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Ramiz views instigated Pakistan: Media

The "wounded-tiger" speech by Rameez Raja shaped the eventual decision of Pakistan in the Oval Test, Sunday Telegraph reported.

india Updated: Oct 09, 2006 14:29 IST

The Oval Test controversy may have blown over but there appeared to be no end to speculation in the media over what exactly led the Pakistan team to boycott play on the fourth day of the match.

After one reputed daily earlier this week pointed to Pakistan's bowling coach Waqar Younis as the one who persuaded skipper Inzamam-ul Haq -- in the toilet -- not to take the field, it was the turn of 'Sunday Telegraph' to present its version.

The newspaper said it was the "wounded-tiger" speech by cricketer-turned TV commentator Rameez Raja which shaped the eventual decision of the Pakistani team management on the fateful day.

"...It was impassioned comments from television commentator Ramiz Raja that sparked Pakistan's infamous protest, leading to cricket's first forfeited Test match," the daily said.

An ICC disciplinary hearing had cleared Inzamam of ball-tampering on Thursday but handed a four-match ban for bringing the game into disrepute by refusing to play the Oval match against England.

The paper said there was confusion in the dressing room initially at the charge made against them by umpire Darrell Hair and also on what action should they take.

"A senior party including Inzamam, bowling coach Waqar Younis and coach Bob Woolmer, discussed how they should respond. While these talks were going on, they began to focus on the television inside the visitors' dressing room as an incensed Ramiz aired an emotive monologue," it said.

Quoting Raja's comments, the paper said, "it was a big decision [by the umpires] and I totally disagree with what happened out there.

"I am disgusted with the way the laws have been interpreted. You cannot tell whether the ball was scratched, unless you catch somebody in the process. It's a needless controversy."

On hearing Raja's comments, the senior party firmed up their plan of action, it said.

"After watching the television and hearing what Ramiz had to say, Inzamam was very angry and wanted to do something," it quoted a source as saying.

"Inzy asked [vice-captain)] Younis Khan what he thought about a protest and Younis said he would support whatever decision was made. Inzy then asked the team whether they agreed with staying off the field and everyone said they would support him."

Woolmer, the daily said, had suggested three possible protests. They were to carry on with the game and fight the allegations through team administrators; take the field at the right time but then sit down for five minutes; or stay off completely.

"But it would be incorrect to assume that the protest was Woolmer's idea, as Inzamam was already keen to make a firm stand by this stage, following the wounded-tiger speech by Ramiz. Contrary to previous reports, the mood in the dressing-room remained calm, albeit resolute at making a stand."

First Published: Oct 01, 2006 18:04 IST