|Ground:||Kennington Oval, Kennington|
|Scorecard:||England v Pakistan|
|Event:||Pakistan in British Isles 2006|
DateLine: 22nd August 2006
Pakistani newspapers Tuesday warned world cricket chiefs to produce conclusive evidence before punishing captain Inzamam-ul-Haq or risk throwing the game into crisis.
Editorials once again blamed Australian umpire Darrell Hair for the farcical end of the fourth Test against England but they increasingly criticised the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The Daily Times said in a piece headlined "Cricket doomed by a 'Hairy' incident" that if the ICC finds the master batsman guilty at a hearing on Friday and punishes him "then all hell will break loose."
"If that is what the ICC wants, to bite the hand that feeds it, then it will be a sorry day for cricket," it added.
Inzamam's side refused to take the field after Hair awarded England five runs and ordered the ball to be changed on Sunday at the Oval. Pakistan were then judged to have forfeited the game after initially failing to return to the field in protest, following the tea interval.
The ICC announced Monday that Inzamam had been charged with ball-tampering and bringing the game into disrepute. If found guilty of the disrepute charge, he could be banned for the entire upcoming one-day series against England.
The conservative Dawn newspaper opined that Inzamam was not at fault but that umpire Hair's "ego -- and innate bias, many will say -- brought the game into disrepute."
It said: "If the ICC supports Hair and further penalises Pakistan, which is highly likely, it must provide incriminating footage that ball tampering did indeed occur. If none is forthcoming, it has to be ensured that the Oval Test was Darrell Hair's last as an umpire."
The News called for Hair and fellow umpire Billy Doctrove to produce specific evidence of the "very serious" allegations.
It too criticised the sport's governing body for bringing the charges against Inzamam, saying: "The timing is ludicrous given that what was needed was some action to lower the tension and emotions."
The Nation said the ICC had to face "harsh realities".
"Can it afford to leave the game to the whims and biases of mini-Hitlers like Mr Hair?" it asked.
"Is it just because the ICC's chief executive is a fellow Australian that Mr Hair gets away with murder, despite being complained against by three South Asian boards over the last decade?".
(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)