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Rameez Raja slams ICC
May 26, 2003 21:12 IST
Pakistan Cricket Board CEO Rameez Raja has criticised the decision to penalise fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar and accused the International Cricket Council of adopting double standards in interpretation of rules for different cricketers.
"I do not want to defend the acts of Shoaib Akhtar because his action was discouraging to Pakistan cricket and that too at a time when we are trying to introduce a new culture in the new team. He has been reprimanded and he has shown his remorse," Raja, now Chief Executive of the Pakistan Cricket Board, said in a statement.
He added that while Shoaib's punishment was based on television replays, no action was taken on the sledging incident involving Australia pace bowler Glenn McGrath and West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan.
"The recent on-field skirmishes in the West Indies have failed to stimulate the ICC officials compared to the ball-tampering episode of Shoaib Akhtar that has been given credence even though proper rules and procedures were not followed," he charged.
Raja said, like ball tampering, sledging constituted a Level 2 offence. "Both rules are to be interpreted by the match referee. In the West Indies recently, it was proved beyond doubt that there was a just and undeniable case of a Level 2 offence regarding sledging, involving Glenn McGrath and Ramnaresh Sarwan. Surprisingly, no action was taken either by the umpires or the match referee," he said.
"Sledging and ball tampering are bracketed under Level 2 offence. Thereby, the seriousness of each is equal. It seems strange that while one offence is pursued so seriously, the other offence goes unnoticed. If TV is considered a fact-finding mission, then it has to be followed as part of the standard playing conditions applicable universally," Raja said.
In case of Shoaib Akhtar, match referee G R Vishwanath had relied heavily on TV pictures whereas in the case of the tiff between McGrath and Sarwan, TV evidence of "misdemeanour" was deemed not fit for reporting a Level 2 offence, he said.
"Ball tampering is an offence which invokes certain actions which are: a) change of the ball immediately, b) five penalty runs to the opponent. In case of Shoaib Akhtar, neither one of these actions were invoked. In fact, the ball was changed in the 43rd over whereas the report was made in the 29th over," Raja said.
Also, the ball was changed finally because it was discoloured and not because it was tampered with, he said, adding that Shoaib's action of scratching or cleaning the ball was considered an attempt of changing the condition of the ball by the match referee.
"Hence, it should be understood that there is a wide difference between actually doing something and attempting to do something which is relatively a lesser crime. Still, I do not wish to defend the act of Shoaib. My only attempt is to put the record straight," he said.
Raja said the issue would be discussed at the ICC meetings in London next month.