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'Tampered' ball to go for forensic test

'Tampered' ball to go for forensic test

Due to absence of video or photographic evidence of tampering, forensic test is expected to provide the vital clue.

New Delhi: The International Cricket Council on Wednesday did not rule out forensic test of the ball, which was alleged to have been tampered with by Pakistan during the Oval Test against England, to ensure a fair hearing for skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq.

ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed said a forensic test had been suggested and it could be part of the evidence that would be examined when the hearing takes place later this month.

"Forensic test is being suggested. The laws of cricket are clear on what constitutes changing the condition of the ball. Lawyers of Pakistan and ICC are studying what evidence can be put forth," Speed said.

In the absence of video or photographic evidence of whether Pakistani players altered the condition of the ball, which is in possession of ICC, forensic test is expected to provide the vital clue.

However, it is not clear whether a forensic test can actually establish conclusive evidence if a ball had been tampered with intentionally.

Speed, nevertheless, stressed that ICC was all for a fair hearing.

"We want a fair hearing. We don't want to sit on the side of the umpires; we don't want to sit on the side of the team. We want to sit in between them and accept whatever decision is made by the adjudicator," he said.

Speed said no date had been decided as yet for the hearing but it would be anytime in the last week of September.

"No final date has been agreed upon. But it will be announced in a day or two," he said.

However, Speed denied suggestions that ICC had deliberately delayed the hearing to allow matters to settle down.

"We were very keen and would have preferred to have the hearing in the match referee's room right after the match as it happens in normal circumstances. But Ranjan Madugalle had a serious personal problem which needed his urgent attention. In no way we were seeking to defer the hearing," Speed said.

Inzamam was charged with ball tampering and bringing the game into disrepute during the forfeited fourth and final Test against England at Oval last month.

The ICC had initially announced August 25 as the date for the hearing but deferred it indefinitely, prompting criticism that it was done to ensure the One-Day series between the two teams went off smoothly.

Asked about suggestions that the power of forfeiting a match be taken away from on-field umpires, Speed said the ICC could only consider such a proposal if it came through its

Cricket Committee.

"We must bear in mind that on-field decisions have been made by umpires for the last 300 years -- it has stood the test of time. We have certain processes in place in the ICC to consider changes in the laws," Speed said.

first published:September 06, 2006, 16:33 IST