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banner Friday, 30 November, 2001, 13:00 GMT
Q&A: Farokh Engineer
Farokh Engineer joined BBC Sport Online to answer your questions on the Sehwag saga
Former Indian wicket-keeper Farokh Engineer joined BBC Sport Online to answer your questions on the Virender Sehwag saga.

  • real 14k Click here to listen to Farokh

    The Indian cricket board's decision not to play batsman Virender Sehwag in the first Test means England's tour will proceed as planned.

    Sehwag received a controversial one-match ban from referee Mike Denness during India's second Test against South Africa.

    Indian cricket chief Jagmohan Dalmiya finally backed down late on Friday, averting another damaging crisis for cricket, but has the damage been done.

    Farokh Engineer joined us to mull over cricket's latest saga.

  • real 14k Click here to listen to Farokh

    Farokh, a chaotic couple of weeks for cricket. Has any long-term damage been done, or can some good come from this?

    Looking on the positive side, I certainly hope good has come from it. On the one hand the International Cricket Council (ICC) is the governing body of world cricket, and we have to accept its decisions.

    But on the other hand, we also accept the ICC has been totally inconsistent with the match referees, and each match referee has been totally inconsistent with what he perceives. So it has indeed been a chaotic couple of weeks, but I'm sure that something positive can come out of this.

    Vinu Kumar, India

    When Shoaib Akhtar was called for throwing, racial bias was alleged. Now the same cries are being heard around this saga. Is it paranoia, or do you think the ICC has a case to answer?

    I don't think there are any racial tones involved, and there certainly should not be. The ICC is the governing body of world cricket and India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka the West Indies - the non-white nations - are full members of it.

    It would be ridiculous to think that the ICC was a racist organisation, and I don't think it would last for two minutes if it were. If any individual with that in mind they should step down immediately, because there is no room for racism at all.

    Aneesh Bhatia, India

    Do you think Virender Sehwag deserved to be punished as severely as he was and if so, do you think the ICC can remain consistent with the standards set by match referee Mike Denness?

    Sehwag is a relative newcomer to Test cricket. He performed magnificently in his first Test, scoring a hundred, and the guy is full of confidence. When he made the appeal he thought that the ball had come off his bat and bounced on the batsman's foot, then into his hands.

    Action replays showed that ball touched the ground, and therefore the batsman was not out and the umpire was quite right. In his enthusiasm Sehwag naturally appealed for a catch, and I think he genuinely believed that it was a clean catch. I don't think he was cheating for a minute - at least I wouldn't like to think so.

    Sid, USA/India

    What would you think of rules that would give more power to the captains to immediately appeal a decision and have it reviewed by the referees using a replay?

    More than the captains, I would say that the umpires should have complete control. I'm not totally sure about match referees, and I think umpires should be given more power.

    In some American sports they have a system that allows any questionable decisions to be referred to a referee in the stand. Do you think that would work in cricket?

    No I don't, and don't think anyone should dispute the umpire's decisions - they should be final and everyone should abide by them.

    Nashak Shetty, India

    Have you had a chance to speak to your friend Mr Denness since he came home, or is he keeping a low profile?

    No, I haven't had a chance to speak to Mike Denness. But I think he knows that he's had a bad day at the office, and that he's made some indiscreet decisions. He's definitely been wrong in his assessment, which was pretty harsh and pretty lop-sided. Had he had a word with South African captain Shaun Pollock, everything would have subsided and been alright.

    A lot of Indians are saying that Pollock should have been punished as well.

    Yes, I couldn't agree with them more. He did pressurise the umpire into giving a certain batsman out when he knew the ball was missing the leg stump, and he kept on appealing until the umpire raised his finger. If Sehwag was guilty of rushing at the umpire then Shaun Pollock was guilty of doing almost the same thing.

    This is possibly where the racial undertones come in.

    I wouldn't like to use that word at all. It's not conducive to international cricket, which is a Commonwealth game, and I wouldn't like to think for a minute that such attitudes existed within the game. If there is any individual who is biased, then he should be kicked out as soon as possible.

    Ram, US

    What do you make of India's decision to drop all of their seamers, replacing them with an uncapped trio?

    It's a completely strange decision to me, although I haven't seen any of the younger players. But if they're that good, then one has to ask why they weren't considered for the South Africa trip. The selectors know their cricket, and they must have picked these youngsters with something in mind. Srinath of course is unfit at the moment; much to England's delight I'm sure, so these youngsters have got a great chance to prove their worth.

    Agit Agarkar must be particularly aggrieved.

    Yes, I'm very surprised that he was not considered for selection, and I don't know what the thinking was behind that.

    Graham Naylor, UK

    How do you think England will fare against India in the Test series?

    I think they should fare reasonably well - much better than people think. They're a good young side and as with the Indians, there is a great opportunity for some English youngsters to come through in the absence of Caddick, Gough and Stewart. If James Foster has a good series, I think Stewart's days in the squad could be numbered.

    I'm also surprised that no one has mentioned Warren Hegg. He's a very good keeper and a very useful batsman. I've watched him at Lancashire and he's improved greatly, yet seems to be completely out of the picture despite doing nothing wrong. But it's good that he's breathing down young Foster's neck, so the competition can only improve.

    Ian Brabham, Australia

    Watching South Africa against India, I got the feeling that they would be murdered in Australia, lacking an opening partner for Pollock. What do you think?

    South Africa on their day will provide very formidable opposition. I don't think they'll be murdered in Australia, and I think it will be a very interesting series. Australia are certainly the best-equipped side in the world - they're strong in every department. New Zealand did very well against them, so it will be an interesting series.

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