England tour of India - Cricket: We will not play against team with banned player: ECB

Published: Thursday, November 29, 2001, 3:50 [IST]
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London: England will pull out of its Test against India if banned batsman Virender Sehwag is selected to play, the England Cricket Board (ECB) said on Wednesday.If Sehwag is fielded, the International Cricket Council (ICC) will strip the match of its Test status. The ICC said the 23-year-old had not served his one-match ban for excessive appealing by missing India's final match against South Africa, which finished on Tuesday."We will not play a friendly Test match," ECB chairman Lord MacLaurin told BBC Radio. "We are there to play real cricket and we support the ICC in that this gentleman has been suspended for one Test match so the gentleman concerned has a one-match ban to sit out."We will not be playing against a team with a banned cricketer in it." Sehwag was picked on Wednesday in the India squad to play England in the first of three Tests, starting Monday in Mohali. The ICC has given India a deadline of midday on Friday to ensure Sehwag does not play.The ICC said Sehwag had not served his ban because it ruled India's third Test against South Africa was a friendly match after both teams refused to accept Mike Denness as referee. India maintains the game was a Test.Sehwag was among six Indians, including star player Sachin Tendulkar, who were disciplined by Denness in the second Test against South Africa at Port Elizabeth on November 19.MacLaurin said England would not allow India to defy the ICC. "I sincerely hope that doesn't come to pass," MacLaurin said."To have had one Test match withdrawn from Test-match status in South Africa is very sad and if it goes on it will be very sad for the game of cricket."I'm not unduly surprised. The situation is between the ICC and the Board of Control for Cricket in India. The ECB's view is that it's a matter between the ICC and the Indian Board and we are awaiting developments."We will be discussing the matter with our management Board and we will decide what to do. We are now taking it a day at a time. I sincerely hope good sense prevails for the good of everybody."

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