Australia in India 2017 March 9, 2017

BCCI withdraws complaint against Australia

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Play 02:16
Sydney then, Bengaluru now

The BCCI has withdrawn the complaint against Steven Smith and Peter Handscomb hours after lodging it with the ICC, as the aftermath of the Bengaluru Test continued to unfold at a rapid pace.* A joint statement after the two board CEOs met constituted the second statement of peace in two days, after the ICC had said on Wednesday that it was not going to pursue the DRS controversy further.

That, it is understood, came after the ICC had studied match footage and the evidence available before deciding to not press any charges against any of the Australia players or Virat Kohli. This was communicated to both the boards, who wanted the ICC to initiate proceedings. The BCCI wanted an investigation into their allegations that Australia sought dressing-room assistance on DRS reviews, and CA wanted action against Kohli who had made public accusations that Australia systemically manipulated DRS protocols.

The incident occurred on the final day of the Test, when Smith looked towards the dressing room after having chatted with non-striker Handscomb when given out lbw in a tense chase, apparently for clues on whether to review the call or not. Umpire Nigel Llong intervened immediately, and sent Smith on his way. In his post-match conference, Smith put his actions down to a "brain fade". Kohli disagreed with that, saying Australia took help from their dressing room on at least three occasions before making their mind up on DRS reviews in the Test. Kohli said he had made the umpires aware of the matter on two occasions before the third one played out in full view.

Incidentally, the other two incidents that Kohli spoke of were not even part of the complaint that the BCCI CEO Rahul Johri lodged on Thursday. Under the DRS protocols, the Smith incident was already dealt with when he was not allowed to communicate with his dressing room. Had he then sought a review, it would have been disallowed.

The BCCI, though, pushed for a charge for a level 2 offence under the ICC code of conduct, contending that Smith and Handscomb had acted against the spirit of cricket. To prove Smith and Handscomb had violated the spirit of cricket, the BCCI would have to prove intent, for which there is no evidence available. Handscomb had already tweeted an explanation for the incident saying he had asked Smith to look up because he didn't know the playing conditions.

Once the ICC received this complaint, it spoke to Johri and CA CEO James Sutherland, who were both present in Mumbai, and impressed upon them that the charge BCCI wanted to press was near impossible to prove. The drama ended late in the night, when the joint statement was released at 11.28pm.

It said: "The BCCI will withdraw the complaint filed with ICC with an expectation that the two captains will meet prior to the Ranchi Test and commit to lead their teams by example and play the rest of the series, in the right spirit, demonstrating that the players from both teams are true ambassadors for their respective countries."

This should put end to a hostile aftermath of the Bengaluru Test, in which both the boards and their media wings became active participants. BCCI's official Twitter handle released a clip of Smith's dismissal with the caption "dressing room review system?". On Thursday, Sutherland called Kohli's claims "outrageous", and the BCCI responded in a media release that it stood behind its captain.

*18.00GMT, March 9: This article was updated after the BCCI withdrew its complaint.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • whiplashh on March 13, 2017, 15:23 GMT

    White Men WIN again, the rules dont apply

  • woody3 on March 12, 2017, 15:59 GMT

    Did alot of the posters not read the article? The complaint was never going to be proven. It was withdrawn because proceeding with it was making the BCCI look silly. No other reason. No kudos, no credit just daft and amateurish that the complaint was made at all.

  • cricfan24831186 on March 12, 2017, 7:30 GMT

    BCCI showing a big heart there. Remember Australians went all the way against Harbhajan and made an issue out of a non issue. Smithy is really lucky.

  • memoriesofthepast on March 12, 2017, 3:48 GMT

    DREW12: Convince Australians to get over BODYLINE Ashes & all those Ashes series that Aus lost, including the scene in 2005 Trent Bridge test after the run-out of captain Ricky Ponting.

  • seenfully on March 11, 2017, 23:41 GMT

    No point to withdraw the complaint, BCCI has truly shown weakness. Believe me these Aussies will never stop. I can refer to so many occasions when they defame the game. But I am not convinced with ICC.

  • woody3 on March 11, 2017, 14:10 GMT

    BCCI withdrew the complaint because it was never going to be upheld, not for any spirit of cricket reason. Ridiculous and petty it was raised at all.

  • cricfan16377407 on March 11, 2017, 11:35 GMT

    BCCI hats off to you. CA learn now atleast and play in true spirits. Brain fade...lol Don't know the rule...lol

  • Oncetoooften on March 11, 2017, 9:54 GMT

    Had it been a South African cricketer suspension would be automatic

  • Drew12 on March 11, 2017, 8:59 GMT

    MEMORIESOFTHEPAST get over it.

  • memoriesofthepast on March 11, 2017, 6:21 GMT

    A country like Australia that uses underarm deliveries & aluminium bats to win the game & now the dressing room assistance to take DRS has no right to talk on spirit of the game or question the play of captain Kohli. Before criticizing the Indian pitches, Aus must tell the reason why no team made 300 or above in the 1993 Adelaide test vs WI & why Aus could not chase even 117 in 1994 Sydney test vs SA & even 143 in 1981 Melbourne test vs India. After all it was DK Lillee & Rod Marsh who betted on own team loss in 1981 Headingley test but instead subcontinental players have been investigated & punished for links to betting.

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