South Africa v India Tests - Men
India escape sanction after DRS controversy at Newlands
No charges laid by the game's governing body as South Africa reveal plans for Australia to tour in the middle of 2023
15 January 2022, 05:25 PM AEST
India's players have escaped formal sanction for an on-field outburst after a DRS decision went against them in the third Test against South Africa.
While some reports claimed that ICC match officials had informally spoken with the Indian team management about the players' conduct, there has been no official code of conduct breach charge levelled by the governing body.
The Indians had been furious when South Africa captain Dean Elgar had an LBW verdict overturned by the ball-tracking technology when on 22 on the third afternoon at a pivotal position in the Proteas' ultimately successful run chase.
The delivery from Ravichandran Ashwin was found to be bouncing over the top of the stumps by Hawk-Eye's ball-tracking, and the livid Indian players could be heard over the stump mics criticising the technology.
Ashwin, ahead of bowling the next delivery, walked forward into stump mic range and called out: "You should find better ways to win, SuperSport."
India captain Virat Kohli also deliberately walked up to the stumps to speak into the mic, saying: "Focus on your team while they shine the ball. Not just the opposition. Trying to catch people all the time."
This would appear to be a reference to the events in Cape Town in 2018 when SuperSport cameras played a role in uncovering Australia's ball tampering, with now infamous pictures of sandpaper being used on the ball and then hidden down the front of Cameron Bancroft's trousers.
KL Rahul, India's vice-captain was heard over the stump mic saying: "It's the whole country against 11 guys."
SuperSport uses technology from Hawk-Eye Innovations, the same providers who work with the ICC and the BCCI, among others.
After falling to a seven-wicket defeat in Cape Town that saw the Proteas claim the series 2-1, Kohli was defiant in his post-match press conference.
Was it the right decision? 🤔 Shaun Pollock and Sunil Gavaskar discuss the use of hawkeye after Umpire adjudged Dean Elgar out lbw but reversed his decision as the tracking technology showed the ball going over the wicket... pic.twitter.com/k9w9ajisE1— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) January 13, 2022
"We understood what happened on the field, and people on the outside don't know exact details of what goes on in the field, so for me to try and justify what we did on the field and say we got carried away is wrong," Kohli said.
"If we had gotten charged up and picked up three wickets there, that would have probably been the moment that changed the game.
"The reality of the situation is that we did not apply enough pressure on them for longer periods of time throughout the course of the Test match and hence we lost the game.
"That one moment seems very nice and very exciting to make a controversy out of, which honestly I'm not interested in making a controversy of it at all.
"It was just a moment that passed, and we moved on from it, and just kept focusing on the game and trying to pick up wickets."
The ICC says on its website that its code of conduct is to "maintain the public image, popularity and integrity of cricket by providing an effective means to deter any participant from conducting themselves improperly on and off the ‘field-of-play’ or in a manner that is contrary to the 'spirit of cricket'".
While the governing body no longer keeps an updated public register of its code of conduct offences, there has been a long history of the ICC fining players for language used over the stump mic, although none of the India players swore in broadcast comments.
Proteas set to host Australia in 2023
Meanwhile, Cricket South Africa's director of cricket Graeme Smith, the former captain, confirmed the Proteas are expecting to host Australia for a rescheduled Test tour in mid-2023.
The series, pencilled in in for August of that year, would be a rescheduling of the series from February 2021 that was cancelled amid concerns over travelling in the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Africa are also looking to reschedule a three-match ODI series against England that was called off in December 2020.
"England, I think, is around Feb-March next year and then Australia is in August 2023 to replace the (2021 Test series). That will be announced sometime soon," Smith told SuperSport during the Test.
The series win against India has been a source of enormous pride after having been well beaten by 113 runs in the first Test in Pretoria, but bouncing back to win in both Johannesburg and Cape Town against the No.1 ranked team in the world.
Elgar said he had to show some 'tough love' to his players, which he believes lay behind their turnaround in fortunes to win a pulsating Test series.
"We have a young, talented group," Elgar told reporters after the victory was completed. "The experience isn't there, but we are gaining it and getting better every day.
"It was unreal to see how a group that doesn't have the 'names' could gel together and play as one. This is a proper unit. It was a proper team win."
Elgar admits he did not pull any punches after the loss in Pretoria and says there were some tough conversations within the group.
"Ultimately, if you want to operate at a high-performance level you need to have tough, hard chats. If guys don't like it, that is up for them to deal with," he said.
"I am a bit of an old school mentality with a new school twist, but I laid down some proper challenges to some senior players to stand up and respond. It was brilliant to see the guys take the message on board.
"If you want to be world number one in the future, you have to compete and beat the best."
South Africa, who won their previous series in West Indies in June, will next take on world Test champions New Zealand in two matches next month.
"We are by no means the finished article," Elgar said. "But I am already thinking about the next series, which is something I need to try and manage and control, because I will burn my brain out.
"There are a lot of positives going into that series, but also a lot of negatives we need to hit on the head."
Additional reporting by Reuters