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ICC are the real villains: Atherton

india Updated: Oct 09, 2006 14:29 IST
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Former England captain Mike Atherton has accused the International Cricket Council of "fudging" the verdict in the Oval ball tampering case so as not to upset the Asian bloc.

In his column in 'The Sunday Telegraph', Atherton said ICC was to be blamed for allowing the Oval Test fiasco to linger on and that its entire conduct during the controversy left a lot to be desired.

"If the spark was precipitated by bad umpiring, it was allowed to develop into a raging fire by the inability of the ICC to act promptly and rigorously," he said.

"The saga showed the ICC at their worst: prevaricating, in that a judgment which should have been handed out on the fourth evening of the game was allowed to fester for a month; callous, when it revealed confidential e-mails from an employee; and ultimately fudging a verdict so as not to upset the key players in this very political game - the Asian bloc."

The former cricketer turned commentator was also of the view that the Oval mistake should not cost Darrell Hair his job.

"It was the brusqueness and insensitivity of Hair's conduct, without a solid evidence, which was at fault," he said adding "I would like to see Hair umpire again at the top level, but I doubt if it will happen."