March 29, 2007 / 4:20 PM / 13 years ago

Pakistan played Zimbabwe after discipline threat

KARACHI (Reuters) - Pakistan cricket authorities threatened their World Cup team with severe penalties to force them to play their final tie against Zimbabwe following the death of Bob Woolmer, it was revealed on Thursday.

Pakistan's coach Bob Woolmer puts his team through their paces during a training session near Port of Spain in this March 8, 2007 file photo. Pakistan cricket board officials suspect Woolmer's death was due to natural causes and that the Jamaican police acted hastily by declaring it a murder. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

Sources in the Pakistan team told Reuters that captain Inzamam-ul-Haq had initially told the players the team would not play the Group D game against Zimbabwe which was held on Wednesday, March 21, three days after Woolmer’s body was found.

Inzamam and the team, sources said, did not want to play in the wake of the death of coach Woolmer and the subsequent police investigations.

“It took a late-night telephone call to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials and threats of severe penalties for Inzamam and the players to finally relent,” one source said.

He did not say what those penalties would have been.

“The manager, Talat Ali put his foot down and backed by the board told Inzamam and senior players in a meeting that they would not decide which match to play and they must fulfil their commitment against Zimbabwe,” the source said.

“Talat told them they would not be allowed to have their way as they had done during last year’s Oval test against England,” the source added.


Last August, Inzamam refused to lead his team on to the field after tea against England on the fourth day at the Oval in protest over the umpires’ decision to change the ball and penalise the Pakistanis five runs for alleged ball tampering.

Umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove awarded the test to England as a forfeited result, the first in test history.

An International Cricket Council (ICC) adjudicator later cleared Pakistan of the Oval ball-tampering charges but banned Inzamam for four games for bringing the game into disrepute.

Sources said that Inzamam was told at the World Cup he needed to avoid a repeat of the Oval test fiasco at the end of his career.

Pakistan eventually beat Zimbabwe comfortably and dedicated the match to their coach, Woolmer, who was pronounced dead on Sunday, March 18 one day after Pakistan were beaten by Ireland and knocked out of the World Cup.

Sources also confirmed that the PCB would be holding a meeting of its ad-hoc committee next week in which sweeping changes were expected to be made after the disappointing World Cup performance.

Inzamam had announced his retirement from one-day internationals and stepped down from the captaincy after the loss to Ireland and Woolmer’s death which is being investigated as a murder by Jamaican police.

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