Former Test umpire SN Hanumantha Rao has died in Bangalore. He was 83 years old. Rao stood in nine Tests and two ODIs from 1978 to 1983. He also went on to become a BCCI match referee. He is survived by his wife, two sons and one daughter.
"The president, office bearers and the members of the managing committee of the Karnataka State Cricket Association deeply regret the sad and sudden demise of former Test umpire Sri SN Hanumantha Rao. May his soul rest in peace," KSCA said in a release.
Like it is often with umpires and wicketkeepers, it was a mistake of his that became famous. In his case, though, that mistake was corrected by a fellow Kannadiga, and became a glowing example of sportsmanship. In the Golden Jubilee Test, in Bombay in 1979-80, Rao ruled Bob Taylor out caught at the wicket off the bowling of Kapil Dev. Taylor protested, but walked off. India's captain, Gundappa Viswanath, fielding at slip, was convinced Taylor had not edged the ball, and persuaded Rao to overturn the decision.
Rao agreed, and Taylor was called back. It didn't matter that the incident came around at a crucial juncture of the Test, and could have reduced England to 143 for 6 in reply to India's 242. By the time that sixth-wicket partnership ended, England had reached 229. England went on to win the Test by 10 wickets.