LAHORE - The International Cricket Council (ICC) yesterday withdrew an Indian umpire from Pakistan Test series against England a day after it decided to withdraw Aleem Dar from the remaining matches in the ongoing India versus South Africa series.

Citing the close proximity of fixtures to send Indian umpire Sundaram Ravi, a member of the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires, the ICC has sent Ravi back home to officiate now in the fourth ODI between India and South Africa in Chennai on Thursday. “Because of exceptional circumstances, both the BCCI and CSA have agreed that two Indian umpires will stand in this game,” an ICC statement said.

It may be of interest that the ICC already has three neutral non-Indian umpires in UAE and exceptional circumstances rather than close proximity seems the reason behind this abrupt change and tweak of rules. It is unclear, however, whether BCCI was behind the move or Pakistan wanted a tit-for-tat reply to arch-rivals after recent incidents in India.

Now Bruce Oxenford and Paul Reiffel will be on the on-field umpires for the second Test between Pakistan and England which starts in Dubai on Thursday, while Chris Gaffaney has been named as the TV umpire. Oxenford and Gaffaney will stand in the third Test in Sharjah, with Reiffel named as TV umpire.

“The ICC also appreciates the cooperation of all four Boards in facilitating the changes; the BCCI, CSA, PCB and ECB,” the statement added.