Agence France Presse
Wednesday 8 September 2004
Last Update 8 September 2004 12:00 am
ISLAMABAD, 8 September 2004 — Pakistan cricket legend Imran Khan yesterday lashed out at the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) move to bar honorary cricket officials from questioning wrong umpiring decisions, saying it was “over policing”.
“ICC should concentrate on disciplining the players, coaches and managers who are directly involved, even the heads of the boards can be checked but restricting officials like selectors is over policing,” Imran said.
“Barring officials from criticizing does not make any sense, how will then the game improve,” he said. “I think ICC’s plans to include selectors in its code of conduct is over the top.”
Khan’s comments come after ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed warned chief Pakistani selector Wasim Bari over his outburst against English umpire David Shepherd during Pakistan’s 17-run defeat against Australia in the tight tri-series final at Amstelveen, Holland, late last month.
Bari called for 63-year-old Shepherd to retire after he adjudged captain Inzamam ul Haq and Yousuf Youhanna out, derailing Pakistan’s victory march. Speed in a letter to Bari said his comments were “inflammatory” and “out of order.”
“I will ask the ICC board to include selectors as a specific category of officials so that you and other selectors can be in no doubt about where you stand,” Speed said.
At present the ICC code of conduct does not apply to selectors who are honorary officials, and not paid by the local cricket board. However, Speed’s letter indicated selectors were also likely to be roped into the code.
Imran, a former Pakistan captain and illustrious allrounder, said elite umpires should be open to criticism. “An elite umpire is in the limelight, more than before because they are paid more and should be open to criticism if they make fundamental mistakes which alter the course of the match like what happened in Holland,” he said.
“Why are the umpires to be made sacred cows,” said Imran, who played 82 Tests and 175 One-Day game for Pakistan between 1971 to 1992.
“Pakistan Cricket Board should have protested but I am told they have not which is surprising.”
Imran, who led Pakistan to their only World Cup win in Australia in 1992, said the ICC had already robbed the game of some of its charm.
“A player can’t appeal, show enthusiasm and celebrate before an umpire gives a decision. It is not understandable as it snatches the game of all the charms,” said Imran.