The International Cricket Council has turned down India's request to replace Mike Denness as match referee for the third and final Test match betwen South Africa and India. The request from the Board of Control for Cricket in India followed penalties imposed by Denness during the second Test at Port Elizabeth.
Denness fined and imposed a suspended ban on India's Sachin Tendulkar for ball-tampering, after TV evidence showed him using a fingernail on the seam of the ball.
The ICC Chief Executive, Malcolm Speed, said: "We have received and are currently considering a written complaint from the BCCI regarding the
actions of Mike Denness during the recent India v South Africa Test match.
"Mike Denness is a former Test captain and a very experienced match referee.
During his time refereeing Test and one-day international matches his record
has been one of fairness and consistency. On the previous 9 occasions where
Mike Denness has acted as referee for a match involving India, no Indian
players have been reported or penalised."
"The BCCI has requested that another match referee be appointed to officiate in the third Test. However, given that the ICC is satisfied that all procedures have been adhered to, we cannot agree to this request."
It remains to be seen whether the final Test at Centurion, which is due to start on Friday, will now go ahead. In demanding Denness's replacement, the BCCI president, Jagmohan Dalmiya, indicated that several of India's players wished to pull out of the series.
Tendulkar was fined 75% of his match fee and handed a one-match ban, suspended until the end of this year, while five of his team-mates were also punished.
The most severe penalty was handed to Virender Sehwag, who was banned for the next Test and fined 75% of his match fee for excessive appealing. Shiv Sunder Das, Harbhajan Singh and Deep Dasgupta were fined the same amount and given suspended single-match bans for the same offence.
India captain Sourav Ganguly was given a suspended ban for one Test and two one-day international games for failing to exercise control over his team-mates.
The ICC President, Malcolm Gray, said: "The ICC is concerned about standards of on-field behaviour of players and has asked umpires and referees to take a stronger stance in respect of charging offending players and imposing appropriate penalties. This initiative has the strong support of all members of the ICC Executive Board.
"If any member country of the ICC is concerned about the processes that have
been in place for many years, the proper way of dealing with this is to raise it as an issue at the next meeting of the Executive Board."
There is no doubt that he can expect an extra item on the forthcoming agenda as a result of the events of the past two days.