War of words at domestic cricket final

Last Updated: Jan 17, 2011, 10:51 AM IST

Karachi: The Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final being played under lights and with a coloured ball for the first time in Pakistan has turned into a bitter struggle between Habib Bank and PIA as two sides complained of biased umpiring and also accused each other of ball tampering.

"I have never seen such a ugly match in our domestic cricket," match referee Anwar Khan said on Sunday, the penultimate day of the final which ended with the bankers requiring another 134 runs on the final day with seven wickets in hand.

The match referee has already fined five players from both sides and also caught PIA bowler Najaf Shah tampering with the ball under lights.

Apart from the ball tampering issue, the final has also highlighted the substandard umpiring standards in the country with two very experienced international umpires Zameer Haider and Riazuddin making several blunders.

Anwar said that players had been fined for abusing each other and showing dissent with the umpires decision.

None more so prominent than the incident involving PIA batsman Fahad Iqbal`s dismissal of caught behind by Zameer Haider.

Fahad, brother of Test batsman Faisal Iqbal and nephew of former Test captain Javed Miandad, did not hide his dissent and frustration at the decision and stood in the middle challenging the decision and repeatedly kept on drawing the umpire`s attention to the giant screen at the ground which showed the replay.

Fahad then walked off reluctantly and on his way to the dressing room smashed signboards making no attempt to hide his anger.

More troubled followed when Zameer Haider gave another controversial caught behind decision against Habib bank`s opener Shaan Masood who also stood his ground and then walked off banging his bat on the ground and smashing a signboard.

Tempers have been so high that one stage the PIA coach, former Test captain Moin Khan and the manager sports of the airlines team, Shoaib Mohammad trooped up to the media room and complained about the substandard and biased umpiring.

A Pakistan cricket Board official confirmed that Shoaib a former Test player could face disciplinary action for giving a statement in the media on Sunday in which he criticized the umpiring and the board.

He also accused the bankers of tampering with the ball in the final and said this was being done in full view of the umpires who were taking no action at all.

"The actual condition of the ball is so bad that it looked as if it has been bitten by scavengers. They were clear marks of nails and it was actually scratched up," Shoaib told a newspaper after the third day’s play.

"We are not playing against eleven players our team is fighting against the 13 players which include the onfield umpires as well," he said.