Madugalle invites captains for 'cool-off' session
Ranjan Madugalle, the ICC's chief match referee, has requested Anil Kumble and Ricky Ponting to get together for a "cool-off" session in Perth on Monday. Madugalle has been appointed by the ICC to act as a mediator between the two sides.
The relationship between Australia and India plummeted after Harbhajan Singh was found guilty of making a racist comment to Andrew Symonds on the third day of the Sydney Test and was slapped with a three-Test ban by Mike Procter, the match referee. Brad Hogg, the Australian spinner, was also charged with making an offensive remark to Kumble and Mahendra Singh Dhoni during the second Test and will have his hearing on Monday.
While Kumble stressed the need for both captains to sit down and settle the differences, Ponting did not feel the same way. However, he too has softened his approach and declared that he would ask his team-mates to assemble in Perth and review a "few things they had done during the Sydney Test". Ponting had also mentioned that he was not happy with his own conduct when he stayed put at the crease in the first innings after being given out.
Steve Waugh, the former Australian captain, has offered his services to defuse the situation and act as a peacemaker between India and Australia. A highly respected figure in India due to his cricketing feats as well as charity work, Waugh, however, feels there is no need for such a move right now.
"If they needed that, I would do it," Waugh told the Sun-Herald. "I really don't think it is at that stage, but if it was seen as something that had to be done, yeah, I would do it. I have already spoken to some players from both sides, and I really don't think there is a need [to mediate].
"Anything in sport can be sorted out. It might be nothing more than a few players putting their personal opinions aside and being committed to going forward."