Match referee failed to control Oval issue: ICC

Published: Thursday, September 7, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai: The International Cricket Council (ICC) today made a belated admission that match referee Mike Proctor could have prevented the situation during The Oval Test from snowballing into a major crisis by dealing with the matter on the field itself.

The world governing body had so far been stoutly defending its officials in the ball-tampering row involving the Pakistani team and this was the first time that the ICC has come out in the open about a mistake made by their own official.

Mr Speed put part of the blame for the controversy, which led to the first forfeiture of a Test match in the history of the game, on the match referee without naming him.

''As per the laws of the game the umpires should be the sole judges of fair and unfair play. The issue is too simple and should have been dealt with by the match referee on the field itself,'' Speed said at a press conference at a function to launch the Champions Trophy official website here.

Mr Speed also announced that the hearing into this issue will be conducted in London on September 27-28. The hearing would be conducted by Sri Lankan ICC match referee Ranjan Madugulle.

The Pakistani team along with its lawyers would be present and so will be the ICC, Speed revealed.

''I don't want to dwell much on the hearing after having asked the Pakistani team members as well as the concerned umpires to keep quiet,'' he further said.

Speed explained that even if no video evidences for or against the alleged code violations by the Pakistani captain were available, there were other ways to deal with the charges.

''The ball (alleged to have been tampered with) is an evidence.

The evidence from the umpires and people who have seen the ball (are there),'' he elaborated.

When prodded further about absence of any video evidence, Speed retorted that in that case no murder or robbery charges can be brought against anyone in the absence of similar evidence.

''I am not saying the charges are equivalent to committing murder or robbery, but drawing an analogy. If we require video evidence of every murder or robbery committed, then the jails of this world would be empty,'' he said.

''There are other evidences. It will all unfold at the hearing,'' he said. Speed, however, refused to specify whether any forensic evidence would be looked into to resolve the issue.

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