August 08, 2020
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"I Concede Match Referees Have Been Inconsistent"

ICC president Malcolm Gray talks to Manu Joseph

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"I Concede Match Referees Have Been Inconsistent"
There is a feeling that Indians are targeted by match referees.
I can confidently say Indians are not being targeted.

But men like Mike Denness force one to ask whether cricket is still a white man’s game.
I can accuse you of racism, can’t I? No I don’t think that fear is well-founded.

How can a Michael Slater or Glen McGrath get away with clear breaches of the conduct code and Indians get the stick for lesser offences?
I concede that officials have been inconsistent in the past. There’s always a problem when penalties are imposed on some players and not on others. But no particular nation is being victimised.

Have you seen the footage where Sachin allegedly tampers with the ball? It doesn’t matter what I think of it. What matters is that the match referee has taken a decision.

Do you think the ICC’s rules about ‘excessive appealing’ shows that it is not in tune with the spirit of contemporary sports?
Community behaviour and, as a result, the behaviour of sportsmen has deteriorated over the years. Other sports like tennis and soccer have been faster than cricket to recognise this trend and contain it. A McEnroe could not have survived today. In soccer the referee flashes the yellow card at the slightest dissent. But cricket has been slow in recognising and containing player behaviour. There is an effort within the ICC to put things right.

Since Indians have brought money into the game, is there resentment in certain quarters which leads to a lot of Indians being unfairly pulled up by referees?
Yes, in recent years India has certainly proved to be a financial powerhouse. But that doesn’t make any difference. India cannot be respected more or less than any other nation that plays cricket.

Isn’t it unfair that the referee has the power to defame someone like Tendulkar and the latter cannot even utter a word about it?
The law is common to all the players and no exceptions can be made no matter how great the player is.

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