Sydney: The Australian media has come down hard on the International Cricket Council (ICC) for not taking any action against Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, whose criticism of umpire Daryl Harper's performance in the first Test against West Indies led to the withdrawal of the official from the third Test.
Harper was to retire from the elite panel after the third Test, but following the criticism he chose not to officiate in what would have been his farewell match.
"Indian harassment and the ICC's inaction have seen Australian umpire Daryl Harper pull out of his farewell Test in the West Indies," reported the Australian Friday.
The unanimous call was for the ICC to pull up Dhoni for his remarks after the first test.
"While the ICC said it was unfair criticism and defended Harper's record, it has not taken any action against India's captain. And Harper, who was about to stand in his 300th international, walked away," the report said.
The report said that there were a number of disputed decisions that upset the Indians, but they were only in that position because the Indian players and board refused to countenance the use of the Decision Review System (DRS). "Match referee Jeff Crowe did not punish Dhoni for his outburst."
India won the first Test at Kingston by 63 runs and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said: "If the correct decisions were made, the game would have finished much earlier and I would have been in the hotel by now."
The ICC's cricket manager, Dave Richardson, defended Harper's record.
"The reality of the situation is that Daryl's statistics show his correct decision percentage in Tests involving India is 96 per cent, which is considerably higher than the international average for top-level umpires," Richardson said.
Harper's former colleague Darrell Hair supported him. "You can't have players picking and choosing umpires," Hair was quoted as saying in The Age.
The 59-year-old Harper, who has stood in 95 Tests and 174 ODIs, is not the first umpire to feel poorly treated. In 2008, Steve Bucknor was sent home by the ICC after India complained about his performance in the controversial Sydney Test against Australia.
Mark Benson also walked away amid controversy over the DRS in Australia two summers ago, citing ill health.