Inzamam to return home to a hero's welcome
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Inzamam to return home to a hero's welcome

Inzamam-ul Haq is expected to return home to a hero's welcome tomorrow despite being banned for 4 matches.

india Updated: Sep 29, 2006 23:38 IST

Captain Inzamam-ul Haq is expected to return home to a hero's welcome tomorrow despite being banned for four matches by the International Cricket Council for bringing the game into disrepute during the fourth Test against England at the Oval last month.

Inzamam has become an overnight hero in Pakistan after he was cleared of ball tampering charges by the ICC on Thursday, with everyone appreciating the strong stand he and his team took against Australian umpire Darrell Hair at the Oval after he charged them with tampering with the ball.

"There is no doubt for the first time Pakistan cricket is looking good after having taken a gutsy stand. And Inzamam deserves credit for this," former captain Rashid Latif said.

"In the past we have been accused of ball tampering several times and some umpires have treated us harshly and got away with it knowing our board couldn't take a strong stand. But after this incident it will send out a strong message to everyone they can't take the Pakistan team lightly," Rashid said.

Until Thursday, they were many in Pakistan cricket who had viewed Inzamam and his team's decision to protest at the Oval and not finish the match with pessimism.

Among them was former captain Javed Miandad who changed his tune to congratulate Inzamam and the board on a big morale victory.

Miandad, a veteran of 124 Tests, said he would now like to see ICC drop Hair from the elite panel of umpires. More

Miandad said it was time for ICC to give him a golden handshake.

"He is after all an international umpire of great seniority and it time for him to go now," he said.

Miandad also said the ICC had been very fair in handing out the punishment.

Another former captain, Imran Khan was as usual blunt in demanding that the PCB take legal action against Hair.

Former skipper Rameez Raja said that Pakistan's stand had been vindicated and now it was about time the ICC also reviewed certain laws governing ball tampering.

"I think the ICC needs to review certain laws. Because the umpires in this case overstepped their authority in accusing our team of ball tampering without having sufficient evidence with them," Raja said.

"I think the Pakistan board and Shaharyar Khan need to be congratulated for defending and preparing such a strong case."

PCB's Director Cricket Operations, Saleem Altaf said the matter was now closed as far as Pakistan was concerned.

"I think our main issue was we had not tampered with the ball and we have won on that front. On the second charge it was expected Inzamam would get some sort of ban but I think the adjudicator has been very fair in all this process."

First Published: Sep 29, 2006 23:38 IST