Tharoor bats for embattled India team; justifies govt decision

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New Delhi, Jan 8 (UNI) Batting strongly for the embattled Indian cricket team in Australia, eminent writer Shashi Tharoor today justified India's protest against the ''blatant decisions'' by umpire Steve Bucknor and said the issue should be taken up firmly with the ICC.

''The issue should be taken up in a more spirited and forthright manner. It is not for the first time that questions are being raised on Bucknor's performance. We should take things to such a level that results are available at the earliest,'' Mr Tharoor said, while addressing mediapersons on the sidelines of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas conference here.

Mr Tharoor, a former UN Under Secretary General, said Indian skipper Anil Kumble's statement that 'only one team played the game (Sydney Test) in the right spirit' was apt.

Commenting on the ICC decision to remove Bucknor as umpire from the remaining two test matches between India and Australia, he said it was the right step. ''The sanctity of the game has to be maintained and India has done the right thing by lodging a strong protest with the ICC.'' It was a double whammy for Indian cricket team which lost the second test match to a string of dubious umpiring decisions while its off spinner Harbhajan Singh was slapped with a racial allegation and subsequently suspended for three test matches.

''We must take steps fast so that the game of cricket reverts back to normalcy,'' Mr Tharoor added.

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