~~ICC not to confront India on Sehwag~~

Published: Monday, November 26, 2001, 23:19 [IST]
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London: A day after the International Cricket Council (ICC) threatened to expel India if it continued to flout its authority, the game's governing body is believed to be in favour of a "less decisive" approach rather than resorting to an "extreme measure". The London-based ICC is to favour a strategy of refusing to sanction Tests involving India until their impasse over Virender Sehwag is resolved rather than banning India from playing Test matches, according to British media reports. "It (ICC) does not want to provoke India into a greater confrontation and risk an irreparable schism in the world game," said the 'Guardian'. The paper said the ICC was taking legal advice to prepare for continued defiance by India over the Sehwag issue. India has said Sehwag served his suspension by not playing in the ongoing third Test with South Africa and therefore was eligible for selection for the first Test with England next week at Mohali. The ICC view is that Sehwag is still under suspension since the third Test was declared "unofficial" after the row between the ICC and Indian and South African cricket Boards over the sacking of Mike Denness as the match referee. "The absence or presence of the diminutive Sehwag would either calm or inflame the current situation, which is either a small row, or total anarchy, depending on whether the ICC's claim that all but one member Board supported its action is to be believed," wrote the 'Independent'. "Virender Sehwag has only played two Test matches, but already the 23-year old batsman has made an impact beyond the wildest dreams of even Sigmund Freud," the 'Independent' said in its article headlined "Sehwag the bit player with a leading part". The 'Times' said that a series of meetings over the next three days will help to determine whether England become embroiled in the potential scenario that would lead to a split in world cricket over the availability of Virender Sehwag. If Sehwag is chosen for the Mohali Test, it said, England will be faced with the stark decision of either participating in an "unofficial" Test against the wishes of the ICC or pulling out of the contest and risking reprisals from the BCCI. The 'Times' said Dennis Lindsay, the match referee for the India-England series, has been already told by the ICC president Malcolm Gray that Sehwag must not play in the Mohali Test. With England caught in the middle of rift over Sehwag the ECB chief executive Tim Lamb said there is "room for manoeuvre" and he seriously hoped the crisis would be resolved. "At the moment we are interested observers. I think it would be silly to play our hand, other than to repeat that we are fully supportive of the ICC's determination to keep the world family together and uphold the practices, rules and regulations that have been put in place," Lamb said. The 'Times' said that though on the surface there does not appear to be a compromise there must be a will on both sides (India and England) to resolve the situation for the well being of the game.

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