Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli (2nd L) speaks to the umpire as Australia's captain Steven Smith (R) walks off the ground.(REUTERS)
Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli (2nd L) speaks to the umpire as Australia's captain Steven Smith (R) walks off the ground.(REUTERS)

DRS fiasco in Bangalore Test relives India’s problems with match referees

The inaction over the DRS fiasco involving Australia skipper Steven Smith in the Bangalore Test is not the first instance India have had run-ins with match referees.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Siddharth Vishwanathan
UPDATED ON MAR 12, 2017 07:09 PM IST

The Bangalore Test between India and Australia witnessed a flare-up over DRS. Australia skipper Steve Smith sought the Australian dressing room’s help to decide whether he should review his leg before dismissal, on a suggestion by batting partner Peter Handscomb. Smith later admitted he should not have done that, while it angered Virat Kohli.

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Following the victory, Kohli stated that Australia had tried to take help from the dressing room in two previous instances as well. The BCCI lodged a complaint with the ICC contending that Smith and Handscomb had violated the spirit of cricket. The Indian board, which had initially urged the ICC to ‘take cognizance’ of Smith publicly admitting he was wrong, later withdrew its complaint.

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The Indian cricket management was perplexed when no action was taken at the outset. ICC match referee, Chris Broad, was instead quoted by the Australian media as saying that Smith’s was the only incident by Australia over DRS. Writing in a newspaper column, former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar said India will not have much faith in Broad after the incident was swept under the carpet.

Former West Indies skipper, Richie Richardson, will be the match referee for the third Test, starting in Ranchi on Thursday.

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Although Virat Kohli mentioned at a media conference after the Bangalore Test that the umpires as well as the ICC match referee had been informed about Australia’s DRS infringements, neither the team management nor the BCCI made any statements against Broad.

However, if India feel aggrieved with Broad, there has hardly been a murmur. But some past instances involving India and match referees have not been quiet affairs.

Mike Denness affair, India vs South Africa, Port Elizabeth 2001

After the fourth day’s play in the Port Elizabeth Test between India and South Africa, match referee Mike Denness charged Sachin Tendulkar with ball-tampering and fined six other Indian players. Virender Sehwag was banned for a game. In punishing players from one team, Denness was accused of racism.

The ICC was accused of bias as it backed the former England skipper. Then BCCI president, Jagmohan Dalmiya, demanded the removal of Denness, leading to a stand-off with the ICC. The BCCI and CSA removed Denness for the third match in Centurion, but the ICC stripped it of Test status and ensured Sehwag sat out an official game, the first home Test against England which followed.

Clive Lloyd, India vs Zimbabwe, Brisbane 2004

During the VB Tri-series encounter between India and Zimbabwe at the Gabba, match referee Clive Lloyd fined Rahul Dravid 50 percent of his match fee after he was found guilty of ball-tampering. Dravid was caught on TV rubbing the shiny side of the white ball with a cough lozenge and this was reported by umpire Peter Parker.

Sourav Ganguly, who was the Indian cricket team captain, maintained it was an accident and not ball-tampering. However, Lloyd maintained that Dravid deliberately tried to change the condition of the ball.

Mike Proctor, India vs Australia, Sydney 2007

The Test was marred by an incident which involved Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds. The off-spinner was accused of calling Symonds a monkey on the field. The on-field umpires did not hear it but Australian skipper Ricky Ponting reported the matter to the umpires.

Proctor held a hearing and banned Harbhajan for three matches for making a racial comment. The Indian team management threatened to call off the tour, and appealed the ban. New Zealand judge, John Hansen, the appeals commissioner, found Harbhajan guilty only of abusive language and let him off with a fine and the tour continued. Proctor quit as match referee.

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