A sport of confrontation – Frontline


The disciplinary motion taken in opposition to six Indian cricket gamers in the course of the nation’s tour of South Africa nearly results in an unseemly confrontation between the Board of Management for Cricket in India and the Worldwide Cricket Council.

A STUBBORN governing physique, a defiant warlord, a bitter battle and an unsure future. The sport of cricket was on the brink in November 2001.

Match referee Mike Denness. The confrontation might have been averted had he made clear the precise nature of the offences dedicated by the six Indian gamers.-ANNA ZIEMINSKI/AFP

A trigger-happy match referee set the ball rolling, a rustic passionate in regards to the sport reacted with anger after which the directors, with their inflated egos, took over. Ultimately, each side succumbed to the stress.

The mud has settled, however the scars stay, and the approaching days will probably be essential. “I’m happy we now have been in a position to keep away from a collision. Do not underestimate the issue. Sturdy feelings had been aroused,” stated Malcolm Velocity, chief government, Worldwide Cricket Council (ICC).

The truce between the ICC and the Board of Management for Cricket in India (BCCI), pressured as a lot by the circumstances as by a necessity to avoid wasting face, not solely rescued England’s tour of India but in addition prevented a tragic cut up within the cricketing world.

There have been no winners within the feud. The mistrust and anger that clouded the horizon had already solid a shadow over the sport’s picture. Nonetheless, cricket survives, for now.

Whereas BCCI chief Jagmohan Dalmiya swallowed his pleasure, the ICC got here down from the ethical excessive floor.

In line with the settlement reached over the telephone between ICC president Malcolm Grey in London and Dalmiya in Kolkata on November 30, the BCCI wouldn’t subject banned cricketer Virender Sehwag within the Mohali Check. However, the ICC would arrange a referee’s fee, consisting of not less than two former cricketers, to inquire into the controversial second Check between India and South Africa in Port Elizabeth. Extra essential, the fee would resolve whether or not former England captain Mike Denness adopted the proper procedures whereas wielding the stick in opposition to six Indian cricketers. The proper to attraction in opposition to a match referee’s verdict, other than framing a separate code of conduct for them, can even come up for dialogue.

Nonetheless, the problem of whether or not the five-day ‘first-class’ match on the Centurion Park may very well be given Check standing could be taken up solely within the subsequent government panel assembly of the ICC, to be held in Colombo in March 2002.

It was clear that the BCCI was bent on being on a collision course with the ICC when it stored Sehwag out of the Centurion Park Check, declared ‘unofficial’ by the ICC, after which insisted that he had already served his one-Check ban. The nationwide selectors included the Delhi cricketer within the squad for the Mohali Check, and the ICC noticed crimson.

Jagmohan Dalmiya, president of the Board of Management for Cricket in India. From the start it was clear that the BCCI was bent on being on a collision course with the ICC.-JAYANTA SHAW/REUTERS

The response of the ICC, which caught to the foundations, was on predictable strains. Sehwag must endure his sentence at Mohali and, in case he was included within the enjoying eleven, the Check could be declared ‘unofficial’.

The ICC gave the BCCI time till midday on November 30 to withdraw Sehwag’s title. Later, in a final ditch try and discover a means out, the deadline was prolonged by one other day to facilitate a gathering between Grey and Dalmiya at Kuala Lumpur on December 1.

Nonetheless, the directors took the simpler choice – the telecommunication system – and an answer was discovered a lot earlier than the ‘essential’ males had been to go away for the Malaysian capital.

INDIA’S South African marketing campaign of 2001 will probably be remembered for all of the improper causes. A weird and dramatic sequence of occasions sparked the bitter confrontation that might have been averted. Whereas it’s true that a number of match referees, like Mike Denness, have been inconsistent of their interpretation of the legal guidelines regarding on-field behaviour – the basis explanation for the battle – the necessity of the hour was to defuse the scenario slightly than add gas to the hearth.

Emotions ran excessive within the Indian camp after Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Deep Dasgupta, Shiv Sundar Das and skipper Sourav Ganguly had been charged by Denness on seven counts of ‘indiscipline’ on the third day of the Port Elizabeth Check.

Tendulkar was handed out a one-Check suspended ban and fined 75 per cent of his match price for trying to change the situation of the ball. (The tv cameras had caught the Indian star working his fingers alongside the seam.)

Denness additionally pulled up Sehwag, Harbhajan, Deep Dasgupta, and Shiv Sundar Das for expressing dissent at a call and trying to intimidate umpire Ian Howell. The final three had been docked 75 per cent of their match price and handed out a one-Check suspended ban for every. Sehwag, additionally accused of utilizing abusive language, was to half with 75 per cent of his match price and was to not play the following Check, with the ban coming into impact instantly.

Ganguly was punished with suspended ban for one Check match and two limited-overs worldwide matches for failing to regulate his males.

ICC president Malcolm Grey. The ICC caught to ‘precept’ and refused to provide in to the BCCI’s calls for.-MOHSIN RAZA/REUTERS

The Indian group’s unhappiness with Denness’ choice was comprehensible for, throughout the identical match Shaun Pollock, the South African Captain, obtained away with a ‘struggle cry’-like attraction in opposition to V.V.S. Laxman. The Indian anger, that had been simmering for fairly a while, boiled over.

The media highlighted the episode and there was a lot anger on the streets again dwelling. With politicians entering into the image, speak of racial discrimination began doing the rounds. The difficulty had snowballed right into a disaster.

Dalmiya needed Denness eliminated as match referee or his rulings stored in abeyance till they had been reviewed by an impartial panel, if the Indian group had been to proceed with its tour. He insisted that his demand was in step with the emotions of the Indian group administration. Nonetheless, the ICC caught to ‘precept’ and spoke about having a algorithm and adhering to them with out making any exceptions. It harassed on Denness’ ‘truthful file’ as match referee and dumped the demand.

The controversy then took a harmful flip. The BCCI, in a transparent act of defying the world physique, and the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA), influenced by monetary issues, determined to get rid of Denness and appointed Denis Lindsay because the match referee for the third Check at Centurion. The ICC moved swiftly. It declared the match ‘unofficial’ and withdrew its panel umpire George Sharpe from the sport.

Looking back it seems that the confrontation might have been averted had Denness spoken in regards to the actual nature of the offences quickly after saying his verdict. For example, it was solely in London that Denness clarified in an unique interview to The Hindu that Tendulkar was not accused of dishonest. As a substitute, Tendulkar was, as was broadly believed, punished for a purely technical offence of failing to tell the umpire earlier than cleansing the ball of grime. A lot of the frenzied and extremely emotional response in India was brought on by the truth that Denness hauled up Tendulkar for choosing the seam.

Equally, it was believed earlier that Denness had acted on his personal. Nonetheless, it grew to become clear later that the umpires had really reported 4 of the gamers to the match referee. It’s being identified that the ICC will do properly to make the match referee extra accessible to the media.

THE incident additionally revealed that India wanted to mature as a sports-loving nation. Indian supporters clearly overreacted. The difficulty was doubtless a extremely charged one, nonetheless there may be no excuse for offended mobs burning effigies of Denness.

The storm on the cricketing horizon following l’affaire Mike Denness also needs to not distract one’s consideration from India’s dismal efficiency in South Africa.

The Indians proceed to stumble after they play exterior the subcontinent and the explanations usually are not troublesome to grasp. A fundamental lack of capacity to deal with the seam motion and the additional bounce of the pitches, coupled with the absence of psychological toughness that may assist lesser gamers overcome technical shortcomings, led to the downfall.

The present Indian group works in matches and begins – an odd good innings right here, a wonderful spell of bowling there, with out displaying consistency, the important thing ingredient in any profitable mixture. Put the Indians in a tricky scenario and they might succumb, as they did within the first Check and the third match of the collection.

The historical past of Indian cricket is replete with tales of wonderful fightbacks, particularly within the 1970s and 1980s, when gamers reminiscent of Sunil Gavaskar, Gundappa Viswanath, Dilip Vengsarkar and Mohinder Amarnath scripted many an important rescue act.

A welter of one-day cricket matches have affected India’s Check probabilities. Indian batsmen are inclined to play too many photographs, and the outcomes have typically been disastrous.

The team-management has not coated itself with glory both. The entire absence of readability of thought, and a bent to hunt short-term choices, proceed to hang-out it. In the course of the South African Check marketing campaign, a number of baffling ‘choices’ had been taken. For example, Rahul Dravid, one of many few Indian batsmen with an impressive ‘away’ file, was promoted to the opening slot for the primary Check at Bloemfontein. A specialist opener was obtainable in Connor Williams and fielding him would have been the proper factor to do. Dravid failed and thus began the collection on a disastrous word. India thus made the worst attainable use of a dedicated performer. The opener’s slot is a specialist one and may by no means have been tampered with. It was solely when Connor Williams walked out with Das that India registered its highest opening partnership of the collection, 92, within the second innings at Centurion Park.

There have been a number of different lapses. India performed Zaheer Khan and Aashish Nehra in Bloemfontein. Nonetheless, when Harbhajan Singh returned after recovering from an harm to determine within the eleven for the second Check at Port Elizabeth, not one left-arm paceman, who might have created a tough for the off-spinner to use, was picked.

Furthermore, it was puzzling when India, with two spinners in its ranks for the second Check – Harbhajan and leg-spinner Anil Kumble – opted to bowl, denying its spinners a chance to function final on the pitch. In brief, the group was self-defeating in its strategies.

On the optimistic aspect, the efficiency of senior quick bowler Javagal Srinath, who grew to become the second Indian paceman after Kapil Dev to scalp 200 Check batsmen (in his 54th Check) when he dismissed Pollock at Bloemfontein, was heartwarming. Though he obtained little assist from fellow pacemen, the Karnataka paceman bowled with nice spirit to supply two five-wicket innings hauls within the collection. He bowled properly inside himself, targeting the ‘hall’, correctly chopping down on short-pitched deliveries.

With skipper Ganguly persevering with to be clueless in opposition to short-pitched bowling by the quicks and V.V.S. Laxman nonetheless not consolidating on begins, a lot relied on Tendulkar and Dravid. Whereas Tendulkar, who crossed 7,000 Check runs in the course of the collection, hit a scorching century in Bloemfontein, Dravid produced a match-saving knock at Port Elizabeth. Nonetheless, consistency eluded each the batting heavyweights.

Among the many kids, Deep Dasgupta confirmed the proper temperament and perspective with the willow, although his wicket-keeping had a protracted solution to go but. And Sehwag? The promising teen made a cracking begin to his Check profession with a strokeful century in Bloemfontein. He was within the eye of a storm days later.

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