Aussie boss remains confident
Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland remains confident that India will complete their tour of the country.
Last Updated: 09/01/08 11:48am
Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland has said he is confident India will complete their tour of the country, despite the latter's cricket authorities saying that they will only "continue for the present".
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) elected to lift their suspension of the tour on Tuesday, but said they could yet return home unless spinner Harbhajan Singh is exonerated following his three-match ban for racially abusing Australia's Andrew Symonds.
Nevertheless, Sutherland expressed his belief that the rest of the tour will go ahead.
"We've got to get on with playing the game here," Sutherland said.
"India has made a commitment to tour Australia, they have a contractual commitment to complete that tour and I am sure we will see that commitment met.
"India is a team we have played against and respected for 60 years and that will last for a long, long time into the future."
Sutherland also took steps to defend members of the Australia team, with captain Ricky Ponting coming in for criticism following their victory in last week's controversial second Test and Brad Hogg now facing charges of making offensive comments to two Indian players.
"Criticism levelled at them (the Australian team) I believe is inappropriate and I have spoken to Ricky Ponting and made it absolutely clear to him on behalf of the board of Cricket Australia that we do not support that criticism and the support of him and his team is absolute," he continued.
"The Australian cricket team will be the first to admit they are not perfect and they are not right all of the time but they get it right a lot more now than they used to."
Sutherland instead claimed that events in Sydney were merely redolent of the "hard but fair" attitude Australia had long prided themselves on.
"Test cricket is what is being played here, it's not tiddlywinks," he said.
"It's a tough game and out there from time to time emotions will boil over and perhaps some of the words said would not be acceptable in gentile company but they are said and that is what happens."
The International Cricket Council (ICC) moved to calm the dispute by standing down umpire Steve Bucknor - who, along with Mark Benson, made a number of controversial decisions at the SCG - from the forthcoming third Test in Perth.
It has also appointed its chief referee Ranjan Madugalle to act as a mediator between rival captains Ponting and Anil Kumble.
Revealing that Ponting had made an offer immediately after the second Test to meet with Kumble, Sutherland added that he was "confident" the captains could reconcile any differences existing between the two teams so the Test series could continue.
Meanwhile, New Zealand judge John Hansen - that country's appointment on the ICC Code of Conduct Commission - has been appointed as commissioner for Harbhajan's appeal.
No time, date or venue for the appeal have yet been set, but the process indicates that the appeal should be heard within seven days of the commissioner being appointed.