July 23, 2013

Recalling India's collective vow of silence

Akarsh Sharma
The nation's greatest series win had more than a tinge of controversy, which nobody in India really wanted to talk about
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Trigger finger: SK Bansal gives Glenn McGrath out lbw on the last day of the 2001 Kolkata Test Hamish Blair / © Getty Images

Dave Richardson, the ICC chief executive, has called for the debate on neutral umpires to be reopened. It is a logical step too, since the nations that produce the best officials are unfairly deprived of the highest standards in officiating.

Umpires, their decisions, the DRS, and general human competence in the face of technology - all have come under the scanner during the ongoing Ashes series.

Ah, the Ashes! The fourth sequel to the greatest series ever - a title that is vehemently contested in India.

The greatest series ever? Neutral umpires? Combine the two and it serves as a natural trigger to take our minds back to 2001, a year before the Elite Panel of ICC umpires was appointed.

It seems a good time then to - if sheepishly rather than fondly, for reasons that will become clear soon - reminisce about the actual greatest series ever when free men stood against the immortals and, unlike in the Battle of the Hot Gates, miraculously won the combat of the dust bowls.

India isn't so much the land of snake charmers as it is the land of unrivalled cricket fanatics. Fanaticism by definition leads to voluntary blindness and mutism. And from late afternoon onwards on the first day of the famous Laxman-Dravid Test match at Eden Gardens, the symptoms manifested themselves across the nation.

Harbhajan Singh had just become the first Indian to bag a Test match hat-trick, in circumstances so dubious that had Dean Jones been commentating, he'd still be muttering about the injustice in his sleep.

But, fortunately for us, we had the honour of being enthralled by the late Tony Greig, an Englishman whose brand of commentary every Indian could relate to: full of infectious enthusiasm that often came in the way of the facts. Thus, a cricket-mad nation perpetually charged up on adrenaline was further enthused by Tony's awe-inspiring words, and hope of immediate retrospection was lost.

Ricky Ponting was caught plumb in front. Adam Gilchrist smashed a ball that pitched miles (cricket metric) outside leg stump into his pads, but was given out lbw. The swashbuckling wicketkeeper, who had bludgeoned the Indian bowling en route to a match-winning ton at faster than a run a ball in the previous Test, left with a rueful smile.

And finally, Shane Warne was adjudged out caught, though replays were at the very least inconclusive, if not favouring the batsman's claim of a bump ball (though Sadagoppan Ramesh's unbelievable catch alone deserved that wicket, or so we convinced ourselves).

It was probably the most fortuitous hat-trick ever, and we were probably well aware of it at the time. But did we really care? Not a single bit.

An inherent detestation of anything Australian had clouded our senses. The visitors had won a record 16 Tests in a row. They had humiliated India in Mumbai, home of the nation's favourite son. Mark Waugh's paltry spin had made a mockery of batsmen who were born to play spin. Matthew Hayden and Gilchrist's combined onslaught had made a mockery of turning pitches. Ajit Agarkar had made a mockery of himself. Again.

But the tipping point was when Michael Slater - upset at his appeal for a catch being overturned - got in the face of Rahul Dravid, a cricketer for whom Indian mothers would be prepared to go to war, with rolling pins for swords.

And so, there was little remorse about the way India were thrown a lifeline.

The next morning, in offices, in schools, at bus stands, in shared cabs, in autorickshaws, on the footpaths, on news channels, in newspapers, the discussions would revolve around those five minutes of earth-shattering cricket the previous day.

Those who did dare point out India's extremely good fortune were shushed and banished. The implied embargo was added alongside the traditional laws of our cricket culture, which include: No remark can be accepted against the actions of Sachin Tendulkar, even if he unnecessarily paddle-sweeps his way back to the pavilion. And a Pakistani cricketer's communication skills ought to be laughed at irrespective of their educational backgrounds, and independent of how mediocre our own players' English-speaking skills are.

You were to muse over the Test match only in a 2:98 ratio, where 2% of the time is to be spent acknowledging the timing of the hat-trick and 98% of it admiring the lengthy batting partnership that followed two days later. If you were to watch the feat again, it ought to be done in 30 seconds and without replays. You were tacitly prohibited from indulging yourself in the finer details.

Six on-field umpires were used in the three Test matches. The three neutral umpires were experienced ones: David Shepherd, Peter Willey and Rudi Koertzen. All three were selected to be on the Elite Panel a year later, though Willey chose not to take up the option.

The three home umpires are worth looking at. S Venkataraghavan, who was later chosen as the only Indian umpire on the Elite Panel, stood in his 43rd Test in Mumbai. Unsurprisingly, the match went without a glitch.

SK Bansal, who stood in only his sixth Test (and incidentally his last) in Kolkata, and AV Jayaprakash, who stood in his ninth in Chennai, were the other two home umpires. Bansal, in particular, presided over a host of controversial decisions, which included the series-changing hat-trick calls and some key rulings that triggered Australia's second-innings collapse.

The speed at which his decisions were made - as Glenn McGrath found out when batting bravely to save the match in the final hour - suggested they were more impulsive than considered. He was an Indian after all, and only the most hard-hearted of professionals wouldn't have been affected by the screams of 100,000 people.

Such key moments, when the series was completely turned on its head, had more than just divine intervention about them. They also had a very human helping hand - or rather, finger. But a nation awash with patriotism and a renewed sense of pride chose to overlook factors that could possibly dampen their most famous victory.

The greatest series ever? Maybe. One of the greatest endorsements of the need for neutral and qualified umpires? Definitely.

Akarsh Sharma is a writer based in India. He writes on football and cricket for various publications. He occasionally tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Naresh28 on July 29, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    The Elite Umpire panel and training are best for the game like now. Use of technology is now making umpires like robots and I feel the power should remain in their hands. No use writing an article going back to those days when the level of umpiring was generally bad and trying to view it from a modern perspective. The best umpire has left the game and is now a commentator. Thus technology is reducing the job of the umpire and causing controversies.

  • ntalgeri on July 27, 2013, 23:45 GMT

    @rishwolfhound: The title of the blog is the issue - calling it India's Collective Vow of Silence is implying that the whole Indian nation is guilty of wrongdoing and has sealed her lips about it. It's nothing more than a cheapshot by a wannabe journalist who knows that attacking the BCCI is the fastest claim to fame in today's world. He chose a wrong topic though - the umpiring in that series falls pale in comparison to the patriotic deeds of Steve Randall, Darrel Hair, Peter Willey, Khizar Hayat, Shakoor "finger pointing" Rana etc. over the years. So why single out Bansal?

  • AD_US on July 27, 2013, 16:55 GMT

    You do make a few good points but overall your argument is flawed. Introducing neutral umpires is not an issue but improving the quality of existing umpires is what the issue is so why rollback something that has brought a lot of good to the game to mask the need for better training for umpires. At the very least, training umpires to use technology effectively. Also, remember with technology like hot spot etc.the umpires are now contending with things like real time vs a million replays.

  • on July 25, 2013, 11:12 GMT

    Great article! 2001 was a long time ago but I still have memories of the match. The euphoria of the victory was tapered by some doubtful umpiring decisions that went in India's favour, particularly in the last two days. Apart from the ones you mentioned, Laxman and Dravid also benefited from some very close calls going their way on day 4 of the test match. When a team is winning, like the Aussies were during that period, it normally is less vociferous with its complaints. This may be due to the reduced public pressure on the team and absence of media scrutiny that an inconsistent run brings about. I dare say, the Aussies in their current state, would have latched on to every one of the decisions that went against them. On a separate note, I agree with you on the standard of Indian umpires. Barring Venkat, India has not produced a single world class umpire.

  • raghav355 on July 25, 2013, 6:59 GMT

    Mate, both Steve Waugh and Jason Gillespie were plumb leg-before! And they were not given out! Such decisions used to even out in those days. To impute a bias on the part of the umpires is positively defamatory. Why are underachieving Indians like yourself so diffident about acknowledging the success of our national icons?

  • vatsap on July 25, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    Ha ha ...but the irony of it all, the worst decision was to give VVS out LBW in the first innings of a front foot sweep attempt. Dunno who the umpire was. The way Laxman was batting there was a very minute chance of avoiding the follow on and who knows what would have happened.

    But right on, the umpiring was not up to standards. Before neutral umpires, I guess every abroad trip was mired with umpiring controversy's.

  • 777aditya on July 25, 2013, 6:05 GMT

    wow! is this Pandora's box or what?! Akash Chopra is really courageous to have written this article. Wonder what effect it may have on his fledgling career as a columnist and commentator? Because when it comes to BCCI, they rule with an iron curtain. Everyone seems to have forgotten match fixing/spot fixing in IPL already!

  • on July 25, 2013, 4:30 GMT

    And that's why Australia and Steve Bucknor took revenge in Sydney in 2007-08 series !!!

  • wrenx on July 25, 2013, 2:39 GMT

    @ntalgeri I don't understand your point; your saying we should remember all the bad umpiring that has ever gone on, but when it favours India it means it is a great series?

  • PFEL on July 25, 2013, 0:30 GMT

    Indian fans are not going to like this article, for the exact reasons mentioned in the article itself. Ironic. Stand by for a plethora of excuses.

  • Naresh28 on July 29, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    The Elite Umpire panel and training are best for the game like now. Use of technology is now making umpires like robots and I feel the power should remain in their hands. No use writing an article going back to those days when the level of umpiring was generally bad and trying to view it from a modern perspective. The best umpire has left the game and is now a commentator. Thus technology is reducing the job of the umpire and causing controversies.

  • ntalgeri on July 27, 2013, 23:45 GMT

    @rishwolfhound: The title of the blog is the issue - calling it India's Collective Vow of Silence is implying that the whole Indian nation is guilty of wrongdoing and has sealed her lips about it. It's nothing more than a cheapshot by a wannabe journalist who knows that attacking the BCCI is the fastest claim to fame in today's world. He chose a wrong topic though - the umpiring in that series falls pale in comparison to the patriotic deeds of Steve Randall, Darrel Hair, Peter Willey, Khizar Hayat, Shakoor "finger pointing" Rana etc. over the years. So why single out Bansal?

  • AD_US on July 27, 2013, 16:55 GMT

    You do make a few good points but overall your argument is flawed. Introducing neutral umpires is not an issue but improving the quality of existing umpires is what the issue is so why rollback something that has brought a lot of good to the game to mask the need for better training for umpires. At the very least, training umpires to use technology effectively. Also, remember with technology like hot spot etc.the umpires are now contending with things like real time vs a million replays.

  • on July 25, 2013, 11:12 GMT

    Great article! 2001 was a long time ago but I still have memories of the match. The euphoria of the victory was tapered by some doubtful umpiring decisions that went in India's favour, particularly in the last two days. Apart from the ones you mentioned, Laxman and Dravid also benefited from some very close calls going their way on day 4 of the test match. When a team is winning, like the Aussies were during that period, it normally is less vociferous with its complaints. This may be due to the reduced public pressure on the team and absence of media scrutiny that an inconsistent run brings about. I dare say, the Aussies in their current state, would have latched on to every one of the decisions that went against them. On a separate note, I agree with you on the standard of Indian umpires. Barring Venkat, India has not produced a single world class umpire.

  • raghav355 on July 25, 2013, 6:59 GMT

    Mate, both Steve Waugh and Jason Gillespie were plumb leg-before! And they were not given out! Such decisions used to even out in those days. To impute a bias on the part of the umpires is positively defamatory. Why are underachieving Indians like yourself so diffident about acknowledging the success of our national icons?

  • vatsap on July 25, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    Ha ha ...but the irony of it all, the worst decision was to give VVS out LBW in the first innings of a front foot sweep attempt. Dunno who the umpire was. The way Laxman was batting there was a very minute chance of avoiding the follow on and who knows what would have happened.

    But right on, the umpiring was not up to standards. Before neutral umpires, I guess every abroad trip was mired with umpiring controversy's.

  • 777aditya on July 25, 2013, 6:05 GMT

    wow! is this Pandora's box or what?! Akash Chopra is really courageous to have written this article. Wonder what effect it may have on his fledgling career as a columnist and commentator? Because when it comes to BCCI, they rule with an iron curtain. Everyone seems to have forgotten match fixing/spot fixing in IPL already!

  • on July 25, 2013, 4:30 GMT

    And that's why Australia and Steve Bucknor took revenge in Sydney in 2007-08 series !!!

  • wrenx on July 25, 2013, 2:39 GMT

    @ntalgeri I don't understand your point; your saying we should remember all the bad umpiring that has ever gone on, but when it favours India it means it is a great series?

  • PFEL on July 25, 2013, 0:30 GMT

    Indian fans are not going to like this article, for the exact reasons mentioned in the article itself. Ironic. Stand by for a plethora of excuses.

  • on July 24, 2013, 20:02 GMT

    Steven Waugh, in his autobiography categorically mentions that contrary to what some had felt, Umpire Bansal's decisions on last day were all correct. Ian Chappel, live on air, said something like "Umpire Bansal has given three and he has got all correct." And here we have someone smelling more rats than the entire city of Hamelin could accommodate... Or yet another instance of the perverse pleasure we indians get out of self flagellation? At least the Ball hit Mcgrath and Warney's pads...not the shoulders...Remember Sachin Tendulkar LBW--two years earlier, down under-- by an 'elite' umpire? In fact, most of Sachin's decision in 1999 and 2004 tours by 'top' umpires featured errors, that would put to shame a club level umpires...

  • armchairjohnny on July 24, 2013, 14:47 GMT

    @amygdala is spot on. It is sad to see Indian journalists have to resort to such extreme measures to garner attention. Move on and stop bringing up dead wood. If we took the time to analyze all the series India were thwarted in because of bad umpiring, we would be here for an eternity.

  • ARad on July 24, 2013, 14:42 GMT

    Good article. We need to move in the right direction and neutral umpires are best for cricket since, otherwise, every mistake made by an umpire would be unnecessarily attributed to bias even if they are genuine mistakes. Use of DRS is also a move in the right direction since even when there are human errors (because of or despite DRS), OVERALL analysis shows that it gives us better results.

  • on July 24, 2013, 14:34 GMT

    Typo in my previous comment.. I have got no idea why the author is complaining about umpiring bias in that Kolkata test. Ok, Gilchrist's first innings dismissal was a wrong decision, apart from that there are not any decisions which you can point at and say that they were howlers. First innings: Warne : people say there was no clear evidence to give that out, but then there was no clear evidence to overrule umpire's call either, which was OUT. You can look at the dismissal and judge for yourself. There's nothing else to debate about in the first innings. Second innings: Gilchrist: It was plumb lbw as he himself has admitted in his autobiography, Hayden: It might have missed the leg stump but by no means is it an howler, and such decisions are always made (even now). Mcgrath: He wasn't offering a shot, and you cannot definitely say it wasn't hitting the stumps. You can talk about umpiring bias only if there are multiple howlers, and not if marginal decisions go the home team's way.

  • electric_loco_WAP4 on July 24, 2013, 14:22 GMT

    Fantastic article . The old saying ,'Those who stay in glass....' Hope the Indians are reminded next time they start pointing at others.

  • stk4191 on July 24, 2013, 11:27 GMT

    an excellent and impartial article. We do create a lot of ruckus (the media at least) when decisions goes against us on foreign tours.. if we count the number of howlers our Indian umpires used to give wen foreign teams came here(prior DRS, tech aids)..and the magnitude of those decisions in the context of the game...one word "pathetic".. at least after a decade someone has the courage to initiate a debate on it !

  • balajik1968 on July 24, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    The same charges of partisanship could be laid at the door of many umpires. I remember a tale about an NZ umpire. Chandrasekhar was almost continuously trapping a Kiwi batsman in front or getting him caught, only for the umpire to repeatedly refuse the appeals. Finally Chandra bowled him and turned to the umpire. The umpire reportedly snapped 'Can't you see he is bowled?' Chandra replied "I know he is bowled. Is he out?". This was from one of the most mild mannered men around. Pakistan had a running battle with David Constant. Many teams had a problem with Darrel Hair (and I am not talking about the Asian teams).

  • Clan_McLachlan on July 24, 2013, 9:45 GMT

    Good article, and it's true that home umpires were often less than impartial. It's not an Indian phenomenon though. These days with TV and the DRS it's much less of a problem. We should remember each time we fret about players referring a marginal decision - this is better than having a home umpire who can get away with giving blatant howlers out.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on July 24, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    Interesting article, though I fear Akarsh seems to have a pretty selective memory. I remember at least 2 poor decisions that the Indians copped. And the McGrath leg before was debatable, but by no means a poor one. As for 'patriotic' umpiring, it was a global phenomenon in the old days- not something unique to India. Every side benefited from its (un)fair share of it.

  • on July 24, 2013, 9:17 GMT

    An article that could have been a much better read if written properly.It was too light hearted to be taken seriously or appear factual & too insulting to be satirical or humorous.

    A more balanced view rather than solely blaming Indian umpires would have been a better way to go.You make it sound as though the umpires won the test for India which could not be further from the truth as the partnership between Dravid-Laxman was a once in a life-time affair.Hence the public will always correctly remember it for such a special turnaround than umpiring errors.

    If your logic is to be taken seriously then we should remember World Cup 2003 final for an umpiring error when a close lbw decision against Ponting was overruled but people don't do that because the impact of Ponting's majestic 100 was more than a plausible error.

  • Longmemory on July 24, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    Thank you Akarsh - you are a brave and intelligent man. I agree entirely. You just have to look at Bansal making those decisions to realize the man was utterly partisan and anything but neutral. The same is true for Jayaprakash (who was actually quite a good allrounder when he played Ranji trophy cricket for Karnataka) and his umpiring that bestowed the ten-for on Kumble.

    As for all you fans immediately chiming in that home umpires are biased in other countries as well - that is precisely Akarsh's point.

  • KishorKumar25 on July 24, 2013, 6:50 GMT

    Loved this article, it brings out that cunning smile in my face, I have witnessed many crucial moments going against the opponents of India, yet I enjoyed them :) Hardcore fans we are

  • Sarathc90 on July 24, 2013, 5:59 GMT

    I personally think this whole 'Sachin Tendulkar is a holy cow in India' is a myth. From my experience Tendulkar is criticized just as much as others, if not more; certainly not less. A snide remark on Tendulkar and his fans in an article that has nothing to do with him only serves to increase the visibility of the author and his article and perhaps earn him a few brownie points from those who have bought into the myth. Nonetheless, it is certainly in poor taste.

  • akajaria on July 24, 2013, 5:24 GMT

    Scathing article .... but true partially - the umpiring, or rather, the entire match was overshadowed by the Laxman-Dravid partnership ... but thats testimony to how spectacular it was! Not necessarily a "deliberate" glossing over... If I remember correctly, this was also the match where Jason Gillespie nicked a ball as clear as Stuart Broad in the Ashes c. 2013 - and the umpire reprieved him enroute to a potentially game changing partnership with Waugh. Umpiring standards were poor? Yes. Umpiring Bias? I'm not so sure

  • amygdala on July 24, 2013, 5:06 GMT

    Akarsh, the pointlessness of this article stands out in the greater scheme of things. There are a few points I would like to make. First and foremost, cricket is a game played by humans and supervised by humans, so errors are bound to occur. They occur even today with Aleem Dar, incidentally by far the best umpire now, as with the Bansals and Jayprakash's of this world. And Aleem Dar's (or anyone else's) errors also decide matches who no one knows could have gone any way had those decisions not been there. The point here is, errors are made and will be made. Have Australia or any nation not benefited from stark erroneous decision ever? If yes, why should umpiring errors be made to stand out in a series which was otherwise fought valiantly and rightly so is remembered for the Dravid-Laxman show! Akarsh, get over this umpiring thing man. Even a game as rich and widely followed as football is struggling to get goal line tech on board as decisions at KEY moments can go horribly wrong.

  • on July 24, 2013, 4:54 GMT

    IIRC, India won all six tests that Bansal stood in! Coincidence?!!

  • StarsnStumps on July 24, 2013, 4:36 GMT

    Wow!! You're a brave man not for pointing out the patriotic umpiring that's true the world over but for saying this:

    "No remark can be accepted against the actions of Sachin Tendulkar, even if he unnecessarily paddle-sweeps his way back to the pavilion."

    a nice and impartial article.

    Enjoy the social boycott.

  • RSairam on July 24, 2013, 4:24 GMT

    "One of the greatest endorsements of the need for neutral and qualified umpires? Definitely"

    Why only this series sir? I guess the author started watching cricket only in 2001? Or are you a secular writer (trying to get mileage by Indian umpires bashing)?

    Please go watch footage of 1998 series in Aus (where there were atleast 3 dubious calls), not to mention Aus/SL/Pak tests where umpires always had a say in the series. My humble opinion is an umpire can be neutral regardless of what match is going on. Infact the concept of neutral umpire sucks. Any Aussie umpire would love to watch Eng lose (against any nation). The element of bias is on the mind but it is about executing duties without bias.

    Elite panel - yes. but neutral umpire - No

  • ntalgeri on July 24, 2013, 3:53 GMT

    A pointless article and expected reactions by some Pakistani fans. By that logic, almost every series involving Australia in Australia during their "glorius run" evoke silence. Remember Michael Holding's habit of keeping a score of decisions gone against the visiting team in Australia? He did that every series. And what about years of ridiculous pro-Pakistani umpiring in Sharjah under Imran's "glory days"? It is hardly ironic that eventually, the UAE became Pakistan's 'home ground'. Cyril Mitchley in SA, Francis in SL the list is endless.

    It was a great series and that's that.

  • on July 24, 2013, 3:11 GMT

    I must appreciate the way the writer presented his views. However, if his intention is to poke fun at 2001 Kolkata test umpiring and trying to win some brownie points from non-Indians he is not getting any. Mr. Akash Sharma, how long have you been watching cricket on TV? Have you ever watched Australian umpires in their home country umpiring against, especially against Asian countries ( exclude Simon Taufel, he is an exception).

    Fist get some footage of that and then starting posting in cricinfo. I am not justiying mr. Bansal's umpiring here, but dont try to oversell his Indian umpires in very negative way. Stop this rubbish. if you want to post on umpiring, then post on all umpires who made howlers repeatedly. Reserve your selective bashing of umpires to some other place. Its agreed that Indian umpires have not been very good offlate for various reasons, but dont try to make a living on bashing on them AND trying to take away the sheen of victory in 2001 series is just hypocritical

  • khiladisher on July 24, 2013, 2:36 GMT

    This was the great test match where the might of Australia was humbled and set tone for future Indian domination of World Cricket reaching the zenith of # 1 Test team,World Champions in T20 as well One Day Cricket.

  • on July 24, 2013, 2:23 GMT

    Great to see a purely objective article, having not a trace of even inadvertant bias. I just wish other journalists could be as impartial.

    Ironically, it becomes a rare endorsement for home journalists, rather than neutral-country journalists. :)

  • on July 24, 2013, 1:56 GMT

    excellent article and reference been used I think anil kumble's 10 should also get a mention in this article somewhere but if that would be done than sharma ji that wouldn't be wise I guess

  • on July 23, 2013, 23:02 GMT

    also don't forget kumble's 10 wicket haul against Pak was also due to courtesy of umpires

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  • on July 23, 2013, 23:02 GMT

    also don't forget kumble's 10 wicket haul against Pak was also due to courtesy of umpires

  • on July 24, 2013, 1:56 GMT

    excellent article and reference been used I think anil kumble's 10 should also get a mention in this article somewhere but if that would be done than sharma ji that wouldn't be wise I guess

  • on July 24, 2013, 2:23 GMT

    Great to see a purely objective article, having not a trace of even inadvertant bias. I just wish other journalists could be as impartial.

    Ironically, it becomes a rare endorsement for home journalists, rather than neutral-country journalists. :)

  • khiladisher on July 24, 2013, 2:36 GMT

    This was the great test match where the might of Australia was humbled and set tone for future Indian domination of World Cricket reaching the zenith of # 1 Test team,World Champions in T20 as well One Day Cricket.

  • on July 24, 2013, 3:11 GMT

    I must appreciate the way the writer presented his views. However, if his intention is to poke fun at 2001 Kolkata test umpiring and trying to win some brownie points from non-Indians he is not getting any. Mr. Akash Sharma, how long have you been watching cricket on TV? Have you ever watched Australian umpires in their home country umpiring against, especially against Asian countries ( exclude Simon Taufel, he is an exception).

    Fist get some footage of that and then starting posting in cricinfo. I am not justiying mr. Bansal's umpiring here, but dont try to oversell his Indian umpires in very negative way. Stop this rubbish. if you want to post on umpiring, then post on all umpires who made howlers repeatedly. Reserve your selective bashing of umpires to some other place. Its agreed that Indian umpires have not been very good offlate for various reasons, but dont try to make a living on bashing on them AND trying to take away the sheen of victory in 2001 series is just hypocritical

  • ntalgeri on July 24, 2013, 3:53 GMT

    A pointless article and expected reactions by some Pakistani fans. By that logic, almost every series involving Australia in Australia during their "glorius run" evoke silence. Remember Michael Holding's habit of keeping a score of decisions gone against the visiting team in Australia? He did that every series. And what about years of ridiculous pro-Pakistani umpiring in Sharjah under Imran's "glory days"? It is hardly ironic that eventually, the UAE became Pakistan's 'home ground'. Cyril Mitchley in SA, Francis in SL the list is endless.

    It was a great series and that's that.

  • RSairam on July 24, 2013, 4:24 GMT

    "One of the greatest endorsements of the need for neutral and qualified umpires? Definitely"

    Why only this series sir? I guess the author started watching cricket only in 2001? Or are you a secular writer (trying to get mileage by Indian umpires bashing)?

    Please go watch footage of 1998 series in Aus (where there were atleast 3 dubious calls), not to mention Aus/SL/Pak tests where umpires always had a say in the series. My humble opinion is an umpire can be neutral regardless of what match is going on. Infact the concept of neutral umpire sucks. Any Aussie umpire would love to watch Eng lose (against any nation). The element of bias is on the mind but it is about executing duties without bias.

    Elite panel - yes. but neutral umpire - No

  • StarsnStumps on July 24, 2013, 4:36 GMT

    Wow!! You're a brave man not for pointing out the patriotic umpiring that's true the world over but for saying this:

    "No remark can be accepted against the actions of Sachin Tendulkar, even if he unnecessarily paddle-sweeps his way back to the pavilion."

    a nice and impartial article.

    Enjoy the social boycott.

  • on July 24, 2013, 4:54 GMT

    IIRC, India won all six tests that Bansal stood in! Coincidence?!!

  • amygdala on July 24, 2013, 5:06 GMT

    Akarsh, the pointlessness of this article stands out in the greater scheme of things. There are a few points I would like to make. First and foremost, cricket is a game played by humans and supervised by humans, so errors are bound to occur. They occur even today with Aleem Dar, incidentally by far the best umpire now, as with the Bansals and Jayprakash's of this world. And Aleem Dar's (or anyone else's) errors also decide matches who no one knows could have gone any way had those decisions not been there. The point here is, errors are made and will be made. Have Australia or any nation not benefited from stark erroneous decision ever? If yes, why should umpiring errors be made to stand out in a series which was otherwise fought valiantly and rightly so is remembered for the Dravid-Laxman show! Akarsh, get over this umpiring thing man. Even a game as rich and widely followed as football is struggling to get goal line tech on board as decisions at KEY moments can go horribly wrong.