Mustafa Kamal, the International Cricket Council’s Bangladeshi president, has threatened to quit over the umpiring in his country’s World Cup quarterfinal defeat to India, suggesting the match appeared to have been fixed.
Kamal told Bangladeshi reporters in Melbourne after Thursday’s (March 19) 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”.
“As the ICC president, whatever I have to say I will say it in next meeting. It could happen that maybe I will resign,” said Kamal 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.
Responding to his comments, the ICC stood by the match officials. “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,” David Richardson, the ICC chief executive, said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
Kamal’s comments came as protests erupted in Bangladesh after they 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 midwicket 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 Mahmudullah, who had two centuries in the tournament, 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 quarterfinals. Many fans wept 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 N 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.
Bangladesh’s exit dominated the front-page headlines on Friday with many commentators blaming shoddy umpiring for the defeat.
“Tigers fall to controversial calls,” read the lead in the Dhaka Tribune while the headline of the mass-circulation Bengali daily Kaler Kantha read: “The dream run ends in umpiring scandal”.