ICC's chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle has said umpires should do everything possible to prevent a Test forfeiture while making a veiled attack on Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove for their tactless handling of the Oval Test.
Madugalle said a team must be explained by the umpires the consequences of interrupting play and not declare a match as forfeited until they were absolutely sure that the team was refusing to play the rest of the match.
"Umpires should do everything possible to defuse tensions by explaining that a team is entitled to raise any grievance through the ICC. It is not in the interests of the game for the team to interrupt play," Madugalle said.
The Sri Lankan was the adjudicator at the disciplinary hearing of Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq, charged with ball tampering and bringing the game into disrepute by refusing to take the field in the Oval Test against England.
He cleared Inzamam of ball tampering but banned him for four ODIs for bringing the game into disrepute.
Madugalle hinted that Hair and Doctrove should have been tactful in handling the situation.
"In my judgment, a difficult and sensitive situation such as that which arose in the present case requires handling with tactful diplomacy as well as firm adherence to the laws," Madugalle was quoted as saying by the BBC on Saturday.
He also said umpires "should not return to the field of play and then declare the match to be forfeited unless and until they are absolutely sure that the team is refusing to play the rest of the match. All other options should first be exhausted, involving discussions with the team captains and management."