In a belated admission, the International Cricket Council on Thursday said its match referee for the Oval Test -- Mike Procter -- could have prevented the situation from snowballing into a major crisis by dealing with the matter on the field itself.
Although the ICC has been stoutly defending its officials in the entire ball-tampering row involving the Pakistan team, its Chief Executive Malcolm Speed put part of the blame on the match referee for the forfeited match 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 here.
"The referee, generally a former cricketer, deals with the problems on the field of action at the end of the day's play by calling the concerned players, the captains and the umpires for a hearing (in his room)," Speed said.
The ICC chief, who was here to launch the official website for the Champions Trophy to be hosted by the country in October-November, also announced September 27 and 28 as the dates for the hearing of Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul Haq in London.
Inzamam has been charged with ball tampering and bringing the game into disrepute following the forfeited Oval Test.
"I don't want to dwell much on the hearing after having asked the Pakistan team members as well as the concerned umpires to keep quiet," he said.