Umpire Daryl Harper has responded to India's criticism of his umpiring in the first Test of the ongoing Test series in the West Indies, saying he got 94% of his decisions in the match right. He did, however, concede he made two errors in the game.
Harper's comments came in a feisty written statement to Indian television channel Headlines Today, his first public statement since withdrawing from the third India-West Indies Test "in the wake of some unfair criticism".
"I didn't have my best game of the year but [match] referee Jeff Crowe, who observed every ball, calculated that I had managed to get 94% of all my decisions correct," Harper said. "That analysis was confirmed from [ICC] headquarters in Dubai."
He conceded two errors on his part. "There was one lbw against Harbhajan [Singh, in the second innings of the first Test] that would have been reversed had the Decision Review System been available. I also failed to detect a no-ball when [Devendra] Bishoo's back foot touched the side or return crease [a delivery off which MS Dhoni was dismissed in the same innings]." Harper defended that error, saying instances of bowlers cutting the side crease were rare. "It's about as common as Indians eating beef burgers."
Harper also said while he was certain Virat Kohli gloved the ball to the wicketkeeper in that innings, video footage of the ball was inconclusive. "He flashed wide of his body at a short ball that passed well away from him down the leg side. He clearly gloved the ball and was given out. Replays could not confirm that my decision was right and they could not confirm my decision was wrong."
The Indians' on-field actions, Harper said, were not always in the spirit of the game. "West Indies expressed concern over Indian players' habit of charging at umpires when appealing, which is against the spirit of the game." His rapport with Dhoni during the debated Test, he admitted, was not the best: "We did not share many pleasantries in the match."
Harper has officiated in 95 Tests, 174 ODIs and 10 Twenty20 internationals, making his international ODI debut in 1994 at Perth and his Test debut in November 1998. He was dropped in May from the Elite Panel of ICC Umpires, along with Asoka de Silva, after criticism of his performances.