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  Friday, 23 November, 2001, 18:23 GMT
Pollock says match not a Test
A crowd in New Delhi burns an effigy of match referee Mike Denness
An effigy of Denness is burnt in the streets of Delhi
South African captain Shaun Pollock has said that this weekend's Test match should not be declared official.

"I would be very surprised if it did become a Test match. I don't think it should," Pollock after the first day's play, in which India were reduced to 221 for eight.

"To turn it into a Test match afterwards would not be right.

"The guys need to know before they step onto the field what the game stands for."

However, both India and South Africa are ready to challenge the decision by the International Cricket Council (ICC) not to sanction the match.

"If the ICC does not give official status then we will not hesitate to challenge them," Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Niranjan Shah said.


Both the boards think this satisfies all the parameters of a Test match
BCCI boss Jagmohan Dalmiya
United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCB) chief executive Gerald Majola was reported as saying he would argue the case at the next ICC meeting in March.

The ICC withdrew Test status from the match after the two sides agreed to replace controversial referee Mike Denness with South African Denis Lindsay.

The agreement was made following widespread Indian outrage after five Indian players were punished by Denness during the drawn second Test in Port Elizabeth.

"Both the boards think this satisfies all the parameters of a Test match. We feel it has got the official status," BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya said.

"As a member of the ICC, if we thought some corrective measures were needed that the top officials of ICC were not providing."

But Dalmiya was keen to settle matters amicably.

BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya is keen to let the dust settle
BCCI boss Dalmiya is keen to let the dust settle
"We will discuss the issue with the ICC and find a solution that is acceptable to all parties ... let the dust settle," he said.

"Controversies will not help cricket. We will work out the issue with the ICC, we are a family."

ICC spokesman Jonathan Hemus was adamant that the match would not be recognised as a Test.

"It's not a Test match as the ICC has not approved the referee for this game," he said.

"There won't be any sanctions. Their punishment is that it is not a Test match and the statistics will not count."

"It definitely takes the edge off, because you know it's not a fully fledged international," Pollock said.

"It's a little bit more relaxed than a Test match would be [but] it's a great practice.

"We've got a tough tour of Australia coming up, and India go home to play England."

Support for ICC

The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) on Friday condemned officials from both sides for challenging the ICC's authority.

"The playing conditions and the regulations which bind us all together clearly give certain authority to the ICC president and chief executive to appoint referees," ACB chairman Bob Merriman said.

"No team has got the right to object to or try to select referees...and anything that goes against those regulations is of grave concern."

Lord MacLaurin, the head of the England and Wales Cricket Board said that the ECB would continue to support the ICC.

"We stand full square behind the ICC. They control world cricket. We have anarchy at the moment," he said.

Asian split

The action provoked media speculation of a split between the Asian cricket-playing countries and the rest of the world.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) offered guarded support for its neighbour.

"We believe that the Indians have not challenged the position of the match referee in the ICC, but some of his judgments in a particular match," PCB director Brigadier Munawwar Rana said.

"We consider this a matter between India and the ICC and the UCB. Our feeling is the Indians are entitled to their point of view."

Test rankings

If the Test's legitimacy is not recognised, South Africa would move closer to Australia at the top of the Test Championship.

India, already in eighth place, would see a larger gap open between them and seventh-placed Pakistan, even if they win at Centurion.

Only the first two matches would count for the official ranking, introduced earlier this year by the ICC.

And after South Africa won the first match in Bloemfontein by nine wickets the UCB says it has been assured they will be judged to have won the series 1-0.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Pat Murphy -
"This represents victory for India's players and administrators"
ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed
"Mike Denness' appointment will stand"
Latest news and views on the match referee controversy

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