Monday 22 January 2007 

Imran Farhat Not Guilty Of Code Of Conduct Breach

Pakistan’s Imran Farhat has been found not guilty of breaching the ICC Code of Conduct during his side’s second Test against South Africa in Port Elizabeth.

The player was charged with a Level 2 offence under clause C 1 of the Code which states: “Players and/or Team Officials shall at all times conduct play within the spirit of the game as well as within the Laws of Cricket…”

The charge, laid by the four umpires on duty in the match, on-field officials Billy Doctrove and Peter Parker, third umpire Rudi Koertzen and fourth umpire Brian Jerling, related to an incident on the first day of the Test, on Friday.

Imran Farhat claimed a catch from batsman Ashwell Prince which was referred to the third official because Doctrove and Parker were unsure whether the batsman had played the ball into the ground or his boot before it reached the fielder.

When Koertzen studied television replays of the incident he noticed the ball had, in fact, not carried to Imran Farhat, and when all the umpires had the chance to view the footage at close of play it was decided that a charge should be laid.

The hearing took place after the second day’s play on Saturday as, by the time the umpires had the chance view the footage on Friday evening and had decided to charge the player, the Pakistan team had already left the ground.

After considering the evidence, ICC match referee Chris Broad decided Imran Farhat had no intention to cheat.

“One of the key aspects in favour of the fielder in this instance was that no one questioned the validity of the catch at the time,” said Broad.

“It was only when it was referred to the third umpire that it became clear the ball had not carried.

“That ties in with my experience as a cricketer as I know it is possible to believe you have caught the ball when others may have seen it bounce beforehand.

“Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan coach, and team manager Talit Ali appeared at the hearing to vouch for Imran Farhat’s good character, and Bob added that during a match in the Caribbean Imran told the umpires he was unsure whether or not a ball had reached him on the full only for replays to show he took the catch cleanly.

“Taking all these factors into account I am satisfied this was simply a case of a genuine and honest mistake by the fielder and so I found him not guilty of the charge,” he added.

The hearing was attended by the four umpires, Woolmer, Talit Ali and Imran Farhat.

If found guilty, the penalties for a Level 2 offence range from a fine equivalent to 50 per cent of a player’s match fee to a ban of one Test or two ODIs.