Angry Pakistanis to continue tour — for now

PAKISTAN will continue with their tour of England despite the ball-tampering row but may review that decision following captain Inzamam-ul-Haq’s disciplinary hearing with the International Cricket Council (ICC).

A day after world cricket was thrown into turmoil by the decision to forfeit the final Test at The Oval and award the match to England, Pakistan insisted they remained committed to the remainder of the tour.

The tourists, who play a warm-up match against Middlesex at Uxbridge on Thursday, face a Twenty20 international against England at Bristol next Monday, followed by a five-match one-day series, and have pledged to fulfil those fixtures.

But they were extremely evasive when questioned yesterday about their intentions should Inzamam, who has been summoned before the ICC on Friday to answer two charges of breaching the code of conduct, receive a lengthy ban for his role in Sunday’s incident.

Asked whether they would take such a militant stance should Inzamam be further disciplined, Shahriyar Khan, Pakistan cricket board chairman said: “We will cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Inzamam faces being fined 50%-100% of his match fee and/or a one Test or two one-day international ban if found guilty of the first charge, which was brought by on-field umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove, relating to changing the condition of the ball.

The consequences of the second charge, which has again been levelled because he is the captain, is far more serious and was brought by all four officials at the Test and relates to bringing the game into disrepute — a charge which could result in Inzamam facing a ban of between two and four Tests or four to eight one-day matches.

Pakistan have been appeased by the imminent arrival of Ranjan Madugalle, the ICC’s senior match referee, to take charge of Friday’s hearing because Mike Procter, the match referee, may have to give evidence.

Khan confirmed they would be opening dialogue with the England and Wales Cricket Board about the remainder of the tour, and said: “Let us first decide on the merits of the forfeiture and decide whether we are actually guilty of that.

“We have very good relations with the ECB at the moment and we sympathise with them because it’s not their fault that they are having to suffer all this.”

In addition to the possibility of future protests should there be further disciplinary action imposed on their captain, the Pakistan Cricket Board have also lodged a protest to the ICC over what they describe as “the unfortunate handling” of the ball tampering allegations by the umpires on the field.

They also want to challenge the forfeiture ruling, which had previously been agreed by the PCB, ECB and ICC, and have demanded an independent inquiry to discuss all the issues raised by Sunday’s dramatic end to the Test.

For the time being, though, Pakistan are focusing on Friday’s hearing in London and are currently compiling evidence to support their claims they did not deliberately scuff up the ball.

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