India's South African Safari - Cricket: UCBSA replaces Denness as match referee in 3rd Test

Published: Friday, November 23, 2001, 2:22 [IST]
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Kolkata: India has agreed to play in the third and final Test match against South Africa starting on Friday following South African Board's (UCBSA) decision to replace Mike Denness as the match-referee.Denis Lindsay, ICC panel referee from South Africa, would replace Denness in Friday's match, BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya said in Kolkata on Thursday. A BCCI statement said that both the Indian and South African Board's had taken a common stand not to have Denness as the referee in the third Test.BCCI agreed with the United Cricket Board of South Africa's (UCBSA) proposal to replace Denness with Lindsay in view of the harsh decisions taken by Denness with which Indian players were feeling "uncomfortable".However, BCCI would no longer insist on its demand to keep in abeyance punishments handed out by Denness to six Indian cricketers including skipper Saurav Ganguly and master batsman Sachin Tendulkar, even though they were "inconsistent". Replying to questions, Dalmiya said the choice of Lindsay was against the wishes of ICC, which did not agree to the replacement. "This decision was taken under extra-ordinary circumstances," Dalmiya said. He said BCCI did not approach ICC directly but the South African Board did.Asked whether the Indian Board's decision to play the Test on Friday meant accepting the charge of ball-tampering against Sachin Tendulkar, Dalmiya said, "No, we are not accepting the charge." Asked whether BCCI has gone to ICC with its proposal, Dalmia said, "There is no question of BCCI going to ICC since it has already given its judgement on our demand."In the event of ICC withdrawing these two umpires, he said alternative arrangement is ready. Two South African umpires would officiate. Asked whether the BCCI received any directive from the Indian government before taking its decision, Dalmiya said, "We have not received any directive but we understand that government has given us the fullest authority to take a decision in this regard."To a query whether the decision would create divisions within ICC, he said, "I don't think so. The decision was taken in the interest of the game of cricket," he said expressing confidence that it will have the support of all members of ICC.Asked whether the decision would invite penal action from ICC, Dalmiya said, "We will cross the bridge when it comes." PTI

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