The second test match between India and Australia which the hosts won at Bengaluru ended in a sore note, as India captain Virat Kohli had accused Aussie captain Steve Smith and Peter Handscomb of repeatedly looking towards the dressing room for assistance in whether or to pursue the DRS for reviews, which as per the rules of the sport is not allowed. The BCCI had lodged an official complaint trying to press Level 2 charge against Smith and Handscomb for violating spirit of the game.
However Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James Sutherland met his opposite number Rahul Johri at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai to resolve the issue. It was decided that the two captains would meet in Ranchi to resolve the issue. 'BCCI and CA have resolved to restore focus on the ongoing series amidst the increased attention towards issues which have emanated during the course of the 2nd Test match in Bangalore,' a press release stated.
Johri and Sutherland discussed the matters at length, agreed the importance of bringing back the focus to the game and the much anticipated next Test match in Ranchi. Sutherland said, 'A series between India and Australia is bound to generate considerable excitement for fans in both the countries. On the field the two teams are fierce competitors who represent their countries with pride. As we have seen this week in Bangalore, with so much at stake, tensions can bubble over.
'We are half way through what has already been a riveting series - and there is still much to look forward to. In discussing the relevant issues in depth, we have agreed that it is in the best interests of the game to put these differences aside and clear the way for the focus to be on the cricket, and the remaining matches of the series.'
Johri on his part said 'India has always cherished a contest with Australia and over the years, the performances of both, the teams and the players, are testimony to the level of competitiveness that exists between these two teams. While having responded officially to one such incident which happened in the last Test, together, we believe that the focus of the teams and the joy they provide to the fans, should not be diluted and it is imperative to ensure that the rest of the series, which promises a great cricketing contest, not be compromised,' he concluded.
No action against Kohli and Smith: ICC
The International Cricket Council (ICC), meanwhile, has concluded that it will be taking no further action against either Virat Kohli or Steve Smith in the DRS row. The ICC has confirmed that no charges have been laid against any player under the ICC Code of Conduct following the second Test match between India and Australia in Bengaluru.
"Specifically in relation to Steve Smith and Virat Kohli, the ICC has considered both incidents in the context of this match and concluded it will be taking no further action against either player," read the statement. ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: "We have just witnessed a magnificent game of Test cricket where players from both teams gave their all and emotions were running high during and after the match. "We would encourage both teams to focus their energies on the third Test in Ranchi next week. Ahead of that, the match referee will bring both captains together to remind them of their responsibilities to the game."
Earlier in the day, Sutherland termed as "ageous" Virat Kohli's suggestion that Australian players, including skipper Steven Smith, had gone against the rules of the sport when using the controversial DRS during the recent Bangalore Test, while the BCCI has come to the defence of India's captain. "Virat Kohli is a mature and seasoned cricketer and his conduct on the field has been exemplary. Kohli's action was supported by ICC Elite Panel Umpire Nigel Llong who rushed in to dissuade Steve Smith from taking recourse to inappropriate assistance. BCCI sincerely hopes that the rest of the matches are played in the true spirit of cricket," the BCCI statement said.
On his part, after the defeat, Smith had admitted to what he termed a "brain fade" - that is, looking in the direction of the dressing room after being given out lbw to Umesh Yadav. While Kohli did not refer to the Australians as cheater, he was firm on his assessment of what he believed was unfair and claimed to have brought up the matter with the on-field umpires and Chris Broad, the ICC match referee.
`Smith's wrong, but he is no cheat'
When former Australian cricketers Jason Gillespie and Jason Krezja were asked about the accusations against Smith, they mentioned that Smith “shouldn't have” done what he did.
But Gillespie added that it's time to move on. “The reality is that Smith has acknowledged that he shouldn't have done it. Peter Handscomb has come out in social media and said that he wasn't aware of the rules. I think we all know that you don't look up to the dressing room. That's a No-No. He has apologized and we should move on,” said Gillespie, who played major roles for the Australian teams that enthralled the Indian fans during the 2001 and 2004 series.
Krejza, whose Aussie record of having the best figures in India was broken by Nathan Lyon in Bengaluru, felt it was a heat of the moment thing and an “error of judgement” on Smith's part. “I don't think it was the correct thing to do, but it was all in the heat of the battle. He was prompted by Handscomb's look up signal. He looks up, without really thinking about what he was doing and after a few seconds particularly when the umpire walks up he realized that wasn't the right thing to do.
“What he did was definitely not within the rules. But if he was trying to cheat, he would have been a bit more sneaky about it, don't you think? I think it was just an error of judgement in the heat of the battle which I'm sure he will regret now,” said the former Aussie off-spinner.
Both Gillespie and Krejza stressed that Aussies “play hard and fair” but they are “no cheats.” “Australians have long been accused of these things. But I can assure you we Aussies play the game hard and fair...try and uphold that all the time. It's in our DNA. People can look at it negatively. Aussies show a lot of pride and passion at what they are doing. We play the game to the best of our abilities, if another team beats us, we put our hands up say well done..shake hands and move on,” added Gillespie.