ICC moves to douse fire
Cricket's governing body on Wednesday took pre-emptive steps to
ensure the upcoming Test series between India and Australia is free from
acrimony and bitterness.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) kept umpires Steve Bucknor
and Mark Benson off the roster for the eagerly awaited four-match series
starting in Bangalore on October 9.
The duo officiated in the ill-tempered Sydney Test between the two
nations earlier this year that almost saw India pulling out of the
series after a string of controversial decisions.
An angry India agreed to continue the tour only after the ICC
pacified them by standing down West Indian Bucknor from the subsequent
Perth Test, which he was due to officiate.
England's Benson had not been named for the rest of the series.
Rudi Koertzen of South Africa and Asad Rauf of Pakistan will umpire
the first two Tests in Bangalore and Mohali, while New Zealand's Billy
Bowden will join Pakistani Aleem Dar for the other two in New Delhi and
Former England batsman Chris Broad will be the match referee for the
entire series, which ends on November 10.
The Sydney Test ended a pre-series agreement that the fielder's word
will be taken for disputed catches and Australian captain Ricky Ponting
was unsure it will be in place for the current tour. "I will have a
think about it over the next couple of days and see if I think it is the
right idea to bring it up again," Ponting, in Hyderabad for the four-day
tour opener from Thursday, said.
He stressed that Indian captain Anil Kumble had ended the agreement
after Sydney and could oppose it again.
Australia, the world's number one side, are hoping to retain the
Border-Gavaskar Trophy they won by identical 2-1 margins in the last two
series in 2004 and earlier this year.