WC 2003 - Irate Lanka takes field against host SA under protest

Published: Wednesday, February 26, 2003, 23:34 [IST]
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Durban (South Africa): Sri Lanka threatened to boycott its key World Cup match against host South Africa on Monday after its appeal to review the run rate rule was rejected by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

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But team manager Charnika Munasinghe said it went ahead and played the match "in the spirit of the game" but not before informing the ICC it was taking the field under protest. Both Sri Lanka and South Africa need a win to advance to the Super Sixes. In the event of a loss, the home team will bow out while Sri Lanka faces a possible count-out on run rate. The Sri Lankans argued that New Zealand's run rate was unaffected since it had boycotted its game against Kenya at Nairobi on February 21 for security reasons. Sri Lanka, on the other hand, found its run rate drop drastically after losing to Kenya and wanted the ICC to amend the rules so that the forfeit by the Kiwis was taken into account.

The ICC's World Cup technical committee rejected the appeal saying the rules could not be amended at the last moment. ICC commissioner Ahmed Ebrahim also rejected Sri Lanka's plea while upholding the verdict of the technical committee.Munasinghe said the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka had sent a letter of protest to the ICC. "The Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (BCCSL), the team management in South Africa and indeed the team itself, are extremely perturbed and disappointed at the interpretation that has been placed by your committee at this 11th hour," the BCCSL said in its letter.

"The alleged 'clarification' is particularly disadvantageous to the Sri Lankan team and is indeed unfair and we feel that it is an attempt to keep the Sri Lanka team away from the Super Six stage. "It would have been advantageous for the Sri Lanka team too to forfeit the match that is to be played against South Africa, but we are refraining from doing so as we wish to maintain the 'spirit of the game' and play the game with a straight bat," BCCSL said.

"Our team will thus take the field under protest due to the sudden and unfair change of the relevant rules made by the technical committee midway through the World Cup. "Hopefully we win the match so that we advance without a problem," Munasinghe said. "But our statement shows how angry we are." Copyright AFP 2001

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