|Player:||RS Madugalle, SA Bucknor, BF Bowden, Asad Rauf, MR Benson, Harbhajan Singh, A Symonds|
|Event:||India in Australia 2007/08|
DateLine: 8th January 2008
ICC Chief Referee Ranjan Madugalle to be brought in as facilitator; Steve Bucknor replaced for Perth match; Robust Code of Conduct process will run its full course
The International Cricket Council today announced steps aimed at facilitating the smooth running of the remainder of the Test series between Australia and India.
It has decided to replace Steve Bucknor with Billy Bowden for the third Test, which is scheduled to start in Perth on 16 January, and to bring in ICC Chief Referee Ranjan Madugalle to assist in ensuring the match is played in the best possible spirit.
The decision was made in the interests of giving the series a fresh start following instances of ill-feeling between the teams and some on-field umpiring errors that have been made in the series so far. It is also designed to create an environment whereby the match can be played without undue attention and added pressure being heaped on the match officials.
As such, Bucknor will be replaced by Billy Bowden of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires. Bowden will stand alongside Asad Rauf, also of the Elite Panel, who had always been appointed to this game.
The fourth and final Test at Adelaide, which starts on 24 January, will be umpired by Bowden and Rauf, as per the original appointments.
Meanwhile, Madugalle has been asked to travel to Perth in order to assist the Match Referee and the two captains in re-establishing an atmosphere of goodwill and mutual respect between the two teams.
ICC Match Referee Mike Procter will continue to oversee the remainder of the series as planned.
“It is accepted that Steve, and his on-field colleague Mark Benson, did not have good games by their very high standards and we feel that given the added pressure and attention Steve’s presence would have at the third Test, it is better for the match and for Steve himself if he does not take part,” said ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed.
“It is important to stress that Steve has not been replaced due to any representations made by any team or individuals. The ICC remains the sole body responsible for the appointment of umpires and no team has the right to object to any appointment. The decision by the ICC to replace Steve for this match was made in the best interests of the game and the series,” said Mr Speed.
“We are bringing Ranjan in as a facilitator in an effort to prevent any ill-feeling that may have been present at the Sydney Test from rolling over to Perth. Ranjan is our chief referee and a highly respected figure within the game. He will remind the captains and other players of their responsibilities to conduct themselves in line with the Spirit of Cricket,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ICC has also confirmed that it has received official notification from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) of its appeal against the finding that India spinner Harbhajan Singh was guilty of making a racist remark to Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds.
In due course, the ICC will appoint a Code of Conduct Commissioner to hear the appeal. Once the Commissioner has been named details of when and where the appeal hearing is to take place will be released.
In the mean time, according to the Code of Conduct regulations, Harbhajan may continue to play pending verdict of the appeal being given.
“The ICC has a robust process of dealing with Code of Conduct issues and that process will now run its natural course,” said Mr Speed.