The ICC has confirmed that it will not be pressing charges against Australia captain Steven Smith, India captain Virat Kohli, or any other players in relation to the DRS incident in the Bengaluru Test.
ESPNcricinfo understands that the ICC reached out to both boards after they released statements during the day standing by their respective teams, and that it is unlikely either board will take this matter further.
ICC chief executive David Richardson said in a statement: “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.”
Following India’s win in Bengaluru, Kohli had said 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 on the final day, when Smith looked towards the dressing room after having chatted with non-striker Peter 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 – which happened before Kohli’s – Smith put his actions down to a “brain fade”.
The match officials, the CEO of either board or the CEO of the ICC could have laid charges in this matter. Kohli’s comment could have been seen as “serious public criticism” of Australia, which qualifies as a level 2 offence under the ICC code of conduct. Smith’s transgression was already dealt with, in that he was prevented from taking help from the dressing room. Had he still insisted on using the review, the umpires wouldn’t have allowed him. However, he could still be charged for acting against the spirit of cricket under the ICC code of conduct.
Any of these charges would have resulted in a thorough investigation. The ICC would have then had to then prove the charges in a court of law because these would constitute level 2 charges and upwards, and any sanctions under these charges could have been appealed.
Earlier today, Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland had said: “I find the allegations questioning the integrity of Steve Smith, the Australian team and the dressing room, outrageous. Steve is an outstanding cricketer and person, and role model to many aspiring cricketers and we have every faith that there was no ill-intent in his actions.” Later the BCCI put out a statement saying: “The BCCI, after due deliberation and seeing the video replays of the episode, steadfastly stands with the Indian cricket team and its captain Mr Virat Kohli.”
The third Test between the two teams kicks off in Ranchi on March 16 with the series level at 1-1.
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