War of words at domestic cricket final

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Karachi, Jan 17 (PTI) The Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final beingplayed under lights and with a coloured ball for the firsttime in Pakistan has turned into a bitter struggle betweenHabib Bank and PIA as two sides complained of biased umpiringand also accused each other of ball tampering.

"I have never seen such a ugly match in our domesticcricket," match referee Anwar Khan said on Sunday, thepenultimate day of the final which ended with the bankersrequiring another 134 runs on the final day with seven wicketsin hand.

The match referee has already fined five players fromboth sides and also caught PIA bowler Najaf Shah tamperingwith the ball under lights.

Apart from the ball tampering issue, the final has alsohighlighted the substandard umpiring standards in the countrywith two very experienced international umpires Zameer Haiderand Riazuddin making several blunders.

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

None more so prominent than the incident involving PIAbatsman Fahad Iqbal''s dismissal of caught behind by ZameerHaider.

Fahad, brother of Test batsman Faisal Iqbal and nephew offormer Test captain Javed Miandad, did not hide his dissentand frustration at the decision and stood in the middlechallenging the decision and repeatedly kept on drawing theumpire''s attention to the giant screen at the ground whichshowed the replay.

Fahad then walked off reluctantly and on his way to thedressing room smashed signboards making no attempt to hide hisanger. More PTI Corr AT

More troubled followed when Zameer Haider gave another controversial caught behind decision against Habib bank''sopener Shaan Masood who also stood his ground and then walkedoff 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 theairlines team, Shoaib Mohammad trooped up to the media roomand complained about the substandard and biased umpiring.

A Pakistan cricket Board official confirmed that Shoaib aformer Test player could face disciplinary action for giving astatement in the media on Sunday in which he criticized theumpiring and the board.

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

"The actual condition of the ball is so bad that itlooked as if it has been bitten by scavengers. They were clearmarks of nails and it was actually scratched up," Shoaib toldthe ''News'' daily newspaper after the third day�s play.

"We are not playing against eleven players our team isfighting against the 13 players which include the onfieldumpires as well," he said.

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