Adelaide, Jan 26 (UNI) International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Mike Procter admitted that dealing with the racism row between Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds during the Sydney Test was one of the toughest moments of his career.
''Being South African as well, and having seen the effects of racism first-hand, it was a really tough call,'' Procter was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.
According to Procter, tackling the Sydney crisis was even harder than the 2006 Oval Test, which he had awarded as a forfeit to England, in his capacity as match referee after Pakistan refused to play following allegations of ball-tampering.
''It was probably more tough and stressful than the events surrounding the Oval Test when the match was abandoned. It has been very difficult on a personal and professional level,'' he said.
''[The Oval] was a very unusual day. Everyone in the ICC ... did everything in our power to make something happen, but with the rules of cricket being what they were, there was nothing that could be done. It was, in many ways, an impossible situation,'' he added.
''But I would say the issues and pressures that came out of Sydney were in many ways greater.
''Many of the situations that come up have never been dealt with before, and at the end of the day, it is you alone who must come up with the decision, drawing on your cricketing experiences and general knowledge. It seems drama follows me wherever I go.'' The South African was himself accused of racism after it was alleged that he imposed a three-Test ban on Harbhajan relying on the evidences of Australian fielders.
However, Proctor, who said he enjoyed good relations with Team India, declined to comment on the case.
''I can't comment specifically about the case, but I will say that, despite some reports to the contrary, I have a good relationship with the Indians,'' he said.
''Now it is in the hands of the ICC, so I will leave it at that.'' UNI XC AB RAR AS1604