Cricket: Referee to decide Donald's fate

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The Independent Online
By Myles Hodgson

SOUTH AFRICA are waiting to discover whether the International Cricket Council will discipline their fast bowler, Allan Donald, following his criticism of the umpire Mervyn Kitchen's performance during the fourth Test at Trent Bridge.

Donald and the rest of the South African team were known to be aggrieved by a number of decisions made by Kitchen during the match, which England won by eight wickets to level the series at 1-1.

In a radio interview, Donald claimed that Kitchen, who has admitted considering retirement because of the controversy, made "a few shocking decisions" and looked like "he was struggling". "If you lose your concentration, you're messing with people's careers. One decision in the heat of the moment can swing a game," he added.

But the comments would appear to breach the ICC's Code of Conduct, which states: "Players, umpires and team officials shall not make any public pronouncement or media comment which is detrimental either to the game in general or to a particular tour in which they are involved."

No decision is likely to be made until the ICC discusses the controversy with the match referee, Ahmed Ebrahim of Zimbabwe. This is not expected to happen until he arrives in Leeds later today, ahead of the fifth Test.

"It is a matter for the referee, as stipulated by the ICC code of conduct," the ICC's chief executive, David Richards, confirmed.

The South African tour manager, SK Reddy, said: "We knew Allan was having an interview but we did not know what he had said, except what we have read in the papers."