England tour of India - Cricket: Sehwag episode: Hectic talks on to end crisis

Published: Thursday, November 29, 2001, 23:27 [IST]
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Kolkata: Cricket chiefs around the world were working the phones on Thursday to diffuse the crisis over India's refusal to bow to the wishes of the sport's governing body, sources said.Malcolm Speed, the London-based chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC), was in constant touch with Indian cricket chief Jagmohan Dalmiya and ICC president Malcolm Gray, the sources added."Speed and Dalmiya have been on the phone all day," a source in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said. "Everyone is sure a way will be found to end the impasse before the Friday noon deadline."The ICC has given the BCCI until 0630 GMT on Friday to confirm if banned cricketer Virender Sehwag will take the field in the first Test against England at Mohali from Monday.India's selectors picked Sehwag in a 14-man squad, despite an ICC directive not to play him, fuelling a crisis that could lead to the series being cancelled."We went entirely by merit, and on merit, you can't drop a batsman who scored a century on debut less than a fortnight ago," chairman of selectors Chandu Borde said.The ICC ruled Sehwag ineligible to play the Mohali Test due to the one-match suspension slapped on him by match referee Mike Denness after the second Test against South Africa at Port Elizabeth.India have maintained the ban was served during the ongoing third Test at Centurion Park, but the ICC have declared the game unofficial after Denness was removed as referee by both teams.If Sehwag is picked in the playing 11 for the Mohali Test, the ICC is certain to declare the match illegal, which could force England to pull out of the series.A defiant Dalmiya told reporters on Wednesday that India could not be pushed to name its team by the deadline set by the ICC. "We will not be dictated to," Dalmiya said. If we name our team three days in advance we might invite an investigation from the ICC's anti-corruption unit (ACU)."India's premier portal - www.sify.com - quoted an unnamed BCCI official as saying that negotiations were on to find an honourable solution to the crisis.The official told the website that Dalmiya had proposed to Speed that "Sehwag will not be played at Mohali and the ICC, in turn, will soften its stand on Sachin Tendulkar and address some of the concerns of the Indian Board."Tendulkar, a national icon, was penalised by Denness for tampering with the ball, a charge the match referee himself retracted on Wednesday, saying the player was only trying to clean the ball.

Copyright AFP 2001

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