Pakistan visit the Oval after Test forfeiture

Younis Khan and his men will revisit the Oval for the first time carrying the nastiest scar of forfeiting a Test against England.

updated: June 03, 2009 11:38 IST
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Younis Khan and his men on Wednesday will revisit the Oval for the first time carrying the nastiest scar of forfeiting a Test against England and would pray no scandal hits them this time around.

Pakistan also have issues with hosts England, opponent India and even the game's governing body ICC going into the warm-up match.

But that, indescribably, isn't the end of their troubles as there is a history of crowd invasion on the pitch in England, more so when one of the sides involved is Pakistan.

So there appears to be all the ingredients of a super-duper clash waiting to unfold in front of millions of cricket fans, especially bearing in mind that Pakistan have never been involved in a cricket match at this very ground with India.

Pakistan's tiff with England is owing to an incident nearly three years ago, on August 20, 2006, when Pakistan were adjudged to have forfeited the Test match for refusing to appear on the field after tea break on the fourth day's play.

Umpire Darrell Hair and his colleague Billy Doctrove had then accused the Pakistan team of ball tampering which followed some heated dialogues in the middle and then Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul Haq refused to appear again in the field with his team after tea-break.

The umpires then declared the game finished, deemed Pakistan to have forfeited the game and awarded it to England.

Pakistan is still contesting the decision but this is not the only acrimony this troubled nation is up against.

They are up against India who were once cricketing allies but are now seen with suspicion having disallowed Pakistan's players to appear in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

This had followed India's decision to abort a visit to Pakistan to play a bilateral series in 2008-end.

India also bore the brunt of criticism from Pakistan for refusing to stand by them, if not having actively canvassed against, when the right to host the 2011 World Cup matches was snatched away from Pakistan.

This denial to host the 2011 World Cup matches actually also squared Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) up against International Cricket Council (ICC), who are the organisers of the World Twenty20, and the facilitator for the warm-up game against India.

Today's game is a sold-out affair with 24,000 fans expected to fill the stands and security is always an issue when numbers this big present themselves for two uneasy neighbours.

During Pakistan's 2003 tour to England, there were so many crowd invasions on so many grounds that England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) actually went public with its demand for legislation on punishment against offenders.