ICC chief sore with Procter for letting off Yuvraj
Mike Procter has invited the ire of Malcolm Speed for not punishing Yuvraj Singh for showing dissent in the Melbourne Test.cricket Updated: Jan 04, 2008 18:10 IST
International Cricket Council (ICC) Match Referee Mike Procter has invited the ire of the world body's chief executive Malcolm Speed for not punishing Indian batsman Yuvraj Singh for showing dissent in the Melbourne Test, The Australian media reported.
Speed's admonition seems to have forced Procter to make a painful confession at a pre-match breakfast in front of 480 guests that he had made the wrong decision by not finding India batsman guilty of dissent during the first Test.
According to a report in The Australian, this admission comes in the wake of quite a few curious and controversial umpiring decisions from England's Mark Benson and veteran West Indian Steve Bucknor, with video umpire Bruce Oxenford also adding to the mix.
The greatest beneficiary of the umpires' lenience was Andrew Symonds who was extremely lucky to survive a very confident caught behind appeal on 30 and a close stumping on 48.
Ricky Ponting had a bit each-way when he was given not out caught down the leg side off a seemingly obvious edge to Sourav Ganguly on 17 before falling to his theatrical nemesis Harbhajan Singh leg before wicket for 55 after a thick edge sent the ball thudding into his pad.
Benson was responsible for both decisions. He also signalled a bye, suggesting Mahendra Singh Dhoni missed a leg-side stumping off Ponting on 31 from Harbhajan, when the ball appeared to deflect from the Australian captain's pad.
Under the terrible precedent set by Procter in Melbourne, neither Ponting nor dismayed Indian teenage fast bowler Ishant Sharma, who kicked the turf in disgust after Symonds' let-off, can possibly face disciplinary action.
Ponting lingered a long time after being given out and was clearly annoyed when he left, although his wait paled when compared to the supreme dummy-spit of Yuvraj after being caught behind in Melbourne.
And Sharma, 19, the replacement for injured spearhead Zaheer Khan, couldn't believe it when Bucknor failed to give out a clear caught behind off Symonds when he was 30.
Sharma finished his celebration at point, only to go into an animated grieving process when he and his dismayed team-mates found Bucknor unmoved.
Oxenford, the anonymous former Queensland leg-spinner chained to a video screen in the stands, was asked to adjudicate on a very tight Symonds stumping on 48 which could have correspondents in other parts of the world claiming it was out.
International Cricket Council chief executive Malcolm Speed was so annoyed by Procter's decision not to penalise Yuvraj that he told the former South African fast bowler he was wrong.
Speed attempted to appeal against the decision, as he has in the past for more serious matters, but found that because dissent is only a level-one offence, the lowest level of misdemeanour, the chief executive has no power to appeal. The maximum a player can be penalised for a level-one offence is 50 percent of his match fee.
A guest of Cricket Australia (CA), Speed refused requests to talk to the media but released a short statement through a CA spokesman.
"The ICC will be writing to all umpires and match referees to ensure they understand the ICC's view on dissent," Speed said.
Given that Procter is one of the longest-serving match referees on the panel, what on earth have they been using for guidelines all these years?
Procter was an on-stage guest at the annual breakfast of leading cricket charity, the Primary Club, where he was asked to explain the Yuvraj decision.
To the surprise of many and consternation of Speed, who was a guest in the audience, Procter gave a convoluted answer explaining that he put too much emphasis on what dissent may mean to players who do not have English as a first language.
Following his bizarre decision last week, Procter released a statement explaining why he had found Yuvraj not guilty of showing dissent at an umpire's decision by action or verbal abuse when he stood his ground after he was given out caught behind off Stuart Clark.
"It was evident that Yuvraj took more time than normal to leave the crease but it was due to the fact that he was shocked at the decision," Procter said.
"At no stage did he show displeasure or dissent at the umpire's decision."
From now on, petulant players will no doubt be lining up to explain their shock at umpiring decisions.