Former captain Sohail heads panel to probe Oval Test walk-out (Lead)

February 13th, 2009 - 8:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Karachi, Feb 13 (IANS) The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Friday appointed a four-man committee headed by former captain Aamer Sohail to probe the 2006 Oval Test fiasco again.

The PCB’s investigation comes after the International Cricket Council again changed the result of the August 2006 England-Pakistan Test at The Oval. Initially ruled as a Pakistan forfeit and England victory, the result was changed to a draw before the ICC last month decided to revert to the original ruling.

PCB chief operating officer Saleem Altaf said the committee will go over the circumstances that led to the forfeiture of the Test.

Sohail, who is presently working as director of the country’s national cricket academy, will be joined on the committee by the PCB human resources director and former Test wicketkeeper Wasim Bari, the board’s domestic cricket director Sultan Rana and former PCB chairman Taquir Zia was added as the fourth member.

“The committee has been formed at the initiative of the sports ministry considering the hue and cry over the Oval Test debacle,” Sohail told IANS.

Sohail said the committee will try to find the facts behind the fiasco.

At the Oval, the fourth Test of the series, Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq refused to take the field after tea on the fourth day in protest after his side was docked five runs for alleged tampering of the ball. Umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove ruled that it was a forfeit.

The ICC then reversed that decision in July last year, recording it as “match abandoned as a draw.”

However, the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which is the independent governor of cricket’s laws, recommended in October that the ICC overturn the draw and restore England’s victory. The ICC did so at its executive board meeting in Perth last month.

Pakistan’s Senate has also taken a serious view and its sports committee instructed the sports ministry to ensure that a full-fledged probe is undertaken to find the facts behind fiasco.

“We will get all the relevant documents from the ICC, though most of the details are available on the internet,” said Sohail.

Asked how long the committee would take to complete the probe, Sohail said: “I can’t give you the exact timeframe, we will try to finish it as early as possible.”

Asked if Zaheer, Inzamam and the then PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan, who was also present at The Oval, would be summoned by his committee, Sohail said: “It depends, if we think it is needed.”

PCB chairman Ijaz Butt Wednesday hinted at the appointment of the probe panel when he stressed the need for further inquiry into the controversy.

“Something was lacking from the Pakistan side,” the PCB chief told reporters in Lahore. “Had the manager or captain taken up the matter with the match referee, the fiasco could have been avoided,” he said.

“Our captain took a stand without consulting the referee and umpires awarded the Test to England — a match which Pakistan could have won.”

The committee was apparently constituted on the “verbal instructions” of the sports ministry.

Sports secretary Ashraf Khan has reportedly said the Pakistani walk-out had created poor impression of the team and it is not clear who was responsible for such a drastic step.

Khan wants the people responsible for the forfeiture of the Test must be exposed.

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