Holding quits ICC over Oval change as Zimbabwe remain

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Michael Holding quit cricket committee of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in protest at the ICC's decision, taken at its board meeting in Dubai, to change the result of the 2006 Oval Test from an England win over Pakistan to a draw.

Pakistan were originally ruled to have forfeited the match, something never before seen in a Test, following their refusal to take the field after tea on the fourth day having previously been penalised five runs for ball-tampering by umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove.

A subsequent hearing cleared Pakistan of ball-tampering and, on Thursday, the ICC took the extraordinary step of altering the match result.

The West Indies former fast bowler Holding, while accepting Pakistan were not guilty of ball-tampering, said their refusal to play should not go unpunished.

"When you take certain actions, you must be quite happy to suffer the consequences,"
he said while commentating for a TV channel on Friday during Kent's semi-final win over Durham in English cricket's domestic 50-over event.

"I have just written my letter of resignation to the ICC cricket committee because I cannot agree with what they've done.

"A lot of things that are happening today I don't want to be involved with, so I've moved on."

Holding's announcement set the seal on a turbulent week for the ICC which saw England and South Africa pushing for the suspension of strife-torn Zimbabwe from world cricket.

But the Asian bloc -- led by the game's commercial powerhouse India -- opposed the move.

Instead a compromise was reached which saw Zimbabwe pull out of next year's World Twenty20 in England.

That move came after the British government had made it clear it would not issue visas to Zimbabwean cricketers, thereby effectively cancelling their scheduled tour of England in 2009.

Had Zimbabwe insisted on its right to participate, the lucrative tournament could have been moved elsewhere although that in turn could have led to a boycott by England and other leading nations.

Meanwhile concerns have been raised regarding the finances of Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC).

Malcolm Speed effectively stepped down early from his post as ICC chief executive because of the board's failure to take action on the back of an audit by leading accountants KPMG, said to have noted "serious financial irregularities" in ZC's books.

But incoming ICC president David Morgan, formerly the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, told reporters in Dubai:
"The full membership of Zimbabwe is currently not in doubt. There was not even a discussion on the issue of Zimbabwe's membership."

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