November 26, 2001

Sehwag selection a matter for the ICC and BCCI to resolve, says ECB

Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag
Photo CricInfo

The England and Wales Cricket Board is hoping that the issue of whether Virender Sehwag plays in next week's first Test against England at Mohali can be settled amicably between the International Cricket Council the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

It follows the refusal of India's cricket chief Jagmohan Dalmiya to drop Sehwag from the squad for the Mohali Test. Sehwag was banned for one Test for excessive appealing in the second Test between South Africa and India by match referee Mike Denness.

The ICC has already ruled that Sehwag is not eligible to play in Mohali since the current game in Centurion, which Sehwag has missed, has not been granted official status.

"As far as we are concerned, Sehwag is eligible to play the first Test," Dalmiya told a press conference after an emergency meeting of the BCCI in New Delhi.

"He has served his one-match ban by not playing the ongoing Test against South Africa at Centurion Park.

"The BCCI regards this match as official since it is a five-day match played by the national teams of both countries under the supervision of ICC-recognised umpires."

A spokesman for the ECB responded: "We hope that an amicable solution can be reached by the ICC and the BCCI in this matter. First and foremost, it is an issue for the ICC to resolve."

But the ICC chief executive, Malcolm Speed, later made it clear that his organisation is sticking to its guns.

"The ICC has confirmed the one-match ban served on Virender Sehwag by Mike Denness," he said.

"This means that he is ineligible for selection for the first Test against England starting in Mohali next Monday.

"We have notified this fact to Denis Lindsay, the properly appointed ICC match referee for the series."

As England warmed up in Jaipur for their match against India which starts tomorrow, their captain Nasser Hussain admitted that the furore was affecting his team's preparations.

"There has been far too much comment off the field," said Hussain. "We want to concentrate on on-field matters and the cricket has suffered. It has been a shambles over the last 10 days or so.

"We are a nation that plays to ICC rules and if there is an official Test going on in Mohali we will be there and up for it. If it is an unofficial Test we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

"As players we play cricket and do whatever our authority (the ECB) or the ICC tell us. If the ICC say there is a Test match on in Kathmandu or Mohali we go and play there, that's how the ICC run the game. And I as England captain will take 10 people with me."

The 15-man Indian squad for the first Test will be named in Jaipur on Wednesday. Sehwag's inclusion would not guarantee his selection in the final XI.

Sehwag and five other Indian players were penalised by Denness, a former England captain, for various irregularities during the second Test at Port Elizabeth.

Sehwag, 23 and playing in his second Test, was the only player to be banned. India then refused to play the third Test unless Denness was sacked, which the ICC refused to do. Fearing loss of revenue, the United Cricket Board of South Africa went ahead with the game.

The ICC declared the match unofficial and threatened India with further punishment if it continued to flout the authority of the game's governing body.

"The decisions by Denness were too harsh and biased," said Dalmiya today.

"There is no code of conduct for match referees, like it is for the players, and I hope the ICC will address the matter seriously."