The ICC has been forced to defend the umpires who officiated the quarter-final between India and Bangladesh after the council’s Bangladeshi president Mustafa Kamal claimed the game might have been fixed.
Kamal told Bangladeshi reporters in Melbourne after Thursday’s match at the MCG that he would raise the issue at the ICC’s next meeting, saying the umpires’ decisions seemed to have been ‘pre-arranged’, reports AFP.
‘As the ICC president, whatever I have to say I will say it in next meeting. It could happen that I will resign,’ Kamal said in comments aired on Bangladeshi television.
‘There was no quality in the umpiring. It looked like they took the field after it [the outcome] was pre-arranged,’ he alleged.
His comments came as protests erupted in Bangladesh after the cricketing minnows suffered a 109-run defeat by holders India, due in large part to a blistering knock by Rohit Sharma who top-scored with 137.
Sharma was caught at deep mid-wicket off the bowling of Rubel Hossain when he was on 90, only for the umpires Aleem Dar and Ian Gould to signal a no-ball for what appeared to be a legitimate waist-high delivery.
Bangladeshi fans were also furious at the dismissal of star batsman Mohammad Mahmudullah who was caught close to the boundary rope.
The match was the biggest in the history of the cricket-mad nation, marking the first time that Bangladesh had made the World Cup quarter-finals.
Many fans wept only after the defeat while protestors also burned an effigy of Dar, who hails from Bangladesh’s great rival Pakistan.
Kamal, whose position has been largely ceremonial since India’s Narayanaswami Srinivasan became the body’s chairman last year, said the ICC’s acronym seemed to stand for the Indian Cricket Council.
‘I cannot represent the Indian Cricket Council. If someone has imposed a result on us, in that case no one can accept it,’ added Kamal who is a minister in the Bangladeshi government.
The ICC issued a statement on Friday addressing Kamal’s comments, saying they supported the umpire’s decisions made during the game.
‘The ICC has noted Mr Mustafa Kamal’s comments, which are very unfortunate but made in his personal capacity. As an ICC President, he should have been more considerate in his criticism of ICC match officials, whose integrity cannot be questioned,’ said chief executive Dave Richardson.
‘The no-ball decision was a 50-50 call. The spirit of the game dictates that the umpire’s decision is final and must be respected.
‘Any suggestion that the match officials had an agenda or did anything other than perform to the best of their ability are baseless and are refuted in the strongest possible terms.’