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November 22, 2001
The United Cricket Board of South Africa has been placed in an extremely difficult position regarding the staging of the third Castle Lager/MTN Test match at SuperSport Park, Centurion, from tomorrow.
"We were informed this morning by the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Mr Jagmohan Dalmiya, that the Indian team will not take the field if Mike Denness is acting as Match Referee," said UCBSA Chief Executive Officer Gerald Majola.
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.
In view of these issues, the UCBSA has asked Mike Denness to stand down as Match Referee in the interests of cricket.
However, Mr Denness indicated that he was a properly appointed ICC Match Referee who was in South Africa to act as such and he could not step down from that position.
United Cricket Board Chief Executive Officer Gerald Majola telephoned ICC CEO 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.
Under the circumstances, South African Denis Lindsay, who serves on the ICC Match Referees Panel, has agreed to be available to stand in as Match Referee and the BCCI has agreed to him replacing Mr Denness.
"We sincerely regret that the matter has come to this, however we are pleased to announce that the third Castle Lager / MTN Test match will go ahead as planned. We are certain it will be a thrilling contest and we hope the South African public will give their full support to their team as they go all out to play for their country," concluded Mr Majola.
© United Cricket Board of South Africa