Former ICC umpire Daryl Harper has said he is "extremely proud" of his controversial 'shoulder-before-wicket' decision which had Sachin Tendulkar walk back for a duck at the Adelaide Oval in 1999 despite the backlash he received back then. Tendulkar was given out lbw by Harper after he ducked into a Glenn McGrath delivery during the second innings of the Test, which India went on to lose.
"I look back on that 'Tenducker' decision every day of my life," Harper told Asianet Newsable. "It's not that I sleep badly or have nightmares and replays dancing through my brain. When I walk through my garage, I am confronted by a huge canvas print of Sachin and Glenn McGrath, taken momentarily after the ball made contact.
"You may be disappointed to know that I'm still extremely proud of that decision because I considered the action before me and applied the law without fear or favour."
Harper was at centre of controversy again in 2011 after he was criticised for a series of umpiring errors during India's tour of West Indies. During the first Test in Jamaica, Harper had suspended Praveen Kumar from the attack for repeatedly running on the pitch, to which the then-captain MS Dhoni allegedly reacted by saying, "we've had problems with you before, Daryl." Dhoni also publicly remarked about the umpiring at the post-match press conference.
Harper retired from umpiring after that match, two weeks before his contract was due to expire, and had later questioned ICC's decision to not punish Dhoni for his comments, saying he had felt targeted by the Indian team during the game.
"After the Test was won by India, MS [Dhoni] was reported to have said to the media assembled that the players would have been back in their hotel rooms earlier if the umpires had made the correct decisions," Harper said, recalling the incident. "It's true... but they would have been back earlier if the Indian fieldsmen had taken their catches as well. Sometimes I wished I could have attended those post-match press conferences on a regular basis in order to set the record straight."
"It did turn out to be my final Test, but my contract was due to expire two weeks later after the third Test in Dominica so the end was close, regardless of any comments by MS Dhoni or anyone else.
"I accepted that I had made two incorrect decisions during the match and some other moments could not be determined with the available technology. I didn't have a clean sheet and that always disappointed me when it happened, but my decision-making statistics in Tests with India were second to none at the time."