England Board line up World XI as precaution

Published: Friday, August 25, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London: England could play a World XI if Pakistan pull out of Monday's Twenty20 game in the ongoing dispute over the actions of captain Inzamam-ul-Haq in the final Test at the Oval.

''The ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) has received approval from ICC to approach leading world players to form an international XI in case of the unlikely eventuality of the England v Pakistan game being unable to proceed,'' the ECB said in a statement.

ECB chief executive David Collier stressed that talks between the England and Pakistan boards indicated that the Twenty20 match and the five-match One-day international series that follows would go ahead as scheduled.

''We are pleased discussions strongly indicate the Twenty20 and the subsequent One-day series will proceed as planned,'' said Collier.

''However, given the current uncertainty concerning the scheduling of the code of conduct hearing and imminence of the Twenty20, it is prudent to examine all options to provide spectators with guaranteed play on Monday.'' Collier also said ''a further contingency plan'' had been agreed with the ICC and Pakistan for the One-day series.

Yesterday, Pakistani members of parliament backed Inzamam and his team in their ball-tampering row with the ICC and Australian umpire Darrell Hair.

They called on the government to intervene in the controversy that erupted on Sunday when Hair and fellow umpire Billy Doctrove imposed a five-run penalty on Pakistan for ball tampering in the fourth Test against England.

Inzamam and his men then refused to resume play after tea.

''The whole country is disappointed,'' Mohammad Hussain Mehnati, a member of an alliance of conservative religious parties, told parliament as he introduced a motion urging support for the team.

''We were treated unfairly so we should take strong action and the government must intervene.'' He did not say how he wanted the government to intervene but accused Hair of being biased against Third World teams.

The umpires awarded the match to England and the ICC has charged Inzamam with bringing the game into disrepute, for which there is a maximum ban of eight One-day internationals and four Tests.

The disciplinary hearing into the charges against Inzamam has been postponed due to the unavailability of adjudicator Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka. No new date has been announced.

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