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Inzamam says Oval Test should be ruled void

Meanwhile, Pak media has urged ICC to produce conclusive evidence before punishing Inzy.

india Updated: Aug 22, 2006 15:36 IST

Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq says cricket chiefs should rule the farcical fourth Test against England null and void.

Meanwhile newspapers here urged the International Cricket Council (ICC) to produce conclusive evidence before punishing Inzamam on charges of tampering with the ball and bringing the game into disrepute.

"Pakistan was in a winning position but England was declared winner. So our disappointment is very natural," Inzamam wrote in his column in Monday's Daily Jang, Pakistan's biggest-circulation Urdu language newspaper.

"Now our effort is to change the result of the match. Pakistan will request the ICC that instead of awarding it to England it should be declared a no-result match," he said.

Inzamam's side refused to take the field after tea because umpire Darrell Hair had awarded England five runs and ordered the ball to be changed on Sunday at the Oval. Pakistan were then judged to have forfeited the game.

England officially won the four-match series 3-0.

The burly master batsman also said that Australian umpire Darrell Hair, who first reported the alleged tampering, had insulted Pakistan. "It can never be forgotten," he said in the column.

Inzamam has warned that Pakistan's tour of England is finished if cricket chiefs find him guilty at a disciplinary hearing on Friday.

Editorials in Pakistan -- where protesters burned pictures of Hair on Monday -- once again slammed the Australian official but they increasingly criticised the ICC for its handling of the crisis.

The Daily Times said in a piece headlined "Cricket doomed by a 'Hairy' incident" that if the ICC punishes Inzamam "then all hell will break loose."

"If that is what the ICC wants, to bite the hand that feeds it, then it will be a sorry day for cricket," it added.

The conservative Dawn newspaper opined that Inzamam was not at fault but that umpire Hair's "ego -- and innate bias, many will say -- brought the game into disrepute."

It said: "If the ICC supports Hair and further penalises Pakistan, which is highly likely, it must provide incriminating footage that ball tampering did indeed occur. If none is forthcoming, it has to be ensured that the Oval Test was Darrell Hair's last as an umpire."

The News called for Hair and fellow umpire Billy Doctrove to produce specific evidence of the "very serious" allegations.

It too criticised the sport's governing body for bringing the charges against Inzamam, saying: "The timing is ludicrous given that what was needed was some action to lower the tension and emotions."

The Nation said the ICC had to face "harsh realities".

"Can it afford to leave the game to the whims and biases of mini-Hitlers like Mr Hair?" it asked.

"Is it just because the ICC's chief executive is a fellow Australian that Mr Hair gets away with murder, despite being complained against by three South Asian boards over the last decade?"

First Published: Aug 22, 2006 15:36 IST