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Bad umpiring, racism row... India bristles

India reacts with anger and disappointment at the standard of umpiring in Sydney Test, accusing the hosts of poor sportmanship.

cricket Updated: Jan 08, 2008 01:51 IST

India has reacted with anger and disappointment at the standard of umpiring in Australia's second Test victory, with the nation's greatest all-rounder Kapil Dev accusing the hosts of failing to show a sporting spirit.

Indian newspapers were awash with stories blaming Sunday's 122-run loss in Sydney to umpiring blunders and a controversy surrounding racial abuse by India spinner Harbhajan Singh, who was subsequently banned for three test matches.

"Umpires beat India, ICC bans Bhajji," screamed the headline in Hindustan Times on Monday, referring to the punishment handed out to Harbhajan, who has denied any wrongdoing.

"Umps give Oz 2-0 lead, Bhajji gets 3-Test ban," said a frontpage headline of another national daily.

Former India players were united in critising umpires Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson whose mistakes, they said, helped Australia equal their own record of 16 consecutive test victories.

Captain Anil Kumble said after Australia's amazing victory, achieved when part-time spinner Michael Clarke took three wickets in the penultimate over, that he was upset at the refusal of their batsmen to walk when they were clearly out.

The genial leg spinner had also bristled when asked about some of Australia's appeals after Rahul Dravid was controversially given out, caught behind on the last day when his bat appeared to make no contact with the ball.

"What Anil is saying is that they (Australians) should not preach what they do not practice," former skipper Dev told Reuters on Monday.

"These days nobody walks but the Australians claim they usually do that. I don't think so. The umpiring was poor as the whole world knows."

Adding fuel to fire has been Harbhajan's ban for racially abusing Andrew Symonds, the only black member of the Australia team, who also complained of racism during an acrimonious one-day series in India in October.

On Monday, India's cricket board called the bowler's ban "patently unfair" and raised doubts on the future of the Australia tour.

Appeal filed against ban

Raising the stakes, a furious BCCI on Monday filed an appeal with the ICC against the three-match ban slapped on off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and asked the Indian team to stay put in Sydney as part of pressure tactics to get its case heard.

Angry over the ban and calling it "unfair and unacceptable", an emergency meeting of the Board decided to fight out the issue with the Australians and the umpires who had done India in the second Test which went in favour of the home team.

Arun Jaitley, a senior Board office-bearer and a well-known lawyer drafted the complaint against Match Referee Mike Procter's ban decision on the ground Harbhajan had racially abused Andrew Symonds and filed it with the international body within 24 hours of the decision as required under rules.

Parellelly it asked the Indian team to stay put in Sydney and not go to Canberra where a two-day practice match is scheduled from Thursday.

After the late night punishment handed out by Procter, a furious BCCI President Sharad Pawar called an emergency meeting at his residence in Delhi this morning where all options including pulling out of the series were said to have been considered.

At the meeting, it was decided to appeal against Procter's order and ask the ICC to suspend the order till the final disposal of the appeal.