Denness might have achieved the impossible

A negative emotion like anger can sometimes stoke enough fire in the belly which results in enhanced performance

Woorkheri Raman

November 21, 2001

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A negative emotion like anger can sometimes stoke enough fire in the belly which results in enhanced performance. That's precisely what happened at the St. George's Park in Port Elizabeth on the final day. Mike Denness with his bizarre ruling has made this a memorable Test in more ways than one. He has docked more than half the side for some reason or the other with suspensions and fines.

Getting back to cricket, the rookie opener Deep Dasgupta did a fantastic job by applying himself like a seasoned campaigner. He showed good judgement, extraordinary resolve and sound temperament. His innings was one of admirable concentration as was Dravid's. These two put an end to whatever hopes Pollock and his men entertained of winning the Test.

Dravid has once again demonstrated that he is best suited to bat at onedrop especially on foreign soil. His steely character came to the fore when he was under pressure to put up runs against his name. He could not have chosen a better occasion to get back into form. The Indian vice-captain is surely one batsman I would pick from this line up for grinding any attack under any conditions.

Rahul Dravid
© AFP
While Dravid had the experience to withstand the pressure-cooker situation, no one would have imagined that Dasgupta would play such a stellar role. He stood up to the challenge and the provoking asides from the South African bowlers with a cool head. One would have been hard pressed to believe he was just playing in his second Test. His maiden half-century would go down as one of the best innings in recent times considering the circumstances.

At the end of the day, every Indian can take pride from the fact that the Indian batsmen battled hard and forced a draw rather than through Mother Nature helping them. It has to be noted that the light failed every evening and as such full credit must be given to Ganguly's gang. Ganguly and Tendulkar negotiated the new ball in the closing stages of the match safely and it was evident that the two teams enjoyed healthy relations from the manner in which they shook hands after the game.

Albeit everything being on even keel the Indians were mauled by some one not even on the field. The ICC match referee, Mike Denness, came down heavily on the Indians and his handling of the situation can only be termed as a sick joke. He failed to realise that sometimes the spirit of the law is a factor before any judgement is meted out. If he deemed that the Indians' disregard for procedures as laid in the laws of the game should be punished severely, then he is also guilty of the same folly as he has not followed the procedures laid out in the ICC manual for referees. One wonders if the ICC will ban Denness for his misdemeanor.

Mike Denness
© CricInfo
Denness has in a way done a favour for the Indian players. His conduct has made the BCCI back the players strongly, which has never happened on a consistent basis in the past. The BCCI deserves to be appreciated for their strong reactions because it was about time that the referees stopped docking the Indian players on their whims and fancies. Denness forced the ICC and the cricketing World with his zealous decisions, to have serious re-think. If the ICC does act, then Denness should go down in cricket history as a person who achieved the impossible.

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