~~Ball tampering~~ row leaves Denness isolated
Published: Wednesday, November 21, 2001, 21:52 [IST]
Port Elizabeth: Indian batting superstar Sachin Tendulkar and former England captain Mike Denness found themselves at the centre of a major cricketing row here on Tuesday that plunged India's current tour of South Africa into fresh turmoil. Tendulkar, widely regarded as one of the finest batsmen in the history of the game, was fined 75 per cent of his match fee and given a suspended one-match ban by Denness, the match referee, after being accused of interfering with the ball in the second Test, which ended in a draw on Tuesday. Sanctions were also taken against five other Indian players for irregularities during the match, including skipper Saurav Ganguly. Indian officials immediately demanded that Denness be replaced as referee for the final Test which starts in Johannesburg on Saturday, a call supported by the South African authorities. United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) communications director Bronwyn Wilkinson said that they would support "virtually any action" to ensure that the final Test goes ahead. Wilkinson was quoted in a cricket Website as saying that support would include replacing Denness if that was the only way to persuade the Indian team not to call off the tour. The fines and suspensions on the Indian six were announced by Gerald Majola, chief executive of the UCBSA at a press conference at St Georges Park, where the second Test was drawn leaving the home side 1-0 up in the three-match series.