Dalmiya set to test his strength at ICC meeting

Published: Saturday, March 16, 2002, 20:58 [IST]
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Cape Town: The executive board of the International Cricket Council (ICC) met for nine hours in Cape Town on Friday, but refused to disclose any details of its discussions.

"There will be no announcements on Friday, but there will be a media briefing on Saturday afternoon," after the meeting ends, ICC spokesman Mark Harrison said. Indian crickets strongman, Jagmohan Dalmiya, was expected to test his power at the meeting, where the most controversial item on the agenda is the issue of a referees' commission that was set up by the ICC to look into the decisions made by match referee Mike Denness during India's tour of South Africa last November. The former England captain had angered India with a series of decisions in its second Test against South Africa after he handed out suspended bans to six of its players including one for ball-tampering against leading batsman and national hero Sachin Tendulkar. Such was the furore in India that effigies of Denness were burnt on the streets and its board said it would refuse to take the field in the third Test if the 60-year- old former Kent captain was the match referee. The ICC subsequently stripped the Test of its official status. Dalmiya rejected the commission and rallied enough support from the ICC to postpone a planned meeting of the commissioners until after the executive board discussions here. Malcolm Gray, president of the ICC, also admitted in a brief interview before the meeting that it was possible the composition of the commission could change. Gray had earlier backed down after declaring in January that the referees commission would go ahead despite Dalmiya, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), saying India would "refrain from participating in the commission in any form or manner". Harrison said earlier on Friday that the board would discuss various "counter proposals" to the original ICC decision that former Test batsmen Majid Khan (Pakistan) and Andrew Hilditch (Australia) and former judge Albie Sachs of South Africa would make up the commission. One proposal is that the commission be expanded to 10 members. The commission was set up when Denness banned Indian batsman Virender Sehwag for one match for excessive appealing and imposed bans on five other players, including Tendulkar. Other issues on the agenda include a disciplinary code, contract arrangements for future tours and the venue and timetable for the ICC Champions Trophy. The ICC is expected to endorse a proposal for a four-level disciplinary code to achieve greater consistency in charges and penalties. Offences will be divided into four categories, with a varying severity of penalties. The board meeting will be followed by a meeting of the cricket committee - playing, under the chairmanship of former Indian Test batting great Sunil Gavaskar. The most far-reaching outcome could be an extension of the use of technology to include an option for on-field umpires to refer any decisions to a television umpire for review. If adopted, the new system will be launched during the ICC Champions Trophy tournament in September. The cricket committee will also discuss the future use of bonus points in One-day International tournaments and a proposal for meetings after Test matches between captains, umpires and match referees. A four-day workshop will be held near Cape Town from March 21 to 24 for the newly appointed full-time panels of five match referees and eight umpires.

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