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ODI series on as Inzy hearing delayed

ICC has charged Pak skipper on two counts - ball-doctoring and bringing the game into disrepute. Is Pakistan guilty?

india Updated: Aug 23, 2006 22:54 IST

Pakistan tour manager Zaheer Abbas confirmed on Wednesday the team's upcoming one-day series against England would go ahead after a disciplinary hearing involving captain Inzamam-ul-Haq was postponed.

Inzamam faces charges of ball-tampering and bringing cricket into disrepute following Pakistan's forfeiture of the fourth Test against England at The Oval.

The hearing was due to take place Friday in London but was postponed because of the unavailabity of International Cricket Council (ICC) chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle, who had been due to hear the case.

There had been fears Pakistan could boycott Monday's Twenty20 match against England and the subsequent five-game one-day series if Inzamam was found guilty and given a ban, particularly on the ball-tampering charge, which Pakistan regard as tantamount to saying they'd cheated.

But when asked if the matches against England, as well as Thursday's warm-up fixture against Middlesex at Uxbridge, would go ahead as planned, Zaheer told AFP in London by telephone: "We will play. There will be no problem."

It is estimated that the cost of a cancelled one-day series to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) would be 10 million pounds.

In a statement ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said the fact that the one-dayers were taking place from August 30 to September 10 meant it would be "extremely difficult" for a hearing to take place during that period.

Speed said the sole reason for the potponement was Madugalle's unavailability. "The difficulty relates to the availability of Ranjan Madugalle to chair the hearing as he is dealing with a private and personal matter that requires his urgent attention.

"Pakistan and England, as the host country, have both expressed a preference for Ranjan to hear the case and on that basis we have agreed to the postponement.

"We have looked at potential alternatives but, as the ICC's chief referee and a person with immense credibility within the game, Ranjan is the most appropriate person to adjudicate in this matter," the Australian added.

"We are yet to decide upon a new date but the intense nature of the upcoming one-day international series between England and Pakistan is likely to make it extremely difficult to fit in a hearing during that period.

"I should stress that the reason for the postponement is related solely to Ranjan's availability. We would ask that his privacy is respected at this time," Speed said.

Details of the new date and the venue for the hearing will be announced in due course.

As captain, Inzamam is deemed responsible for the actions of his team which remained in the dressing room aftea tea Sunday in protest at the action of Australian umpire Darrell Hair and West Indian colleague Billy Doctrove in changing the ball and awarding five penalty runs to England.

That led to the first forfeit in the 129-year history of Test cricket and a victory for England that gave them the four-match series 3-0.

Pakistan made it clear they did not want Hair, who has been burnt in effigy in the streets in Pakistan and who has been repeatedly accused of being biased against teams from the subcontinent, to officiate in any more of their matches.

But, in an earlier statement, Speed stressed that it was the responsibilty of ICC, and not individual countries, to select match officials "without fear or favour."