SLC launches probe into no-ball incident
Dambulla: Embarrassed by Suraj Randiv’s no-ball that denied Indian opener Virender Sehwag a century in an ODI tri-series game, Sri Lanka Cricket on Tuesday initiated an inquiry into the incident even as the bowler and top SLC officials offered apologies to calm the furore.
A day after the incident threatened to snowball into a major controversy, SLC initiated an internal inquiry into the deliberate no-ball by off-spinner Randiv.
The apologies prompted the Indian team management to declare the episode a “closed chapter” while the BCCI also made it clear that it would not pursue the case any further.
“Sri Lanka Cricket officials have requested the Sri Lanka national team Manager Anura Tennekoon to conduct an immediate internal inquiry and forward a comprehensive report in this regard, where action will be taken accordingly,” SLC said in a statement.
“We are perturbed and disconcerted by the news reports which indicate that Virender Sehwag had been deliberately deprived of reaching a century by Suraj Randiv bowling a no ball in the last over,” the statement read.
“Sri Lanka Cricket, being winners of the ‘ICC Spirit of the game’ award for two consecutive years, is extremely proud of its team and their achievements and conduct both on and off the field, as such it is necessary to clear the good name of Sri Lanka Cricket and Sri Lanka as a sporting nation, on a priority basis,” it added.
Sehwag was just one short of his 13th ODI hundred when Randiv, who had not bowled a no ball in the Test or ODI series this season, bowled one which was hit by the opener for a six.
However, it did not count because the no ball amounted to India’s winning run leaving Sehwag on an unbeaten 99.
Manager Ranjib Biswal admitted that the Indian team was upset by the incident but insisted that things have cooled off now.
“We didn’t have a team meeting to discuss it but all of us felt bad about it. The sentiment of the team was Virender Sehwag really deserved a century for the way he played and won India the game,” Biswal told reporters here.
Biswal said he got a call from SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga this morning to offer apologies for the incident and assure him of an SLC inquiry.
“Today in the morning, Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Nishantha Ranatunga called me up expressing his regret about yesterday’s no-ball incident. He expressed his regret officially and asked me to convey it to the Indian team and particularly to Sehwag,” Biswal said.
“They have also assured that they will look into the matter officially, why it happened and correct the procedure. On behalf of Team India, we have accepted Nishantha’s regret and we hope that both the countries’ cricketing relations go forward,” he added.
Randiv’s antics were criticised by Sehwag in the post match press conference but a personal apology from Randiv has pacified the Indian swashbuckler.
“Randiv came to my room and apologised,” Sehwag wrote on his Twitter page.
Biswal also said that Sehwag was no longer upset about the incident.
“He is a very cool guy and he takes things in his stride. Yes, the regret of not getting an international hundred was there but he took it in his stride. But he managed himself well. Everyone is smiling now,” he said.
The BCCI, on the other hand, made it clear that it had no intention of lodging a protest with its Sri Lankan counterpart.
“Of course not. We are not thinking of lodging any complaint. These things happen in cricket. What is there to take up? Did New Zealand take up with Australia when the under-arm incident happened,” a Board source said.
Another BCCI source said that it was upto the ICC to take up the case if it wants.
“ICC may want to take a look at this case and review its laws concerning no balls,” the source said.
Randiv’s antics were heavily criticised by former Indian players, who called it an unsporting and unpardonable” incident.
While iconic all-rounder and former World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev chose to remain mum on the issue, others such as Syed Kirmani, Ajit Wadekar, Madan Lal and Bishen Singh Bedi felt Randiv’s actions have set a bad precedent.