Thursday, September 13, 2007

When India Dar (Aleem) gaya at Lord’s !

By John Cheeran
India lost the one-day series in England, but no one is perturbed. Rahul Dravid’s men fought hard indeed to make the seventh match at Lord’s meaningful. But Pakistani (yes, I’m not forgetting the fact he should be seen as ICC’s choice) umpire Aleem Dar’s two rotten decisions against Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar (both off the bowling of Andrew Flintoff) made it a no contest.
India lost the one-day series 3-4 and the pulsating run chase that culminated in a thrilling win in the penultimate match at the Brit Oval washed off many of their sins – including patchy bowling and atrocious fielding.
India should thank Sachin Tendulkar for the series of splendid scores he has logged at this age and stage of his career. India should also be proud of youngsters such as Robin Uthappa who converted a crisis situation into an opportunity to establish himself as a pro. It was the first match for Uthappa after the Sri Lanka encounter in the West Indies during the World Cup.
The match at the Brit Oval was one of the most dramatic ones in recent times. India had lost all hopes of winning the match once England tail ender Dimitri Mascarenhas smashed all the six balls off Yuvraj Singh, who bowled the last (50) over of the England innings.
It was another of captain Dravid’s decisions that came under fire. When you are forced to carry a bowler such as Ajit Agarkar as your opening bowler, any captain may get exasperated. And a hitter such as Dimitri will exploit the chances that come his way.
And for Aleem Dar, he is not the first umpire to give rotten decisions. It is time the International Cricket Council got its act together to root out the kind of subjectivity on umpire’s part that ruins the game.
Clearly, the way out is to give more powers to the third umpire and rely on the advantages of television replays. There is no doubt that such a move will make the on field umpires mere scarecrows.
But if it adds to quality of cricket, so be it.

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