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India undecided on tour future despite ICC action

cricket Updated: Jan 08, 2008 14:25 IST
Sanjay Rajan
Sanjay Rajan
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India's cricket board (BCCI) expressed satisfaction at the International Cricket Council's decision to drop umpire Steve Bucknor from the third test but has yet to reach a decision on the future of the Australia tour.

"We are happy that this issue (umpiring) has been resolved, but the working committee will meet tonight (Tuesday) and decide on the future course," board secretary Niranjan Shah told Reuters on Tuesday.

On Monday, the BCCI suspended the tour pending the outcome of an appeal for banned spinner Harbhajan Singh, who was handed a three-test suspension by match referee Mike Procter for racially abusing Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds during the second test in Sydney.

India reacted with anger and disappointment at the series of umpiring blunders that led to their second test defeat as well as the controversial ban on Harbhajan.

The hosts won by 122 runs to equal their own record of 16 consecutive test victories and lead the four-test series 2-0. The third test is scheduled to be played in Perth from Jan. 16.

On Tuesday, the International Cricket Council replaced West Indian Bucknor with Billy Bowden of New Zealand and appointed match referee Ranjan Madugalle to act as mediator in the row between rival captains, Anil Kumble and Ricky Ponting.

The ICC also said Harbhajan may continue to play pending the verdict of his appeal, although a date has yet to be set for the spinner's hearing.

However, the Indian board has categorically stated that Harbhajan had to be absolved of the racist charge and "will fight the blatantly false and unfair slur on an Indian player".

The team had been asked to remain in Sydney until further instructions, vice-president Rajiv Shukla told Indian media.

They were due to travel to Canberra on Monday for a tour match.

"I don't want to comment (on the future of the tour) as of now. If everything turns out fine (committee's decision) the team can still reach (Canberra) in time," Shah said.