One day tournament in jeopardy if Inzamam is found guilty: Woolmer
by AFP

Ground:Kennington Oval, Kennington
Scorecard:England v Pakistan
Event:Pakistan in British Isles 2006

DateLine: 22nd August 2006


Pakistan's troubled cricket tour of England may come to an abrupt end if captain Inzamam-Ul-Haq is found guilty of ball tampering in a hearing with the sport's governing body the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Friday, their coach Bob Woolmer said on Monday.


The former England batsman told Channel Four News that the players were completely behind Inzamam following the controversial decision by Australian umpire Darrell Hair to find him guilty of tampering with the ball on Sunday in the fourth Test.


Inzamam and the rest of the team refused to come out after the tea break and the match was eventually called off by Hair and fellow umpire Billy Doctrove, though, Woolmer claims that the Australian had exacerbated the situation in a conversation he had with Inzamam.


"It is not an easy question to answer at the moment," Woolmer said in response to a question about the upcoming one day series going ahead.


"I would think that the one day tournament may be in jeopardy if he is found guilty and suspended for eight games.


"If the punishment was suspended then it might go ahead.


"After what has happened the players are right behind their captain."


Woolmer said that the players had been on the point of going back onto the pitch after staging a mini protest following tea.


"We didn't know the game was being called off," said Woolmer, who has been in charge for two years.


"We were in discussions with Inzamam to persuade them to go back onto the field. It was too late by the time that they went back out as Darrell Hair had gone off.


"Originally it was going to be a five minute protest.


"However as Inzamam walked out so Hair came off the field. Hair spoke to Inazamam. That conversation created an impasse. However I cannot say what it involved as that is now sub judice."


Woolmer denied that the team had said they would never play in a match umpired by Hair again - even though he has a record of irritating them and a few years ago provoked the Sri Lankans into a fury as he persistently called ace spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for throwing.


"The team hasn't said that the Pakistan Cricket Board has.


"The team will abide by the PCB's board. We have played with Darrell Hair since I have been in charge.


"Despite a number of difficult and surprising decisions we have continued with him.


"Obviously there is a little bit more of a problem now (with Hair) than there was.


"We had a little altercation in Pakistan because I mentioned that he was being too harsh with the letter of the law."


Woolmer insisted that not one of his players had scratched the ball.


"I asked them on oath did anyone scratch the ball and to a man they said no."


The South African-born former Kent batsman, who controversially once went on an England rebel tour of South Africa who were then barred from international sport because of the apartheid regime, reiterated that if the ICC hand down a punishment to Inzamam there would be trouble.


"I'm not a betting man but there will be more problems if he is found guilty."

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)


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