ICL: Indian Cricket League

Lawyers believe Inzamam has plenty of credibility


inzamamPakistan have increased their legal team for Inzamam-ul-Haq’s disciplinary hearing set for tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday by adding lawyer Ahmed Hussain to the existing UK representation they enlisted last month.

The Lahore-based Hussain is travelling with captain Inzamam and the team from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) that also includes chairman Shaharyar Khan for the hearing that will take place at The Oval. This will be Hussain’s first major case in his three-year association with the PCB.

The charges will be considered during a private hearing conducted by the International Cricket Council’s chief match referee, Ranjan Madugalle. Inzamam has two charges to answer relating to ‘changing the condition of the ball’ and ‘bringing the game into disrepute’ for leading his team’s boycott in last month’s fourth Test against England.

The worse case scenario for Inzamam, if found guilty of both, is a suspension from up to five Test matches or 10 one-day matches. ICC President Percy Sonn has said the hearing will be “a fair and independent process” dealing purely with two cricket matters. It will be independent in that Sri Lankan Madugalle, an honest and respected official, was not connected to events at The Oval, but the fact his salary is paid by the ICC and he shares a dressing room with the umpires in question may alert the conspiracy theorists.

The PCB’s UK lawyers, DLA Piper, headed by Mark Gay, who represented the Football Association in the case of Manchester United footballer Rio Ferdinand missing a drugs test in 2003, are still heading the defence but they are happy about Hussain’s addition.

“He’s very welcome to join the team,” Gay said. “I will be leading the defence with my colleagues but I’m sure anything he brings will add valuable input into the team.” Although Gay was unable to enter into details surrounding the case, he believes Inzamam has plenty of credibility. “He has always been entirely consistent in his evidence,” Gay said. “We will just prepare him for the hearing.”

Both sides will make submissions before Madugalle, who will be aided by the ICC’s legal adviser David Pannick, decides if the case has been proved. If it has, the level of sanctions will be decided and if not, the PCB will claim costs. One other, more significant, development to emerge should Inzamam win his case and be cleared of ball tampering charges, could be a counter-claim for defamation of character.

Gay could not comment on this but a Birmingham-based solicitor, who represents former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram, said Inzamam has a “very strong case” to claim for defamation.

The ICC, however, is not short on legal manpower as chief executive Malcolm Speed and general manager for cricket Dave Richardson both call themselves “escaped lawyers”. For the ICC, defamation doesn’t come into it; it’s just about cricket matters. Their stance is that they have no vested interest and are only concerned with an honest outcome.

Source:The News

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