The ICC has backed Andrew Strauss and the umpires in the runner controversy with Graeme Smith, saying they followed the laws of the game. Smith suffered cramps when he was on 124 with South Africa needing another 69 from 36 balls to stay in the ICC Champions Trophy and requested for a runner but Strauss declined it.
"He [Smith] asked for a runner and the umpires took the view that cramp is a symptom of fatigue," an ICC spokesperson was quoted as saying by PA. "Being tired does not qualify batsmen for a runner under the laws of the game. That is the way it will be interpreted by the umpires for the rest of the tournament."
As per the ODI playing conditions, substitutes will "only be permitted in cases of injury, illness or other wholly acceptable reasons. 'Wholly acceptable reasons' should be limited to extreme circumstances and should not include what is commonly referred to as a 'comfort break'."
Smith was unhappy with Strauss's decision which he said was inconsistent since batsmen have been allowed runners for cramps on previous occasions. However, Strauss defended his move, saying the umpires were also not keen to comply with Smith's request.