ICC SEES VICTORY FOR ITS STAND 

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By FROM AMIT ROY in London
  • Published 30.11.01
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London, Nov. 30 :    London, Nov. 30:  The International Cricket Council (ICC) feels it has scored a victory over Jagmohan Dalmiya by ensuring that Virender Sehwag, despite all the protestations by the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), does not play in the first Test against England. "There is no change in the fundamental principle," said an ICC spokesman, who announced the "deal" today following another round of telephone diplomacy between ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed and Dalmiya. As part of the agreement, India will get a commission to look at whether there should be a right of appeal against the decision of match referees. Speed was at his diplomatic best when he briefed journalists at Lord's today. He was happy because he avoided having to make a tedious journey to Kuala Lumpur. "I am very pleased," he announced. "Let's hope we have a great Test series between these two great powerful nations and let's hope that the great game of cricket comes out stronger." He added: "Whenever there's an issue like this there are strong emotions. But I'm happy with the result and I think Mr Dalmiya is happy with the result." Lord MacLaurin, chairman of the England Cricket Board, echoed his sentiments, though he must privately be delighted at what he, at least, will see as the humbling of Dalmiya. "The decision is a victory for common sense. It will strengthen the ICC's authority... but the family of cricket is the real winner." The ICC spokesman wanted to make sure there is no misunderstanding about Sehwag. "He will not play - the BCCI has agreed to standing him down." Tim Lamb, the ECB chief executive, expressed relief that the off-pitch drama had ended. "This is good news for the millions of cricket followers worldwide." But in London, there is little doubt as to who has emerged the victor in the latest round of what is seen here as Dalmiya's battle of control of cricket. His enemies have not seen him off and Dalmiya lives to fight another day.