Karachi: Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja has expressed surprise over the decision of the ICC to withdraw Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar from the India and South Africa series.
The ICC on Monday withdrew Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar from officiating in the last two matches of the ongoing ODI series between India and South Africa after Shiv Sena stormed into the BCCI president Shashank Manohar's office forcing cancellation of talks with PCB chief Shaharyar Khan on the resumption of the Indo-Pak bilateral cricketing ties.
"I don't know what sort of message the ICC wanted to convey to everyone by doing this. I would have thought that they should have simply asked the Indian cricket authorities to ensure the safety and security of Aleem Dar in India," Ramiz said.
Stating that he couldn't understand the strategy of the ICC, especially with the World T20 scheduled to be held at different centres in India early next year, Ramiz said: "I think the ICC took the easy way out. But it is the responsibility of the ICC to ensure the safety and security of all match officials on duty in any series."
A frequent visitor to India for his commentary assignments, Ramiz said that Dar should have been told to stay on and supervise remaining matches.
He also praised the stance of the Pakistan Cricket Board to try to get the Indian board to play the series in December.
"The PCB has done the best it can in these circumstances.
But I can tell you it is a handful of people not wanting Pakistan and India to play each other, which is very unfortunate," said Ramiz.
Pakistan's former ICC elite panel umpire Asad Rauf told PTI that some serious threat to Dar would have prompted the ICC to call him back from India.
"The ICC must have serious concerns for Dar's safety that is why they called him back or else they would not have done this," he said.
Asad, who also supervised matches in India when on the elite panel and in the IPL, said he was disappointed at what had happened in India.
"It is disappointing because I know majority of Indians welcome Pakistani players, umpires and commentators. But now what is happening is bad for cricket and for Indian cricket.
Dar's withdrawal could put the World T20 in India in jeopardy."