CRICKET: Relief as India Back Down on Sehwag Issue

Article excerpt

PEACE may have been declared in the cricket wars to save India's forthcoming Test series against England but the arguments are expected to rumble on.

It may seem ludicrous that the upholding of one man's one-match suspension could not only threaten a series but also cast a shadow over the whole future of international cricket.

But there were huge sighs of relief around the cricket world when India finally backed down in the face of the International Cricket Council's steadfast determination to uphold the rule of law and order on the field even if it meant anarchy off it.

The ICC insisted all along that there was no way Virender Sehwag would be allowed to escape his one-match ban imposed by Test referee Mike Denness even though negotiations ended with them agreeing to appoint a commission to look at every aspect of the refereeing of international cricket in order to sustain it.

Malcolm Speed, chief executive of the ICC, stressed that no-one should underestimate just how close international cricket came to a catastrophic split in the row with the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

And there are, he accepts, rifts that will take time to heal.

"I expect that is the case. There were strong emotions and there was a strong feeling of resentment among many people in India. It falls on people across the cricket world to heal these rifts," he said.

Malcolm Grace, the ICC president, was prepared to fly from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur for talks with Jagmohan Dalmiya, president of the BCCI, and Speed, who would have jetted from Delhi and London respectively.

But in the end they stayed on the end of their telephones and proved that it is good to talk.

"We felt we could make more progress on the phone than lose the time we would be sitting on aeroplanes," said Speed. …