The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Wednesday decided not to take any action against Australian captain Steve Smith or his Indian counterpart Virat Kohli as a follow-up to the issue related to Smith seeking advice from the Australian dressing room after being adjudged LBW on the 4th day of the 2nd Test in Bengaluru on Tuesday. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), however, was not happy with the decision and decided to appeal on Thursday. It had earlier on Wednesday backed captain Virat Kohli on the controversy and has requested the ICC to take cognisance of the Australian captain's admission that his action in seeking an opinion from his dressing room was a "brain fade".
"The ICC has confirmed that no charges have been laid against any player under the ICC Code of Conduct following the second Test match between India and Australia in Bengaluru," the ICC statement read.
"Specifically in relation to Steve Smith and Virat Kohli, the ICC has considered both incidents in the context of this match and concluded it will be taking no further action against either player," it added.
Unhappy with the decision, the BCCI will now appeal the decision on Thursday. The incident had been mentioned in the captain and coach's report after the match. Once the appeal is lodged, the umpires will be asked to file their report, following which the ICC will decide on hearing the appeal.
The Indian team management had written to ICC match referee Chris Broad seeking a decision from the world cricket body.
The board said in a statement that Kohli was right in challenging Smith, stating, "The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after due deliberation and seeing the video replays of the episode steadfastly stands with the Indian Cricket Team and its Captain Mr. Virat Kohli."
Kohli, the BCCI statement said "is a mature and seasoned cricketer and his conduct on the field has been exemplary. Mr. Kohli's action was supported by ICC Elite Panel Umpire Mr. Nigel Llong who rushed in to dissuade Mr. Steve Smith from taking recourse to inappropriate assistance."
The BCCI said Steve Smith had made an admission in a presser after the match when he said, "I was looking at our boys. So shouldn't have done that. A bit of brain fade."
According to some media reports, BCCI is also unhappy with match referee Broad for the comments he made to an Australian newspaper pertaining to the matter. The Englishman said that the Smith incident had been an isolated one.
Allegations against Smith 'outrageous'
Meanwhile, Cricket Australia has said the allegations against Smith are "outrageous".
"I find the allegations questioning the integrity of Steve Smith, the Australian team and the dressing room, outrageous," said Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland, adding, "Steve is an outstanding cricketer and person, and a role model to many aspiring cricketers and we have every faith that there was no ill-intent in his actions."
Virat Kohli, who had given Smith an angry send-off after the latter's dismissal on Tuesday, had said after the match, "I have seen it twice while batting. I have seen their players looking upstairs (dressing room). I told the umpires, this had to stop. I don't want to mention the word but it falls in that bracket. I would never do something like that on the cricket field."
"When he (Smith) turned back, the umpires knew exactly what was going on, because we observed that, told match referee also and the umpires that they have been doing that for the last three days and this has to stop," the India captain added.
Smith was adjudged lbw from a low delivery by Indian pacer Umesh Yadav.
"We reject any commentary that suggests our integrity was brought into disrepute or that systemic unfair tactics are used, and stand by Steve and the Australian cricketers who are proudly representing our country," Sutherland said.
Lehmann, Waugh back Smith
Australia coach Darren Lehmann has also backed his skipper amid the controversy. "Never, ever, ever. Very surprised to hear that, but it's their opinion," Lehmann said when Australian reporters asked him about Kohli's allegations.
"He (Kohli) has his opinion and we have ours, but at the end of the day we play the game the right way. We've changed the way we want to play, we've obviously changed the side and we're a younger side so I'm pretty pleased with the way we do things now. We've never done any of that, so we'll just get on with the next game," the Australia coach said.
Former Australia captain Steve Waugh also weighed in, in support of Smith.
"It was a fantastic Test match. It's a shame we are focussing on one incident. I would go with what Steve has said. I would take him on face value. The best part was umpires stepped in and stopped at then and there. Looking back Smith will be embarrassed and must have learnt a lesson," Waugh said at a promotional event on Wednesday.
However, he wants International Cricket Council (ICC) to intervene and bring finality to the issue.
"Someone from ICC needs to look into the matter and bring it to a finality. Look we need to move on. Probably he would be cautioned. It was a high-intensity game," said Waugh.
Match referee Chris Broad has to respond to the concerns raised by the Indian team within 48 hours.
(With inputs from Rica Roy and agencies)