The treatment of Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh’s case by the match referee Mike Procter was scandalous. But that’s not Procter’s fault – he was doing his job under the ICC rules.

To make an allegation of racism against Singh, as the petulant Australian cricket team did, is serious stuff. Firstly, it is a serious slur on someone’s character. Secondly, if found guilty of the offence, the player involved stands to lose thousands, and possibly millions of dollars in lost match payments and sponsors money.

In other words, this was a case that deserved to he heard in a forum that was better than the kangaroo court procedure used by Mr Procter and the ICC.

Like it or not, this was a case that should have been adjudicated by a properly constituted tribunal, chaired by a lawyer. If Singh were an AFL player that’s exactly what would have happened. And Singh would have been entitled to be represented by an advocate who could not only put his client’s side of the case but who could test the veracity of the Australian complainants and witnesses to see if they were telling the truth, or merely cooking up a story for an ulterior motive – i.e. that they collectively can’t abide the aggressive Indian spinner who has clearly got under Ricky Ponting’s skin.

Malcolm Speed, the ICC boss (and a former member of the Victorian Bar), and James Sutherland, Cricket Australia’s defiant CEO (who for some bizarre reason can’t see that this week’s unsavoury events are more than a storm in a tea cup), need to overhaul the role of the disciplinary process for cricket.

The AFL provides an excellent model. Sure the match referee could investigate and adjudicate on matters like slow over rates, but when any serious allegation or charge is laid, the matter must be referred to an AFL style tribunal. The tribunal should consist of an experienced lawyer and perhaps alongside him an ex player and a retired umpire. Players should be allowed legal representation so their case is put succinctly and with vigour.

Ironically, at the Sydney test was Greg Melick, a Sydney and Hobart based silk, who previously investigated the allegations about gambling and Indian bookmakers made against Shane Warne and Mark Waugh. Mr Melick would have been a perfect person to hear the Singh matter, and he would have done so expeditiously.

Mike Procter and other ex cricketers are just that – lovers of the game but well meaning amateurs at best when it comes to natural justice and the rule of law, which applies as much to cricket as it applies everywhere else in life.

Once again the ICC’s grossly unfair and inadequate hearing procedure has shown how careless cricket is about fairness. But then this is a game where, as Andrew Symonds showed in Sydney, you can refuse to leave the wicket even when you are clearly out!