‘ICC decision on Oval Test a dangerous precedent’

July 4th, 2008 - 8:24 pm ICT by IANS  

By Fakir Hassen
Johannesburg, Jul 4 (IANS) The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) decision to change the result of the controversial 2006 Oval Test from an England win to an “abandoned draw” — which restored the pride of Pakistan cricket — has created a dangerous precedent for world cricket, South African cricket experts said here Friday. Outspoken former national coach and now under-19 coach , Ray Jennings, told the Afrikaans daily Beeld here Friday that the ICC had gone over the heads of the umpires with their decision.

“Will the umpires now be hauled before a disciplinary committee because the wrong decision was taken? Can a team now feel that an umpire made four or five wrong decisions against it and refuse to go onto the field the next day (in a Test)? What then is the difference between ball tampering and wrong lbw or catch decisions?” Jennings asked.

Conceding that it was accepted by all that umpires do make mistakes at times, Jennings added: “If the cricket authorities, who are supposed to support their umpires, can now change their decisions and results afterwards, danger light are flashing for the game.”

The ICC Thursday decided at a meeting in Dubai to change the result of the Test to a draw after it was initially awarded to England when umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove found Pakistan guilty of ball tampering and the Asian side refused to continue with the match.

The decision was taken after pressure from Pakistani cricket authorities who wanted to restore its credibility, especially after the charge of ball tampering was dropped last year.

Brian Basson of Cricket South Africa, was more cautious in his remarks to Beeld, saying that the decision created a precedent, because now there could be attempts to get the results of matches changed again.

“I have not seen the reasons for the decision myself yet and therefore would not like to say too much about it,” Basson said.

“Nonetheless, it is a weighty decision to change a result and one which certainly would not have been taken on the spur of the moment.”

The ICC decision will also impact England’s current status on the world Test rankings table.

With the first Test in the South African tour to England set to start Thursday, the hosts are in third place, just one point ahead of the visitors.

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