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Friday, 23 November, 2001, 10:59 GMT
Are India right to take a stand?
Mike Denness' rulings on the second Test outraged the Indian authorities
India's unofficial match with South Africa gets underway on Friday, as the International Cricket Council (ICC) continues to back controversial referee Mike Denness.

Are India right to take a stand on this issue? Or should they have allowed Denness to officiate the final Test?


Despite intense criticism of his decision to punish six Indian players for offences committed during the second Test, referee Mike Denness has received the full backing of the ICC.

  Denness decisions
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

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) demanded that Denness be replaced for the third Test, threatening to boycott the match if he remained in place.

The United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) agreed on a replacement referee, but the ICC further enraged the Indians by refusing to sanction the switch.

Denness will not referee the final match, and it will therefore not be recognised as an official Test by the ICC.

Were India right to take a stand on this issue? Should the ICC have replaced Denness?

Or should the Indian authorities have accepted their decision to keep him in place?

Denness with his senile brain obviously is unfit to be a referee. The India Cricket Board has every right to seek a review of such unprecedented decisions and to even boycott the ICC if their rightful claim is not even attempted to be redressed.
Ajit N, US

The match referees have to be consistent, if the deserve any respect. If a player breaks the rules he must be punished regardless of whether he is from to Australia or India. ICC cannot be allowed to be a sanctuary for racists.
Rai, USA

Some of the decisions in crucial football matches are atrocious - but teams don't threaten to withdraw
V.W.Apte, India

For all those who believe that India is trying to strong-arm the ICC, realize that the dispute is not with the rules, but rather the inconsistency in the application of these rules. While I agree that Dalmiya is going overboard with his antics, the strong protest by the BCCI is very vital - wake up, ICC, and smell the injustice. You have good rules, but you have no procedure in place to review the governors of those rules.
Devon, USA

Come on Indians, show some cool heads. Do you watch football matches? Some of the decisions in crucial matches are atrocious. Players are red carded for no apparent fault. But teams don't threaten to withdraw. No international game can survive without a central administrative system. There will be chaos otherwise.
V.W.Apte, India

The problem seems to me that Denness is not respected by the current players. I remember him captaining England in the 70's and he was rubbish then. He is obviously part of the establishment nowadays.
John Phillips, UK

Somebody has to take a stance against ICC for their incompetence. If they have the courage to stand test of their competence, all they have to do is review the appeals made by SA cricketers for the test where the Indian cricketers were handed punishment.

It is high time the ICC stopped behaving like an autocratic private club
Nishant, US

Look back at the Australia / India series where Indians were again at the receiving end while the Australians were let go without even an admonishment. The ICC referees' decisions cannot be taken at face value. We all know that dinosaurs perished because they did not change with time.
Raj Asthana, USA

Of course they are right to take a stand. It is high time the ICC stopped behaving like an autocratic private club. If the boards of both the countries agree to terms within the broader guidelines of cricketing rules then I do not see why ICC has a right to overrule that and impose upon them a referee who has been disgraced and discredited.

I agree with the Pakistan board which suggests that ICC should be more of a neutral body like FIFA. Maybe this stand of India shall find enough support amongst other cricket boards to start a process that shall curtail ICC's monopolistic behaviour to a certain extent.
Nishant, US

I think ICC should have tried to calm down the things in the first place by saying that they would review the decisions. I think ICC chief is either not good at handling things of this nature or he is also biased just like Denness.
Venky, USA

Tendulkar was shown on video picking the seam. If he doesn't want to be banned or fined then he shouldn't do it. It doesn't matter if others get away with it; you shouldn't break the rules yourself unless you can stand the consequences. Unfortunately this is just another nail in the coffin for cricket, a sport that seems to be dying a long and painful death and that's sad.
Dave, England

The ICC will, at some time, face anarchy - as will any unfair governing body in the world
L Chakrapani, USA

Sachin is guilty as hell from the TV pictures that we saw. I think Denness did a splendid job. It's time that someone told the super stars that they are in many ways role models to the young and if they disobey the rules than the game will suffer the most. India's press must not be allowed to create a mutiny amongst law-abiding countries.
Arshad Hamid, USA

It is ridiculous to see the ICC take such a high handed stance in the face of such glaring inconsistencies in its "neutral" match referees' selective handing out of arbitrary, and sometimes ludicrous penalties. The ICC will, at some time, face anarchy - as will any unfair governing body in the world - and the dissenting nations will probably form their own ICC. Grow up, ICC honchos! Cricket is about fairness, too.
L Chakrapani, USA

The rules should be redesigned and no one person should have the right to ban, it should be a panel. What surprised me was why ICC did not call for a small panel to give the judgement when things went awry? It seems rules are more important to ICC than justice. This is not going to work going forward.
Mohan Kumar, India

Indians have taken the right decision. Indians should also ask for an explanation from ICC and Denness why he hasn't taken against South Africans who are equally guilty.
vijay, USA

Of course India has right to defend its position
Prasad, USA

At the recent ICC meeting in Malaysia, both India and South Africa ratified the use of match referees and agreed that harder measures should be taken against player misconduct. It now seems that they are only prepared to do this when it doesn't involve their own players.

The Indians' claim that they are discriminated against is more in the perception than in reality. They should all stop acting like churlish schoolboys, accept the umpire's decision, and get on with the game.
Ron Ward, Australia

Of course India has right to defend its position. If I were Tendulkar I would have sued Denness, because it is pure character assassination. A man who is going to be remembered for more than a hundred years as one of the all-time greats needs better treatment. Denness did it for cheap publicity.
Prasad, USA

There should be more defined rules governing the game. It is blatantly clear that India have had a decision against them, which is unjustified; after all you are dealing with a player who has an outstanding track record both on and off the field.

How sure was Denness at Tendulkar's ball hampering, and why did he not reprimand Tendulkar on the spot? Furthermore, and most importantly, it has disrupted the test series, which is unfair to both the Indian and South Africa supporters.
Jas C

Tendulkar has been insulted throughout this series and nothing has been done
Sameer Khusro, India

Rules are rules. But why isn't anyone outraged when a Michael Slater or a Shaun Pollock violate rules with impunity. Doesn't swearing or dissent by these players not bring down cricket? The BCCI is not arguing against the rules. It is only protesting the selective enforcement. Bigotry is also not cricket, is it?
Raj Pandya, India

I concede that there is an element of bias in recent referee decisions (not just the one in question). But Mr Dalmiya has let his ego drag cricket into the gutter. On the other hand, the ICC should come down from its high horse and address the real problem concerning inconsistency by its referees.
Geoff Bryant, UK

Time after time it appears that the ICC take action against teams from the sub continent yet no action is ever taken against the over aggressive actions of McGrath and Warne etc. Even in the second test after Denness' decision Hayward gave Sachin barrage of abuse, yet no action was taken.
Sam, England

If India just keeps accepting biased decisions, then what incentive does the ICC have to address this problem? Tendulkar has been insulted throughout this series and nothing has been done. In the same match, Shaun Pollock behaved as badly as Virendra Sehwag and went without so much as a warning.

In a recent series, Jamie Foster, England's wicketkeeper, was abominably rude to Andy Flower of Zimbabwe and was let off. In the past, several Australians have also escaped the referees' wrath despite documented bad behaviour. The milk has been in this pot for a long time and finally it has boiled over.
Sameer Khusro, India

The time has come for India to draw the line and say enough is enough
Damien D'Souza, India

Rules are rules - I think what India and South Africa have done is totally wrong. They have let outside, political influences coupled with financial gain tarnish the sport. Both teams deserve to be punished (fines of match fees?) before the sport falls apart.
Colin, UK

You want to play a sport? Then play by the rules. You don't like the rules? Then lobby the authorities for change through diplomacy, but don't blackmail or hold a governing body to ransom. The BCCI seem to want to ride roughshod over the rules, which they had a part in sanctioning. Inexcusable, and the ICC should follow this up with a lengthy Test match ban for India. Otherwise, I see anarchy on the horizon.
Dave, United Kingdom

After years of biased decisions and selective application of codes of conduct by ICC referees, the time has come for India to draw the line and say enough is enough. It is easy to be a traditionalist when you know the rules only apply to other players. Yes, BCCI is right to take a stand in the interests of fairness.
Damien D'Souza, India

South Africa and India are right for their stand against ICC. Does anyone realize the stand is not against the rules per se, but the inconsistent and inept way the issue was handled by Denness? Cricket is a constantly evolving game. The "pointless" rules should be done away with if they are doing more harm than good to cricket.
Ash, India

The Indian players' behaviour was correctly highlighted as unacceptable. The subsequent actions of both Cricket Boards is staggering - the SACB only interested in the revenue from the third Test, while with the BCCI & their new head, Dalmiya, are intent on indulging into petulant headline making outbursts. Both should be fined and punished for their irresponsible and self-interested attitudes.
Mike, England

The issue boils down to consistency. If Dennes and the ICC applied the rules to everyone - including Atherton, Pollock, McGrath et al - this wouldn't have happened
H Jandu, England

The ICC has shown how insensitive it is to real issues in the cricketing world
Shankar Krishna, USA

It's just not cricket is it. I was always told that the umpire's decision is final. I think the ICC is right in this, as it is trying to return cricket to the noble sport it once was. Having seen some of the highlights of the game Denness was fully entitled to apply the law, and it's a disgrace that the Indians are complaining. Maybe the Indian cricket board should be fined as well for its behaviour in the whole affair.
Paul, UK

India and South Africa should be sanctioned because of this action. Whilst I have some sympathy with the Indian players' case, attempting to railroad over the ICC is utterly wrong.

I do feel that this is also a case of the Indian management attempted to deflect away from the behaviour of their players. Tendulkar may not have been attempting to alter the condition of the ball but his actions were ill judged to say in the least. The players really should know that you cannot appeal just for the sake of putting pressure on the umpire.

Either the test playing nations respect the authority of the ICC or co-operation and cohesion in world cricket is at an end. The claims of racism or Denness attempting to influence the course of England's series with India are reprehensible. I'm absolutely gutted to see the sport I love dragged through the gutter yet again.
Rob, England

I agree with the BCCI's backing of the Indian players. Denness misused the power of the ICC rulebook to slap inconsistent and one-sided penalties, and the ICC could have easily brought a temporary reprieve by agreeing for a review of the decisions. By sticking to its guns, The ICC has shown how insensitive it is to real issues in the cricketing world.
Shankar Krishna, USA

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