~~India should have played under protest~~
Published: Sunday, November 25, 2001, 18:26 [IST]
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Chennai: Former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), A C Muthiah, has said that India should have played the third Test against South Africa 'under protest', instead of announcing that it would withdraw from the tour.Asked as to what he would have done if he had been Board president, Muthiah said he would have protested to the ICC, told the team to play the third Test and sought a committee to examine the veracity of Denness' decisions. "There is no doubt that the punishments meted out by Mike Denness were harsh." He said, "All cricket playing nations come under the umbrella of the ICC. The game is played on the laws of cricket, for which the ICC is the custodian." According to Muthiah, the BCCI's decision to not play the third Test if Denness was not removed seemed to be one of one-upmanship. "If I was the BCCI president, I would have called for an emergency meeting to deal with the situation," he said. Muthiah said he was not casting aspersions on current BCCI president Dalmiya, an experienced administrator, who had also been the president of the ICC. However, he had failed to take the advise of other senior BCCI members before announcing withdrawal of the tour. "We should not have opened up and should have kept our cards close to our chests." BCCI, he claimed, was the economic powerhouse among the world cricket bodies. "The ICC would have agreed if we played under protest and demanded an examination of the incidents, culminating in Denness punishing six players, which has never happened in the history of the game. "ICC will have to (if we played under protest) appoint a committee of persons to see whether Denness is a fit person to be Match Referee," Muthiah said. "When we draw comparisons to a few instances where match referees have acted upon similar situations, what Denness has done was questionable. But challenging the game's governing body, ICC, is also debatable," he said. Muthiah wanted to know what BCCI's stand would have been if two state units, affiliated to it, refused to play a Ranji or Duleep or Deodar Trophy match under a particular umpire or observer. He hoped that ICC would view the whole episode in an impartial and neutral manner before taking an appropriate decision on the matter.