Match referee finds Saurav, Sehwag using bigger bats

Published: Wednesday, February 19, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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Harare: The already battered Indian team may land itself in a new controversy with the match referee for the India-Zimbabwe tie reportedly finding the bats of skipper Saurav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag "broader" than prescribed limits. As the Indians were preparing to take on the hosts in a crucial World Cup tie, match referee Clive Lloyd is believed to have checked out the bats of players of both the teams and found at least seven of them using willows that exceeded the International Cricket Council's specifications by five millimetres.

Among the seven was Zimbabwe's Craig Wishart but details about the identity of the other four batsmen was not available. According to ICC rules, if a cricketer is found guilty of using non-standardised equipment, he could be deemed to have sought an unfair advantage and action, and could even be banned. The surprise check sent the Indians scurrying for remedial action and Terry Nicholls, a Zimbabwean national selector, agreed to help them out by getting their bats shaved to the allowed specifications.

Nicholls, it is learnt, asked Ganguly to leave the oversized bats at the conference room of the hotel for him to pick up and carry out the necessary trimming. But once Nicholls arrived at the hotel, he searched in vain for the bats and his attempts to get in touch with Ganguly also did not materialise. "I am terribly disappointed with the Indian captain. Apparently he left the bats at the conference room and then took them all away. My attempts to get in touch with Ganguly didn't bear fruit either," Nicholls said. Team sources said they were aware of the issue but the players were taking necessary precaution. They said the oversize was only marginal and the boys were using sand papers to rectify the bats.

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