Thursday, July 3, 2008

ICC agrees to change Oval forfeiture to draw

An agreement in principle is believed to have been reached to change the result of the controversial Oval Test between England and Pakistan in 2006 from an English victory to a draw, following pressure from the Pakistan Cricket Board during the annual ICC meeting in Dubai. The decision will be deemed official and final only after the board meeting concludes on Thursday and if the issue is not revisited before that.

"England and Pakistan have agreed to declare the Oval Test as a draw to maintain the dignity of Pakistan in world cricket, especially after the ball-tampering charges were dropped,"

a source who attended the meeting said. The topic took up a considerable chunk of the morning's proceedings.

The Test was originally awarded to England by umpire Darrell Hair after Pakistan did not come out to field after tea on the fourth day, following accusations of ball-tampering.

Pakistan had, at the time, been in a strong position in the match, having secured a first-innings lead of 331 and removed four England batsmen second-time around. There was nothing at stake in the series, with England already leading 2-0 after wins at Headingley and Old Trafford, but the eventual forfeiture was the first in the history of Test cricket. The removal of England's win could affect their standing in the ICC Test Championship - they are currently third on 110 points, one ahead of their next opponents, South Africa, on 109.

The result had huge off-field ramifications as well. Hair went on to be suspended from the ICC elite panel, and though that decision was overturned last year when he took his employers to the High Court in London, the initial decision formed the basis of Pakistan's appeal for a rethink of the result.

A PCB source told PTI:

"Members of other boards supported us in our stand that the result should be officially changed to a draw as an ICC adjudicator later found Hair guilty of transgressing his authority and not behaving properly during the entire episode. The board agreed the result should be a draw not a forfeited win for England."

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