India in Pakistan 2003-04 March 16, 2004

Third-umpire error, and selection issues

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Until the end of the Indian tour of Pakistan, we will be running a daily Paper Round of what newspapers in India and Pakistan, and from around the world, are saying about this series. This is what the media had to report today:

Moin Khan trudges back as Pakistan lose the first ODI at Karachi. © Getty Images

Did an error by the third umpire cost Pakistan the one-day international at Karachi? The News, a Pakistan daily, reports that Moin Khan, and not Naved-ul-Hasan, should have taken strike to the last ball of the penultimate over of the match. The confusion arose after Mohammad Kaif took a magnificent catch in the deep to dismiss Shoaib Malik, at which stage Pakistan required ten runs in seven balls.

Quoting a source, the daily says that Simon Taufel, one of the on-field umpires, went by the instruction of Asad Rauf, the third umpire, and allowed Hasan to take strike. "Taufel went by what the third umpire had to say, thinking Moin had not crossed over when Kaif took the catch. But the problem was that Asad Rauf miscalculated the number of balls in that over and thought that the over was complete. But since Moin had crossed over he told Taufel that not Moin but Rana Naveed [ul-Hasan] should take strike," the paper quoted the source as saying. "Rauf only realised his mistake when he saw Zaheer Khan continuing with his over, but made no attempt to convey to Taufel that he had made a mistake." Hasan took a single off that ball which meant that he kept strike for the final over.

The daily also states that though the Pakistan management had made no formal complaint, Rauf had been pulled up by Ranjan Madugalle, the match referee, for the error.

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Andy Atkinson, the curator in charge of the pitches for the series, has hit out at the charge that the track for the first ODI was loaded in favour of the batsman. In a report in The Indian Express, Atkinson called the wicket "very fair" and said it was a typical one-day pitch. "For the past decade the wickets in one-day cricket are tailormade to suit batsmen. This is because people come to watch fours and sixes, and nothing else. Pitches are supposed to be like this."

However, Atkinson did promise that the wickets for the Tests would be far more bowler-friendly. "You want a contest, wait till the Tests. It is more of a connoisseur's delight and the bowlers will have a good time then."

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Wasim Bari, Pakistan's chief selector, has denied that there were any differences between the selectors and Inzamam-ul-Haq over the composition of Pakistan's team for the first ODI at Karachi. According to The News, Bari made it clear that the selectors had given Inzamam full powers to select the team he wanted.

"What we wanted to do was give Inzamam a boost before the first match of the series," Bari told the daily. "We left it to him to pick the playing eleven. He was confident in going along with five bowlers and we said okay, it is your call. And this move to give him confidence worked and it showed in the way he batted in the match."

Earlier reports in the media had suggested the selectors were disappointed that only five bowlers were picked in the side, and that Shahid Afridi had been omitted. Bari did make it clear, though, that Pakistan would go in with six bowlers for the second match, at Rawalpindi.

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After the exemplary behaviour of the spectators in Karachi, all eyes are now on the Rawalpindi fans. Press Trust of India reports that the district government of Rawalpindi has brought out an eight-point appeal to the crowd, urging them to "exercise maximum restraint and show the highest norms of hospitality and discipline" during the second ODI. The appeal also requests the fans not to bring in "glass bottles, mobile phones and other metallic substances into the enclosure for your own safety and for that of the players".