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India ready to forget Denness episode

June 21, 2003 17:27 IST

India has agreed to "forget" the unpleasant Mike Denness episode for "humanitarian reasons", since the match-referee, whose severe punishments to six Indian players two years ago had brought world cricket on the verge of a split, had recently undergone heart surgery, an ICC spokesman claimed on Saturday.

At a meeting with Board of Control for Cricket in India president Jagmohan Dalmiya, new ICC president Ehsan Mani suggested that the matter be best forgotten since Denness had had heart surgery.

Dalmiya immediately agreed to the suggestion, the spokesman added.

Denness, a former England captain, had created a storm by holding Sachin Tendulkar guilty of ball-tampering and punishing five other Indian cricketers, including captain Sourav Ganguly, for excessive appealing during India's tour of South Africa in 2001.

The worst affected was Virender Sehwag, who was given a one-Test suspension and had to miss out on the first Test of the home series against England later that year.

Furious with the harsh punishments -- especially since excessive appealing by South African cricketers during the same series was not taken note of -- the BCCI had demanded that Denness be removed as match-referee and the decisions overturned.

The resultant furore had threatened to split world cricket on racial lines with nearly all the national boards aligning with one side or the other.

Meanwhile, the ICC has started looking for an amicable settlement of the contracts dispute with India, with an aim towards avoiding a legal recourse, The Times reported.

"Legal solutions are the last resort," Mani was quoted as saying by the newspaper. "If all else fails we can go to arbitration, but I hope we can sort out the problem.

"India has to have contracts with its players in future, like the othe nine Test countries. They are the biggest cricket country in the world, with the greatest potential in all aspects," Mani said.

"India is a problem because their huge television market means that everyone wants to play them as often as possible.

"We have to listen to the players, who say there is too much international cricket, and I am keen to get more former players involved in cricket management."

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