Australia v India 2007-08 / News

India in Australia 2007-08

ICC president-elect concerned over Gavaskar

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan in Perth

January 21, 2008

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How can Sunil Gavaskar (pictured) juggle both hats properly, David Morgan wonders © Getty Images
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David Morgan, the president-elect of the ICC, has voiced his concern over Sunil Gavaskar's recent critical comments on Mike Procter. Gavaskar, the former Indian captain and the chairman of the ICC's cricket committee, had come down hard on Procter after the decision to hand Harbhajan Singh a three-match ban.

"Conflicts of interests pervade our sport. In terms of Gavaskar, within the ICC, there is a concern now that he's chairman of the cricket committee and a journalist who has expressed some fairly outspoken comments," Morgan said in Perth, while on a business visit.

"But that would be dealt with by David Richardson of the ICC. In all walks of life and business, you have people operating with conflicts of interests. All boards have a policy for conflicts. When people come to the board table they leave their other baggage at the door."

Morgan was happy to have witnessed a "terrific Test", especially after the tumultuous week that preceded it. He said the Sydney fiasco had offered several lessons, mainly with regard to umpiring and technology.

"Once we have fool-proof technology we should trial it," he said, looking ahead. "We need to see technology improved and find a way to embrace it. I think referral system with improved technology is the way to go, as long as it doesn't take away the authority of the umpires."

He said the ICC would back Steve Bucknor, but revealed that the decision to replace him was not related to the protest made by the Indian side. "The decision to replace Bucknor was not the result from any protest from one of the participating teams," he said. "There was a protest but the decision wasn't a result of the process."

Would this be a precedent for other umpires to be replaced too? "I don't believe that a precedent is being set. I believe we have acted in the best interest of the game and the best interest of Bucknor. He's our longest serving umpire and our best umpire. I'm sure he will be back."

Bucknor himself said that he would like to continue for another year, if his contract is extended in March, but no more. "I am scheduled to go to Bangladesh, where they will play South Africa, in another four weeks," Bucknor, speaking from Jamaica, told CANA. "I am in reasonably good physical condition.

"I think I am seeing reasonable well, so I will go on until I think it is necessary. I can't stop anybody's opinion. I would not wish to go on beyond another year. If I am asked to go on for another year, I would accept, but not beyond."

Morgan agreed that the volume of cricket was a concern but said that it was up to the member boards to come to an agreement. "The ICC doesn't drive the volume of cricket, the member boards do," Morgan said. "Volume of cricket is a concern, sometimes exaggerated.

"When England play Australia all that is needed as far as ICC is concerned is a two-match series, twice in six years. If we operated to that from a business point of view, it would be commercially suicidal. So it's a fact and minds [between the two concerned boards] need to be engaged about it."

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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