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  Wednesday, 21 November, 2001, 13:14 GMT
My friend Denness is to blame
Former Indian Test great Farokh Engineer lays the blame for the Port Elizabeth furore squarely at the feet of his friend, match referee Mike Denness.

I don't say Sachin Tendulkar was right to do what he did with the ball, but he was really just cleaning the seam, and I think Denness got a bit carried away.

He would have been quite right in telling Sachin what he had seen - calling him to one side, or explaining the position through the umpires.

He could have told him not to do it again and the matter would have been closed.

Then Denness sanctioned all those guys for excessive appealing.

Ok - some of that did go on. But Virender Sehwag genuinely thought the catch that he appealed for came off his foot.

Mike Denness has the whole of India on his back
Mike Denness has the whole of India on his back

It was clear the ball had bounced, and it was a good decision, but I don't blame the fielder for asking the question.

To make Sehwag serve a one-match ban is very extreme.

Shaun Pollock also did plenty of excessive appealing.

I've never heard an appeal as prolonged as the one he produced to remove Shiv Sunder Das lbw in the second innings.

The ball would have missed leg stump, but the umpire probably felt Pollock wouldn't shut up until he gave it.

Pollock's entitled to appeal, but the great Caruso would have been impressed by his lung-power.

Perhaps Denness was not watching that particular incident, and that's certainly what the Indians feel.

Pollock, by appealing the way he does, is almost saying: 'Raise that bloody finger. I'm the South African captain - how dare you not give that out.'

  Who got what
Sachin Tendulkar: One-match ban (suspended), fined 75% of match fee
Virender Sehwag: Immediate one-match ban, fined 75% of match fee
Harbhajan Singh, Deep Dasgupta and Shiv Sunder Das: Same punishment as Tendulkar
Sourav Ganguly: One-Test, two ODI ban (both suspended), assuming he remains as captain

I certainly do not think the Indians should boycott the last Test. They should think about international cricket as a whole, take it on the chin and carry on.

But Denness won't be very welcome on the streets of Bombay.

I don't think for a moment that he's a racist, but people will start thinking that he is. That's because he ignored what the South Africans did totally.

Nantie Hayward was giving some mouth on the last day - how come Denness didn't see that?

He should now back off on his own accord and not be the match referee in the final Test. Mike is a good friend of mine but he is the culprit here.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Colin Maitland reports
"Denness provoked outrage in India when he gave Tendulkar a suspended one-Test ban"

Sports Talk SPORTS TALK
Referee Mike Denness' decisions outraged the Indian authorities Cricket row
Are Indian officials right to take a stand?

Sachin Tendulkar has been fined for ball-tampering
Forever tainted

India on tour in South Africa megapuff

Unoffical Test

Denness affair

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