Pak players told to forget ball-tampering row

Published: Saturday, August 26, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Karachi: Pakistan's players have been told to forget the ball-tampering row with umpire Darrell Hair and look to winning the Twenty/20 match and One-day series against England, team manager Zaheer Abbas told Reuters today.

''They have been advised that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and International Cricket Council (ICC) will sort out the ball-tampering row and to just concentrate on doing well in the one-day series,'' Abbas said.

Pakistan play a Twenty/20 match against England in Bristol on Monday and then the five one-dayers from Wednesday which had been in serious doubt after the row broke out last Sunday during the fourth Test at the Oval.

''Let me make it clear the Pakistan team had decided early Friday morning they would play the series much before the ICC made its announcement about Hair,'' Abbas said.

Pakistan forfeited the Test tomorrow following their refusal to play after tea on day four in protest after Hair and fellow umpire Billy Doctrove penalised them five runs for alleged ball-tampering.

A new twist was added to the controversy after ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed told a news conference in London yesterday that Hair had asked for 500,000 dollars to quit.

HEAVY CRITICISM The revelation came after Hair came under heavy criticism for his role in the forfeited Test and Abbas had no doubt it had helped the Pakistanis.

''What can I say but if you go through the correspondence between Hair and the ICC and then his retraction it shows his confused state of mind. I have no doubt we will benefit from these developments,'' Abbas added.

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq still faces charges of ball-tampering and bringing the game into disrepute at a disciplinary hearing of the ICC on Sept. 15 in London.

The Hair controversy dominated the front pages of all Pakistan's major newspapers and television channels today.

''Hair bowls a bouncer to ICC,'' said a front page story in the Daily Times as every critic lashed out at the Australian.

TOP UMPIRE But a serving Pakistan international umpire who declined to be named backed Hair's reputation as a top umpire.

He told Reuters that Hair was a top umpire who knew all the laws and was feared by the players for his no-nonsense approach.

''I don't think he is biased in enforcing the laws,'' he said.

He was surprised by Hair's demand for money to quit.

''I don't know why he did it. It was not the right time to make such a demand.'' Abbas said the players were more relaxed now after spending the last few days in great tension.

''We now want to win this series and go home on a positive note.'' He said his players were not apprehensive about getting a rough reception from English crowds in the One-dayers after the Oval Test fiasco.

''No I don't think they are worried because the support we have got from the English people and media has been fantastic. We should have a cracker of a series,'' he added.

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