cricket Council (ICC) hearing in London.

Inzamam was charged after Pakistan failed to take the field at the Oval on Sunday in protest against a decision by umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove to change the ball and penalise the tourists five runs for alleged ball-tampering.

''I have spoken to Inzamam and some players who are contemplating not playing any matches until the hearing is held. The players want to see what happens at the hearing before deciding what to do,'' Abbas told Reuters from London.

He said the One-day tour game at Uxbridge might be affected.

Pakistan is scheduled to play a Twenty/20 match on Monday and five One-dayers against England from August 30 but Abbas declined to look ahead until the hearing is held.

''Let us see what happens but definitely the players are not happy with the charges brought against their captain,'' he added.

Abbas said he had inspected the ball which Hair and Doctrove had changed on suspicion that it had been tampered with.

BIG DECISION ''To be deadly honest I have played a lot of cricket at all levels and I found no such marks on the ball which warranted for the umpires to take such a big decision and cast a slur on our team,'' he said.

''The few marks I saw were definitely not inflicted by any person but seemed to have appeared after the ball hit the concrete many times during the course of play,'' he said.

Asked about media reports that England coach Duncan Fletcher might have complained to match referee Mike Procter about the Pakistanis tampering with the ball, Abbas said he was not aware of any such thing.

''If we were tampering with the ball would we have a spinner bowling from one end?'' he asked.

He confirmed Inzamam was receiving legal advice before the hearing.

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