November 22, 2001

South Africa and India to go ahead with unofficial Test without Denness

In a move that could have serious repercussions for international cricket, South Africa and India have told the International Cricket Council and match referee Mike Denness that the third Test at SuperSport Park on Friday will go ahead without him.

The South African and Indian boards have instead asked Denis Lindsay to officiate in what seems almost certain to be regarded as an unofficial Test.

Despite negotiations at the highest level over the past two days, the ICC has refused to replace Denness while Denness himself turned down a request to step down voluntarily.

According to a statement from the United Cricket Board,"South African cricket and the South African public in general cannot afford the cancellation of this Test match. Although the crisis has not been of our making, we have received reports of protests at South African embassies in India and our country has been caught up in this issue. The South African Government, through Sports Minister Ngconde Balfour, has instructed the UCBSA to take whatever action is necessary to ensure that the Test match goes ahead."

The UCB also said that chief executive Gerald Majola had telephoned ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed "to inform him that the UCBSA had no alternative but to ask Mr Denness to recuse himself and, facing his refusal to do so, had indicated that the UCBSA was unable to allow him access to the Match Referee's position at the ground for the Test Match."