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Inzy gets off light, Hair gets plucked
- 4-match ban on Pak captain for refusing to play, no India trip for umpire

Sept. 28: Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq was today banned for four one-day internationals for bringing the game into disrepute, but the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had more reasons to be kicked than cut up.

First, the International Cricket Council (ICC) cleared Inzamam of the more serious charge of ball tampering. Second, the ICC announced that umpire Darrell Hair, who made the allegation, would not stand in the Champions Trophy matches in India next month.

“This is the most lenient ban and I will not appeal against it. This is a big moral victory for us and I am sure it will help the team do very well in the Champions Trophy,” Inzamam said, though the ICC action virtually means he won’t play in the tournament.

Adjudicator Ranjan Madugalle didn’t uphold the ball-tampering charge that led to Hair and fellow umpire Billy Doctrove docking Pakistan five runs, provoking Inzamam to refuse to take the field after tea in the Oval Test last month.

England was awarded the match on a forfeit for the first time in the history of Test cricket.

“Our main objective was to get the cheats label off our backs… That has been achieved,” a PCB official told The Telegraph. He added: “We’d been mentally prepared for some punishment from the ICC on account of the Test having been forfeited.”

The ICC kept Hair out of the Champions Trophy citing “safety and security” concerns. India had written to the ICC saying his appointment could trigger crowd trouble.

“I wish to keep on being an umpire,” the angry Australian umpire said, but didn’t accept that the ICC had made him a scapegoat.

“My umpiring performance or career is on public record and if other people consider I am still good enough to umpire, I will continue.”

There’s little doubt he comes out the loser from the controversy. With cricket’s big powers Pakistan and India, where the market is, taking a stand against him, Champions Trophy may not be the only loss he suffers.

Hair was glad, though, that the curtain had been drawn on the episode. “The code of conduct is there to be applied, it’s been applied, I’m bound by my own code of conduct but it’s good to have it over,” he said.

“I think the last few weeks have been quite trying on everybody.”

In the aftermath of the row, it was revealed that Hair had offered to quit if given $500,000. He said that had been a mistake. “It may well have been an ill-advised thing to do at the time.”

But he took a swipe at the ICC’s decision to make the letters public. “I believe (such things) should remain confidential.”

In a statement at the conclusion of a two-day ICC code of conduct hearing, Madugalle said: “Mr Ul-Haq has been found guilty of deliberately refusing to come on to the field on two occasions as a protest against the umpires, so interrupting play.”

“I decide Mr Ul-Haq should be banned for four one-day international matches.”

Inzamam told Pakistani television Younis Khan would captain the team in the Champions Trophy. “There will be no changes in the team because of my ban,” he said.

“We took a stand for the prestige and honour of the country and it has been vindicated today.”

Written with agency reports

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