Demand over right of reply

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The Independent Online
England's cricketers want the right of reply from the game's governing body, the Test and County Cricket Board.

Players sign a contract prohibiting them from criticism and comments which bring the game into disrepute, but the case of Devon Malcolm has prompted the Professional Cricketers' Association - the players' union - to issue a statement (out today) demanding the right of reply.

The England fast bowler Devon Malcolm was publicly criticised by the chairman of selectors, Ray Illingworth, early on in the tour of South Africa. Malcolm, now back in England, aired his views on the England management in a newspaper and faces a big fine.

The PCA chairman, Tim Curtis, said yesterday: "If players are publicly pilloried it makes the situation hard to accept. It seems unfair players are not allowed to say anything, when people looking after them are allowed to.

"The PCA has always accepted that, since Test players are well paid, the Board need to have some control over what is said. But players are suffering because others are exploiting the press."

The PCA general secretary, David Graveney, who denies he is considering stepping down as a selector because of a conflict of interests, said a meeting would be sought with the TCCB.

"Something needs to be hammered out," Graveney said last night. "There seems to be an imbalance between the regulations that govern players and those that govern others. We would like to sit down and discuss this after the World Cup."