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‘Ridiculous to allege bias’
- Richardson says ‘process’ followed in Srinath’s appointment as Match Referee

Calcutta: The International Cricket Council (ICC) isn’t giving “weightage” to reports that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is fuming at the rejection of its four nominees for the Match Referees’ panel.

The reports, in fact, have even accused cricket committee chairman Sunil Gavaskar of bias.

The former Indian captain and the ICC chief executive, Malcolm Speed, jointly reviewed the performance of the seven Match Referees, who were on the panel in 2005-06, and (again) jointly decided to add Jawagal Srinath to that Elite list.

“As far as I know, the PCB hasn’t lodged any complaint... In any case, the reports haven’t quoted anybody by name... Where the ICC is concerned, we aren’t giving weightage to what has been emanating from Pakistan,” general manager (cricket) Dave Richardson told The Telegraph.

Speaking from Dubai on Thursday evening, he added: “Actually, it’s ridiculous to allege bias as a process is in place for appointing Match Referees and that process was followed when the existing ones got retained and Srinath became the eighth...”

As reported in these columns on Tuesday, the former India speedster was interviewed by Speed and Richardson, with Gavaskar coming into the picture at a later stage. Obviously, the latter had a purpose in staying away from the interview-exercise.

Clearly, the PCB seems to have forgotten that Gavaskar had a big hand in Wasim Raja’s appointment to the Elite panel when it was put into place professionally for the first time ' in early 2002.

Raja, of course, is no more a Match Referee. But, then, that’s also the case with Gundappa Viswanath. There are only three ‘survivors’ from that Class of 2002: (Chief) Ranjan Madugalle, Mike Procter and Clive Lloyd.

Srinath, who is likely to get his first assignment in two-three months, declined to comment on the reports from Pakistan. “No, I have nothing to say,” is all that he said when contacted in Bangalore.

The BCCI may not react formally, but there’s “disappointment” that an issue is being made when both India and Pakistan (as also Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) have joined hands in a bid to host the 2011 World Cup.

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