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ICC apologises but culprits go scot-free

cricket Updated: May 01, 2007 02:19 IST

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International Cricket Council chief executive Malcolm Speed has apologised for the farcical end to Saturday's Cup final but ruled out blacklisting the erring officials.

"It was an unnecessary error, a fundamental error. It was made under difficult circumstances at the end of the match. It was unfortunate, a very sad way to finish the World Cup. I hope we can recall the great day's cricket we had before this very unfortunate ending," Speed told reporters at the Kensington Oval on Sunday.

Flanked by ICC general manager David Richardson, Speed said, "David and I are here today on behalf of ICC to say to the wider stakeholders of the game that we too are very sorry this incident occurred at the end of what had been an outstanding day of cricket."

In the rain-marred final, on-field umpires Steve Bucknor and Aleem Dar overlooked the fact that, once 20 overs had been bowled in both innings, a result should have been declared under the Duckworth/Lewis method. Instead, they made the teams return to play another three overs in semi-darkness. Despite the goof-up Speed, however, ruled out an immediate censure for the playing-control unit, which also included third umpire Rudy Koertzen, reserve official Billy Bowden and match referee Jeff Crowe.

"They certainly do have a future in the game. We are not going to over-react to this. They had earned the right to umpire in the World Cup final because they are outstanding umpires and an outstanding referee. I saw Jeff Crowe this morning, he came up to me and said 'I am very sorry about yesterday, we are all very sorry about yesterday, it shouldn't have happened'," Speed said.

Richardson also had no explanation for the gaffe. "We've tried to come up with an explanation and we can't. We've spoken to them (the officials) and they are at a loss to try to explain," he said. Crowe revealed that Koertzen had initiated the confusion which led to the fiasco and Richardson said, "I think that's quite correct. Malcolm has said we are not going to over-react but we are going to take it very seriously and look at how it could have happened."

Speed, meanwhile, refused to compare it to last year's Oval Test embarrassment. "After the Oval issue, there was a very comprehensive review of all match officials who had been involved in that incident. We will go through a similar process here," Speed said. Amid the chaos, however, he found a silver lining in the fact that the World Cup had left a legacy of new grounds across the Caribbean. He also welcomed the idea of hosting other sports in the venues to make them financially viable. "Whether it's baseball or soccer, that's fine as long as it is available to cricket when cricket needs it," he said.