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KARACHI, Pakistan (AFP) - Former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq yesterday praised late International Cricket Council (ICC) president Percy Sonn for his handling of the Oval Test controversy last year.

Inzamam said Sonn, who died Sunday aged 57 in Cape Town, had ensured Pakistan were treated fairly after they forfeited the fourth Test against England in August.
"Mr Sonn ensured Pakistan got a fair trial in the Oval case and because of his efforts the truth prevailed," Inzamam said.

"Sonn backed Pakistan's legal stance and because of him, the investigations were impartial and ended in Pakistan's victory."

Pakistan refused to take to the field after tea on the fourth day of the Oval Test after umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove penalised Pakistan five runs and changed the ball over allegations of ball tampering.

It was the first forfeit in the 130-year history of Test cricket.
Inzamam was cleared of tampering, but was banned for four one-day matches on charges of bringing the game into disrepute. Hair, meanwhile, was dropped from the ICC's elite panel of umpires.

"Personally I admired (Sonn's) love for cricket and under him international cricket prospered a great deal," said Inzamam, who quit as captain after the World Cup two months ago.
"His contribution for the game will be remembered for a long time."

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Nasim Ashraf on Sunday described Sonn's death as a "great loss".

Meanwhile, Cricket Australia said yesterday that Sonn had a vision for cricket becoming a genuine world sport.
Cricket Australia Chairman Creagh O'Connor said Australian cricket was saddened by his death.

"Percy devoted a large portion of his life to cricket, initially within South Africa and then globally through his role at the ICC, and we will miss him," O'Connor said in a statement yesterday.

"Personally, what impressed me most was that he had a vision for cricket developing as a genuinely world sport.
"I had the good fortune to spend some memorable cricket moments with him, in Australia when he visited last summer, and most recently at the just concluded ICC Cricket World Cup in the West Indies, and his passion for the game shone through to the end.

"On behalf of all of us at Cricket Australia, I pay tribute to a man who loved cricket and did his best to make it a better game, and offer our condolences to his family."

Ricky Ponting, captain of Australia's World Cup-winning team, said he was shocked and saddened by Sonn's passing.

"First and foremost my thoughts are with Percy's family and friends," Ponting said.

"I will always associate Percy with one of the happiest moments of my career as he was the man who handed over the Cricket World Cup trophy to the Australia team at the end of the tournament in Barbados last month.

"He and his wife then flew with us back from Barbados to London where we went our separate ways and to think he is no longer with us less than a month later is a huge shock.
"I have been told of his lifetime of service to the game in what, for many years, must have been difficult circumstances in South Africa. Cricket obviously owes him a huge debt of thanks."

Sri Lanka's cricket governing body also paid tribute yesterday to Sonn.

"Mr Sonn was a close friend and supporter of Sri Lanka Cricket. With his passing away, Sri Lanka has lost a dear friend and an able administrator," Sri Lanka Cricket said in a statement.

He visited Sri Lanka in August last year after succeeding Ehsan Mani at the top of the world governing body.
 

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What gr8 efforts, deserve the titile


RIP Son of Cricket
 
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