Shoaib Malik under fire over pitch controversy

October 31st, 2008 - 7:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Shoaib AkhtarKarachi, Oct 31 (IANS) Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik has come under fire after he forced umpires and match referee to show him the Diamond Ground pitch in Islamabad even though the groundsmen had already put it under wraps.Malik, who is captaining Punjab against Federal Areas in a crucial match of the Pentangular - a major first-class domestic tournament - went to the ground Thursday evening to inspect the wicket, in spite of the fact that Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) regulations don’t allow any such inspection once the pitch is covered.

Malik then approached Match Referee Khalid Niazi and umpires Saleem Badar and Iqbal Butt. The match officials instructed the ground staff to remove the covers so that the Pakistan captain can inspect the wicket, ahead of the start of the four-day match that begins Friday.

However, Niazi played down the incident saying that Malik was shown the wicket since he reached the ground a bit late. He said that Malik inspected the wicket in front of the Federal Areas team officials adding that fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar who is representing the home team (Federal Areas) was also present.

But the incident doesn’t augur well for Malik, whose captaincy would be put under the scanner at the end of this year with the Governing Board of the PCB meeting to decide whether he should be retained to lead Pakistan in the all-important home series against India starting early next year.

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