ICC match referee to meet Ponting and Kumble in Perth January 10, 2008

Madugalle confident of defusing crisis

Cricinfo staff



Ranjan Madugalle has his task cut out as he prepares to mediate between Ricky Ponting and Anil Kumble © Getty Images
 
Ranjan Madugalle, the ICC match referee who has been appointed as a mediator to ensure good on-field relations between Australia and India, is confident he will succeed in his brief.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Madugalle said rival captains Ricky Ponting and Anil Kumble will be keen to sort out their differences. "Each one realises cricket is everyone's passion and they will stretch that little bit extra to uphold the spirit of the game."

Madugalle has a tough task at hand as the relationship between the teams plummeted after the Sydney Test, with Harbhajan Singh being banned for three Tests by Mike Procter, the match referee, for alleged racial abuse. Following the ban, the Indian board filed an appeal, and the team management charged Brad Hogg with making an abusive remark to Kumble and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

"I have an open briefing to get things back on track," said Madugalle. "I will try and go about things quietly and do as much as I can without making too much noise about it. We'll see at the end of the five days [of the Perth Test] if it has worked. But I am optimistic that everyone wants to do the right thing by the game."

Madugalle, who will arrive in Perth on Saturday will meet officials from Cricket Australia to set a date and time for a meeting with Kumble and Ponting. "It is important we work through this, and I am sure they understand that."

Harbhajan's appeal will be heard by New Zealand High Court judge John Hansen, while the date for the preliminary hearing for Hogg, who was charged with committing a Level 3 offence [which invites a ban of between two and four Test matches] as part of the ICC's Code of Conduct regulations, has been set for January 14.