Geoff Boycott~~s testimony helped Pakistan

Published: Saturday, September 30, 2006, 2:25 [IST]
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London: Former England Test cricketer Geoffery Boycott's testimony played a crucial role in absolving Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul Haq of ball-tampering charges.

According to the British media but for Boycott's stout defence, Inzamam would have been in trouble.

The testimony of the former England captain and Channel Five TV expert Simon Hughes, convinced ICC adjudicator Ranjan Madugalle that Pakistan team had not altered the condition of the ball, said The Guardian.

The paper claimed that Boycott in particular delivered a veritable tour de force. At one point, he took the infamous match ball in his hand, held it up and said: ''That's a good ball, not just a playable ball.''

The former Test star also disapproved the accusation of cheating against Pakistan saying ''If me or any of my friends were ever called a cheat,'' he told the hearing, the accuser would be ''decked with a bunch of fives.'' He ''invoked the spirit of the game'' with passion while Hughes, a former county player, gave evidence in support of Boycott's position that the ball had not been tampered with.

Hughes was enlisted as a witness by the Pakistan team's lawyers for his distinguished expertise on condition of cricket balls.

He produced two other balls bearing remarkably similar traces of wear and tear to the match ball from the fourth Test.

There was nothing about the ball that should excite suspicion, he argued. Hughes then presented a deliberately tampered ball, replete with scuff marks and abrasions, to demonstrate the distinction.

The paper said that although both umpires, Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove, appeared well rehearsed and furnished rigorous evidence, there were appreciable discrepancies in their accounts, in particular regarding what was said to the England batsmen on the fourth day at the Oval.

Hair was asked at length about the procedure he had followed in changing the ball when he suspected it had been altered. The evidence was important in so far as it made plain whether the umpires followed proper protocol.

Fourth umpire, Trevor Jesty offered details on the condition of the ball and what happened on and off the field.

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