‘ICC shouldn’t let BCCI run the game’

Sydney: The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) threat to pull out of the ongoing tour is a “veiled form of blackmail” and the International Cricket Council (ICC) should not succumb to the Indian Board and let it usurp the Governing body’s role, the Australian media said on Tuesday.

Cricket writers here felt the Indian team’s grievances against controversial umpire Steve Bucknor may be “genuine” but their threat to pull out should be given the “harsh response it deserves.”

“India’s threat to boycott the Australian tour has come down to a battle of who runs cricket — India or the ICC,” Robert Craddock wrote in The Daily Telegraph.

“If the ICC buckles and overturns the Harbhajan verdict because of Indian pressure, it may as well shut its doors in Dubai and cease to exist,” he said.

“If the ICC feels Harbhajan was worth suspending, it must not crumble in the face of a sub-continental blackmail from the World’s most powerful cricket nation,” it said.

He, however, sympathised with India’s “genuine” grievances against umpire Steve Bucknor, who has been replaced by New Zealand’s Billy Bowden for the third Test in Perth.

“India wants Steve Bucknor sacked from the next Test in Perth and so he should be. Every grievance India has against him is genuine.

“But India’s suspension of the tour while it waits for an appeal on the suspension of Harbhajan Singh is a veiled form of blackmail and must be treated with the harsh response it deserves,” he said.

“If the Harbhajan verdict stands — as it should — and India abandons the tour, then so be it. Their nation will be in disgrace, its team retreating as men who cowered in the face of substantial adversity,” he said.

“Racism is always a difficult issue, but this case is exacerbated by the nationality of the accusers,” Peter Lalor wrote in The Australian.

“The sore is running again. The racism and cultural hostilities that marred Australia’s one-day series in India last October have infected the Test series and taken the focus from what was a great sporting contest,” he said.

India failed

Lalor also alleged that India had failed to address racism in its society and recalled the Vadodra ODI during Australia’s tour of India in October last year.

“Andrew Symonds fielded near the fence in front of a hostile section of the crowd, who began to make monkey chants. When asked why they were doing it, one replied: ‘He looks like a monkey,”’ he recalled.

Writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, Greg Baum criticised Anil Kumble for his comment that only one team played the Sydney Test in the true spirit of the game. — PTI