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ICC seeks explanation

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International Cricket Council CEO Haroon Lorgat at the media briefing in New Delhi on Monday.
International Cricket Council CEO Haroon Lorgat at the media briefing in New Delhi on Monday.

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has sought an explanation from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on the Ferozeshah Kotla pitch fiasco. The One-Day International between India and Sri Lanka was abandoned on Sunday due to ‘dangerous’ pitch conditions.

Confirming that the communication was sent to the BCCI on Monday morning, ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat said, “The BCCI has 14 days to respond to the Match Referee’s report. Once we have received the BCCI response, Chief Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle and ICC General Manager (Cricket) Dav Richardson will review the report and determine appropriate action.

“I would not like to speculate on the issue. The process must continue and I don’t want to pre-empt justice,” he added.

Mr. Lorgat said, “It is very unfortunate to explain the process. In such cases, the first thing is for the Match Referee (Alan Hurst) to file a report on the pitch and the outfield. This is standard process for all international matches — Test, ODI or Twenty20.

“When we receive that report, which we have in this case, we write back to the host board in five days and I can share that we have written to BCCI this morning.”

The ICC chief agreed there was need to take stern measures to avoid such happenings in the future. “We did toughen our stand after the event in Antigua. If yesterday’s incident in Delhi warrants sanction, we will abide by that.”

The England-West Indies Test match at Antigua in February this year was abandoned after 10 balls due to dangerous run-ups for the bowlers.

Mr. Lorgat did not agree that the quality of most pitches in India was sub-standard. “It’s a very general statement to say that pitches in India are sub-standard and my answer to that is ‘no’. Yesterday was a bad example but generally speaking India has got quality pitches.”

Whereabouts clause

When asked about the stand on the whereabouts clause, Mr. Lorgat said, “withdrawing from WADA is not an option. The current status is that it’s a work in progress and we are working with key member boards like India to resolve the practical problem of ‘whereabouts’ of the players.

“Meanwhile, testing, both in and out of competition would continue.”

On India playing few Tests, the ICC chief said, “We would want to see an appropriate balance of Test, one-day and Twenty20 cricket. That is our guideline but the specific scheduling rests with the member boards. We would like them to be responsible enough to strike the right balance.”

Mr. Lorgat added, “It’s the responsibility of the member boards to schedule bilateral series. I learnt that initially (during South Africa’s forthcoming visit to India) no Test had been scheduled but they will now play a two-Test series. That’s the best that can be done in the current scenario.”

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