ICC stands by umpires; tour in jeopardy

Published: Monday, January 7, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Sydney: The International Cricket Council will not budge to Indian demands to sack umpire Steve Bucknor from officiating in next week's third Test against Australia.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) wants Bucknor banned from officiating at the match in Perth as punishment for a series of blunders he made during the second Test in Sydney.

The ICC said member countries were not permitted to interfere or oppose the appointment of umpires.

"The standard Test match playing conditions are signed by the respective board, and the condition states that neither team has a right to object to an umpire's appointment. There is little ICC can do," an ICC spokesman said on Monday.

Bucknor and Englishman Mark Benson were heavily criticised by Indian officials for their handling of the second Test which Australia won by 122 runs.

Both teams were adversely affected by wrong calls but India suffered more than the Australians.

The most significant occurred on the first day when Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds was incorrectly given not out on 30, 65 and 148 before going on to make 162 not out. Then on the last day India's Rahul Dravid was wrongly given out when he was trying to save the game.

"I have been informed by the BCCI that they are lodging a strong protest with the ICC, so that some of the incompetent umpires do not umpire in the rest of the series," the Indian team manager Chetan Chauhan told a news conference.

"We're not saying this because we have lost the game. It was for everybody to see."

Benson was not scheduled to stand in the third Test but 61-year-old Bucknor was listed to officiate along with Pakistan's Asad Rauf.

Jamaican-born Bucknor is the most experienced umpire in international cricket history, having stood in a record 120 Tests, and five World Cup finals.

Sachin's SMS to Pawar: Meanwhile Sachin Tendulkar has sent a SMS to BCCI president Sharad Pawar, saying he was an eyewitness to the incident involving Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds and was present in the hearing in which the ban on Harbhajan was imposed. He said the ban was unjustified.

The tour of Australia has been suspended till the ban on Harbhajan is lifted, the BCCI said in a statement today. "The Board will appeal to the International Cricket Council to review the decision of the Match Referee and suspend its operation till the appeal is disposed of," the BCCI said in a statement released on Monday.

BCCI Vice-President Rajiv Shukla said that Harbhajan had complete support of his teammates as well as the BCCI. He further confirmed that the board has demanded the removal of Bucknor and Benson from all future matches involving India.

The board"s chief administrative officer,Professor Ratnakar Shetty, has said that all rules and provisions would be kept in mind before deciding the future course of the tour and no decision would be taken on public emotions and reactions.

He also made it clear that first Harbhajan Singh would have to file a complaint and subsequently, the board would follow suit.

Even umpires officiating in the match had testified that no such comments were passed by the Indian offie. Earlier, Team India had leveled serious allegations against off spinner Brad Hogg. Team India reportedly complained of Hogg allegedly abusing Kumble as he used abusive words against some of the Indian players. While ICC"s hearing to settle Harbhajan- Symonds row was underway ICC role has come under scanner from cricket fans across the globe.

Mike Proctor will hear fresh charges against Hogg on Jan 7.


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