Former Indian captain, Anil Kumble came down heavily on ICC for not punishing the instigators of on-field spats severely enough. According to Kumble, provocateurs of on-field spats escape with a light censure while players who react strongly are penalised severely.
Kumble expressed his views after the controversial Perth Test between Australia and West Indies, which saw three Australians reported and fined, but West Indian Sulieman Benn banned for two ODIs.
The clash began after Benn and Johnson collided as the batsman set off towards the wicketkeeper's end for a single and the giant spinner tried to field the ball off Haddin. The contact seemed incidental, with neither man at fault, but Haddin appeared to inflame the situation after completing the run, when he pointed his bat at Benn.
The pair exchanged words and the sparks flew again two balls later, when Haddin drove the final ball of the over back to Benn, who shaped to throw at the striker's end even though Haddin was not taking off for a run. Haddin and Johnson had a mid-pitch meeting at the end of the over and Benn continued his remonstration, moving close to the batsmen and pointing at Haddin across the shoulder of Johnson.
While Benn, Haddin and Johnson even had some physical contact, it appeared that none of the men was at fault for it, since it seemed accidental. However, Haddin had inflamed the situation to its ugly levels by pointing his bat at Benn, when Benn and Johnson had got into a tangle while Benn was going for the ball and Johnson for a run.
"There doesn't seem to be any punishment forthcoming for someone who provokes and that to me is against the principles of natural justice," Kumble wrote. "The Australians always seem to get away. Whatever their transgressions on the field, invariably it is their opponents who end up paying a price. Somehow or the other, teams playing against the Aussies seem to invite the match referee's wrath."
Kumble aslo cited the example of the Delhi Test in 2008, during which Gautam Gambhir was banned for a Test by match referee Broad because he elbowed Shane Watson, with whom he had verbal duel before the incident. Gambhir also argued with Simon Katich in the same innings.
"In the Delhi Test against us, my last, the one that earned Gautam Gambhir a ban for having a go at Watson, the same umpire and the match referee were officiating," Kumble wrote. "At that time, the umpire Billy Bowden didn't see it fit to report Simon Katich who had later obstructed Gautam and the match referee Chris Broad too didn't bother to act on his own or follow it up with the on-field umpires even though it was very much evident on TV. And as on that occasion, the provocateurs got away in Perth too, with Haddin and Johnson receiving minor reprimands."