Cricket: Referee warns captain

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The Independent Online
PETER BURGE, the Test referee, has warned Mike Atherton to keep his hands clean at Headingley. Burge said he considered the Lord's dirt-in-the-pocket affair to be closed and dealt with, but the massive publicity surrounding Atherton's 'unfamiliar action' on the ball prompted him to call a meeting of both the England and South African team managements.

Burge added: 'I wanted to remind the players that there is going to be a lot of scrutiny on all of us in this Test - players, umpires, everyone,' he said. 'The eyes of the cricketing world will be watching, and I would be surprised if the players don't know that.'

Burge, 62, an Australian who played 42 Tests in the late 1950s and early 1960s, said that the Atherton incident had clouded a fine South African victory at Lord's and a contest of 'impeccable' sportsmanship from both sides.

'I have had trouble to deal with in other places, but that match was the best I've known to referee,' said Burge, who has refereed eight Tests, plus a World Cup final and semi-final, and is one of the International Cricket Council's most experienced officers.

He emphasised he had not given the umpires, David Shepherd and Steve Dunne, any extra instructions. 'They are very experienced officials - they are in control out there, not me,' Burge said.

At the meeting with Burge were Atherton, the England manager, Keith Fletcher, the South African captain, Kepler Wessels, and their coach, Mike Procter, both umpires, and the Test and County Cricket Board official, Tony Brown.