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Was Pakistan dissent justified?
Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq [Images] could be banned for eight one-day internationals or four Tests if he is found guilty of ball tampering and bringing the game into disrepute this Friday.
Inzamam was charged with both offences by the International Cricket Council (ICC [Images]) on Monday after his team forfeited the fourth and final Test against England [Images] at The Oval on Sunday.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) immediately lodged an appeal but confirmed they would go ahead with the five one-day internationals against England and a Twenty20 match starting next week even if Inzamam is suspended.
A hearing into the charges will be held in London [Images] on Friday by ICC chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle of Sri Lanka [Images].
On Sunday, umpires Darrell Hair of Australia and Billy Doctrove from West Indies [Images] decided that Pakistan had become the first team in the history of Test cricket to forfeit a match when they failed to take the field after the tea interval.
Pakistan were incensed that the umpires had decided they had been guilty of ball tampering, docking the team five runs, and decided to stay in the dressing room for several minutes as a protest.
At a news conference on Monday, PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan said the board had appealed against the charges and asked for an independent inquiry into the incidents.
Shaharyar said the PCB had also asked the ICC to ensure that Hair, who has clashed with Pakistan players in the past, did not officiate in any more matches involving the team.
"We have had problems with Mr Hair before," he said. "The team have lost confidence in him. Our team has a problem with his attitude on the field. That attitude has upset our people more than once."
He said a meeting on Sunday, including match referee Mike Procter and representatives of the two countries, had agreed to finish the Test on Monday but the umpires had remained "intransigent".
"It was a grievous blow to the spirit of cricket and the spirit of the meeting," he said.
Shaharyar added that the team had assured him that no one had tampered with the ball and he said he is "absolutely convinced" that was the case.
He said the umpires' accusation of ball tampering is tantamount to accusing the team of cheating, a comment echoed by Inzamam.
"This game is about more than winning and losing," he told the website Cricinfo. "It's about respect and countries come first. If someone says to me you are a cheat and Pakistan is doing wrong things, my first priority is to my country."
However, Inzamam's decision to keep his players in the dressing room on Sunday was criticised by two former Pakistan captains.
Javed Miandad, Pakistan's most successful Test batsman, said once Hair had changed the ball and Pakistan had continued playing there was no sense in staying in the dressing room.
"I think we lost a great opportunity to win the Test and what transpired was sad for the game," Miandad told Reuters. "That is not the way for any team to conduct itself."
Miandad's contemporary Imran Khan [Images] said Pakistan had been accused of cheating in the past because nobody understood reverse swing.
But he said he had disagreed with the way the team had protested.
"I think there was a much better way of protesting rather than staying in the dressing room and then coming out once the umpires were back in the pavilion," Imran said. "I don't understand who advised them to protest in that way."
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