Team to stay in Sydney until BCCI response on tour
Meanwhile, ICC has withdrawn umpire Steve Bucknor from the third Test slated to be played in Perth, say sources.Updated: Jan 07, 2008 14:05 IST
The India cricket team will stay overnight in Sydney. Assistant Media Manager MV Sridhar told media in Sydney that the team has decided to stay overnight, pending an official statement on the tour.
The team's bus is parked near the hotel here and the players are waiting for a final word from the BCCI as to whether their Australia tour will continue or not. The players are furious about the events of the past few days, especially the racism charges on Harbhajan Singh and the three-match ban handed to the off-spinner on Sunday night.
The emergency team meeting this morning did not include the coach, the support staff or managers. The players wanted to talk about the dramatic events of Sunday night and reach a consensus on what their plan of action would be.
Most of the players were asleep by the time Anil Kumble, Harbhajan and Sachin Tendulkar returned to the team hotel after the hearing at 2:30 am local time. Many of them woke up to the news that Harbhajan was banned for three matches on racism charges. There was shock and disbelief write large on their faces as they gathered in the hotel lobby.
The team was supposed to leave by road by 10:30 am, but the time came and went. Even as their wives and families, among other people, waited in the lobby, the players had their “Council of War” in a room leading off the main lobby.
The players are waiting for a detailed written order from the match referee on what exactly all the racism charges were. A senior player told Hindustan Times in the hotel lobby: “After the initial heat of the moment when emotions were running high, we decided we would wait ad see what exactly the statement from the match referee was.”
He said that at this point, from what they gathered, the tour is likely to continue, but they were waiting to hear about certain conditions they had asked for. “In any case,” he said, “the decision whether tours will continue or not is not up to us, since the repercussions are bigger than cricket or this tour. The players are keen to play cricket because we want to play fair and square, and once things settle down in the next few days, we can go back to the game itself.”
Meanwhile in Melbourne, Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland said that Ricky Ponting and Anil Kumble will have to sit together to sort out all the issues. He said that he was waiting for an official BCCI statement about the tour.