When Dalmiya-Ganguly did all the talking | cricket | Hindustan Times
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When Dalmiya-Ganguly did all the talking

Former stumper Deep Dasgupta recalls how the Dalmiya-Ganguly combine did all the talking with the ICC during the infamous Mike Denness controversy in 2001.

cricket Updated: Jan 08, 2008 12:27 IST

When the infamous Mike Denness controversy erupted during an India-South Africa Test in Port Elizabeth in 2001, the Dalmiya-Ganguly combine did all the talking with the International Cricket Council (ICC), recalled former stumper Deep Dasgupta, one of the six played banned for various reasons.

"The BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket India) backed us wholeheartedly. They asked us to focus on the match and leave everything else to them," Dasgupta told IANS in Kolkata.

"The team management had told us that Dalmiya had called up and said that he was not giving in without a fight. Sourav Ganguly, who was the captain then, also backed the players. Sourav did all the talking in front of the committee and a lot of pressure off us," recalled the Bengal wicketkeeper, who played eight Tests and five One-Day Internationals.

Dasgupta also wanted the present Sharad Pawar-led BCCI dispensation to put its foot down and deal with the issues with an iron hand.

In Port Elizabeth, ICC match referee Mike Denness had banned Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Deep Dasgupta, Shiv Sunder Das and Sourav Ganguly for ball tampering, dissent at the umpire's decision and attempting to intimidate the Umpire by charging, use of crude or abusive language, and not living up to the 'Spirit of the Game', including bringing the game into disrepute.

What ensued was long and complicated exchange of correspondence and media comments from the BCCI, the ICC and the United Cricket Board of South Africa.

Eventually, the third Test scheduled in Centurion was annulled by the ICC after the UCBSA supported BCCI. The two boards made it clear to Denness that he would not be allowed to officiate as a referee in Centurion and appointed another referee. But the ICC did not agree and the series was limited to only two Tests.

Sehwag, who had made his Test debut in the first Test AT Bloemfontein along with Dasgupta, ended up missing the third Test as well as India's next Test, against England in Mohali, because of the one-match ban by the ICC.