Cricket: ICC cave in 'ridiculous' - McGrath

SYDNEY - Australian test great Glenn McGrath says it is "ridiculous" the International Cricket Council caved into the Indian cricket board's request to dump Steve Bucknor from next week's third Test in Perth.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today confirmed Anil Kumble's side would continue their tour of Australia following a meeting of its working committee in New Delhi, but added the threat to pull out remained if the ICC rejected the appeal against Harbhajan Singh's three-match ban for racial abuse.

The move came after the ICC yesterday acceded to India's demand of standing down Bucknor from the third Test, and following confirmation that Australian spinner Brad Hogg had been charged with using abusive language during the second Test.

Bucknor will be replaced by New Zealand's Billy Bowden, who will officiate in Perth with Pakistan's Asad Rauf Benson was not scheduled to umpire at the WACA Ground.

McGrath called on the sport's governing body to show some leadership after removing Jamaican Bucknor from the Australia-India series following his appalling performance in the recently-completed Sydney Test.

"I think it is sad and disappointing that it gets to the stage where you have a bad game and they are calling for your head," McGrath said after playing a farewell Twenty20 match for NSW last night in Sydney.

"What is there, eight international umpires on the panel?

"And if a couple of teams aren't happy with umpires then all of a sudden you have got one to choose from.

"I think that (it) is ridiculous, that is why we have the ICC to control things rather than individual countries."

The ICC currently lists 10 umpires on its elite panel but that includes Darrell Hair, who has not presided over a game since the The Oval Test in August 2006.

Pakistan forfeited the match to England after walking off the ground in protest at Hall's ball tampering ruling and Pakistan then voiced their opposition to his place,

ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed told a press conference in Melbourne yesterday that Bucknor's "presence had become an issue".

Although ICC rules dictate countries cannot determine which umpires officiate their matches, the governing body adhered to India's demand to ensure the series would go ahead.

Speed said the ICC could have refused India's demand, but wanted to alleviate the tension from the situation to ensure there was a third Test.

McGrath thought the chain of events following the completion of the SCG Test on Sunday had been "unbelievable" and was disappointed they had overshadowed Australia's dramatic win.

In announcing the tour would continue, the BCCI have laid the condition that Harbhajan should eventually be cleared of the racial abuse charge and have a three-match ban dropped.

The ICC will appoint a Code of Conduct commissioner to adjudicate on India's appeal, with Harbhajan allowed to continue playing until the commissioner, who has yet to be named, had completed his inquiry.

The ICC have set a preliminary date of Monday -- two days before the Perth Test -- for Hogg's hearing with match referee Mike Procter after the spinner was charged with a Level 3 offence for making an offensive remark -- allegedly "bastard" -- to India captain Anil Kumble and vice-captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni during the second Test.

He faces a two to four Test ban if found guilty.

World reacts to Bucknor ruling

Legendary English umpire Dickie Bird believes Steve Bucknor has "gone on too long" and that it is now time for him to retire from international cricket.

Bucknor has stood in a world record 120 tests but Bird believes age has finally caught up with the Jamaican, one of the officials whose failure to correctly interpret bad light rules led to the farcical finish in darkness of April's World Cup final in Barbados.

"When you get to that age ... well & I have said to Steve, 'Don't go on too long, get out while you are still respected'. I think he has gone on too long," added Bird, who retired from the international game in 1996, having stood in a then record 66 tests, told Sky Sports on Monday.

West Indies manager Clive Lloyd have criticised the decision to remove umpire Steve Bucknor for the third test between Australia and India.

"That's just silly, you can't do that," former ICC match referee Lloyd told a news conference on Tuesday. "Does that mean when anybody says they don't want a particular umpire we're going to move them?

"The ICC is wrong... it's a bad decision. What happens if a couple of other umpires make a mistake? Are they going to get rid of all of them? I find it very strange."

South Africa coach Arthur echoed the views of former West Indies captain Lloyd.

"If we don't like a particular umpire can we also have him removed?" said Arthur.

"They have set a precedent and I don't know if it's a particularly good one. It looks a bit of a mess."

The third test between South Africa and West Indies in Durban starts on Thursday.


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