Poor umpiring in first ODI helped India

Suresh Raina (L) celebrates with Harbhajan Singh when he takes the wicket of Marlon Samuels AFP

By Ashish Shukla

Port of Spain (Trinidad): Jun 8, 2011

India appeared to have been at the receiving end of poor umpiring decisions in the first ODI against West Indies but at the end they might have left thanking their Cricket Board which had opposed the use of Decision Review System.

The West Indian innings on Monday appeared a tale of vengeance by the Caribbeans for having been browbeaten on giving up on UDRS by the BCCI with several of their players surviving what appeared to be clear dismissals.

But, all these seemed to have been neutralised as Rohit Sharma, who scored a match-winning 68, could have been out early in his innings had the Umpires’ Decision Review System been used.

The UDRS was not used in the series as the BCCI was not in favour of it.

Ramnaresh Sarwan and Marlon Samuels appeared to have a licence to survive as time and again an Indian appeal for leg-before wicket against them were turned down.

Leg-spinner Amit Mishra has been resigned to his fate for most part of his career but even he was given to exasperation when twice he went up in appeal against Sarwan and twice umpire struck a statuesque pose.

First, in the 22nd over, Mishra ripped one past Sarwan’s defence but the umpire was unmoved. Fourteen overs apart, another one drifted down the legside and hit Sarwan on the backpad as he tried to sweep. Again no luck.

For a non-bowler, Suresh Raina thought he had the bowling Oscar when his fullish delivery beat Sarwan’s intended flick and hit him plumb in front of stumps. No mercy again.

Not that the spinners, the nemesis of West Indians presently, were the only marked ones. Praveen Kumar bowled a leg-cutter which cut back to head towards the middle stump of Marlon Samuels. Umpire was unmoved again.

All the replays were to show that if UDRS was available, Indians would have been celebrating and cutting short of the West Indian innings much before they made 214 on a terribly hot day.

It was not long though that the Indians also appeared to have benefitted from the absence of UDRS.

Rohit Sharma was on 13 when leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo skidded one on to him, landing it on middle and leg and straightening. Sharma hurriedly brought his bat down but it was clear the ball had hit the pad first and then the bat.

Replays showed it a plumb decision.

Sharma went on to play a match-winning hand of 68 runs and Indians were left thanking a board and a gentlemen by the name Ian Gould who really played the role of a neutral umpire to the hilt. All that went before in the day was neutralised in this manner.