The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ban on Latif too harsh, says Akram

Lahore: Former Pakistan all rounder Wasim Akram believes the five-match suspension imposed on Pakistan captain Rashid Latif earlier this month was harsh.

Latif was banned for five one-day Internationals by ICC match referee Mike Procter after Bangladesh lodged a complaint about a disputed catch during the third day of the third test in Multan on September 5.

“I think what Rashid did was not intentional and the Match Referee should have taken that into account,” Wasim said in an interview Monday. “He could have been given a reprimand and a suspended sentence, maybe even a heavy fine. But banning him for five one-dayers is a bit harsh.”

Latif, who claimed a catch off Yasirs Ali’s bowling in the Bangladesh second innings to dismiss Alok Kapali for 22, said he had no intention of appealing against Procter’s decision. The incident was sparked when match umpires Russell Tiffin and Asoka de Silva ruled the batsman out, but television replays showed Latif had not completed the catch and the ball popped out of his gloves when he fell to the ground.

Wasim, who retired earlier this year after taking 414 Test wickets and 502 one-day wickets in a 19-year career, said it was time for the International Cricket Council (ICC) to improve its system of enforcing the players’ Code of Conduct.

“I don’t think it has anything to do with nationalities,” he said. “But... there is no consistency in the decisions by Match Referees. They let off one player for one offence and ban another for the same offence.

“The ICC should talk to the players constantly and keep interacting with them to understand how they can improve their system better. Why should a player suffer'”

However Wasim backed the ICC’s elite panel of umpires, saying they were human beings who made honest mistakes that the players would have to accept. “Their workload is very heavy, and the pressure gets to them. The ICC can look into this thing.”

Wasim returned to Lahore this week after ending his contract prematurely withHampshire due to ill health. “It was nothing serious, just a sore throat,” he said. “But I was struggling and had lost interest in the game. So I decided it was time to take a break.

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