Tag: Sachin Tendulkar

Records are broken once

Once a record is broken it does not remain a record. Once Sunil Gavaskar hit 30th Test century he broke Don Bradman’s record of highest or most Test centuries. Afterwards it was Sunil Gavaskar’s record and not Don Bradman’s record. Sunil Gavaskar ended his career with 34 centuries. When Sachin Tendulkar hit 35th Test century he broke Sunil Gavaskar’s record and continues to hold the record with 51 centuries. After Sunil Gavaskar whenever someone hit 30th century he did not break Don Bradman’s record because there was no record. It is wrong to speak of Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting, Jaques Kallis and Rahul Dravid breaking Don Bradman’s record. When Rahul Dravid hit 34th Test century he equalled the number of Sunil Gavaskar’s centuries but did not equal his record because there was no record.

In bowling Muthaiah Muralitharan holds the record of 800 Test wickets. If someone surpasses the tally of Frederick Trueman, Lancelot Gibbs, Dennis Lille, Ian Botham, Richard Hadlee, Kapil Dev, Courtney Walsh or Share Warne he does not break the record of highest Test wickets.

The record for highest wickets in a Test, 19, is held by Jim Laker. The record for highest wickets in a Test Innings, 10, is held by Jim Laker and Anil Kumble.

In fielding someone had the record of six Test catches by a fielder other than wicketkeeper. Over the years 11 others equalled the record. Then Greg Chappell broke that record with seven catches.

A record may be equalled many times but can be broken only once.

Ian Bell out and in

On 31/7/2011 at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, it was the last ball before tea break. Ian Bell and Eoin Morgan had completed three runs. Ian Bell thought the ball had cleared the boundary and he left his place and walked towards Eoin Morgan. The umpire had not signalled boundary. Praveen Kumar had stopped the ball. He threw it to Mahendra Singh Dhoni. From Dhoni it went to Abhinav Mukund who dislodged the bails. Indians appealed. The field umpires referred it to third umpire who ruled Ian Bell out.

The matter should have rested there. But English players were aghast. The crowd was angry. As per reports English captain Andrew Strauss and English coach Andy Flower came to India’s dressing room and asked Dhoni to withdraw the appeal. Dhoni held a meeting with players and some were for withdrawal and some were against withdrawal. Ultimately Dhoni decided to withdraw the appeal and India’s coach Duncan Fletcher went to umpire Billy Bowden and informed India was withdrawing the appeal.

Much has been said by some that the appeal was “against the spirit of the game”. What is the spirit of the game? Ian Bell made a mistake in assuming the ball was dead. He should have checked whether the umpire had signalled four runs. The ball was not dead. As he later said “According to the rules, I should have been out. But both teams played a massive role towards the spirit of the game.” Spirit of the game requires that you accept umpire’s decisions, more so when you know according to rules you are out. England did not play any role towards the spirit of the game. Asking Indians to withdraw the appeal was against the spirit of the game. Ian Bell was on 137 at the time and finally out on 159 bowled Yuvraj Singh. If the crowd created problem it is for the host country to control it.

Rahul Dravid said “We thought what if it was one of our batsmen in Bell’s position. We wouldn’t have liked it if V. V. S. Laxman or Sachin Tendulkar was out in such a way.” In 1999 Sachin Tendulkar was run out in Calcutta when Shoaib Akhtar had blocked his way. The crowd was angry. Sachin Tendulkar appealed to the people to remain calm. That did not pacify the people. The Test concluded without the crowd to watch. India lost the Test.

Dhoni should not have withdrawn the appeal. As captain he is responsible. Those who play Test cricket should know the rules and accept the verdicts. Ian Bell has played Test cricket for many years. Withdrawing appeal is not generosity but foolishness. In 1980 in Golden Jubilee Test in Bombay an English player was given out. He appealed to India’s captain G. R. Vishwanath to allow him to continue. Vishwanath allowed him to continue. The batsman hit a century. India lost the Test. Vishwanath lost his captaincy.

In 1987 World Cup in a group match Courtney Walsh was bowling the last ball of the match. Abdul Qadir was ahead of the crease and Courtney Walsh had the chance to run him out and West Indies would have won by one run. He did not do it. Pakistan scored two runs off the ball and won. West Indies were out of World Cup.

The Ian Bell incident is similar to Alvin Kallicharan incident that took place in West Indies in 1974. It was the last ball of the day. Alvin Kallicharan was the non-striker. He was on 142. Bernard Julien was the striker. He had played the last ball. The players had begun to return. Umpires had not said “Over”. Tony Greig was fielding at silly point. He collected the ball and dislodged the bails of Kallicharan’s stumps and appealed. The umpire ruled Kallicharan out. The crowd was angry. West Indian and English officials had a meeting. At that time there were rest days during Tests. Rest day was advanced to next day. For the first time in Test cricket, umpire’s decision was reversed and Alvin Kallicharan was allowed to play. He was out on 158.

Where was the spirit of the game when V. V. S. Laxman was not given out when a Hot Spot decision went in his favour and Stuart Broad went to check his bat? Michael Vaughan tweeted that there was Vaseline on Laxman’s bat though he put the tweet as a question. When Gavaskar suggested Laxman should sue Vaughan he backtracked and said sense of humour required and did not accuse Laxman of using Vaseline. Ravi Shastri asked how did Vaughan know if Vaseline is used Hot Spot is not effective. He should have done it. Anyway, this controversy put a question mark over Hot Spot.

Shane Warne put it rightly “What a last delivery before tea – huge controversy. Much as we don’t like to see dismissals like that, no doubt – out!”

Cricketers and walking

There are people who praise cricketers who walk without the umpire having given them out and criticize cricketers who do not walk without the umpire having given them out. A batsman has to do his job and the umpire has to do his job. If a batsman is not out but the umpire gives him out he has to go. Umpire’s decision has to be followed.

Cricket is a team game and when a player represents his country he has to think of the consequences for his team and country. Sachin Tendulkar in the match against West Indies walked even though the umpire ruled him not out. Ricky Ponting in the match against Pakistan did not walk. He was given out by the third umpire after watching TV replay. Ricky Ponting was right when he did not walk.

There are people who say cricket is a gentleman’s game. By gentleman they mean a man whose conduct conforms to a high standard of propriety or correct behaviour. When cricket began in England, gentleman meant a man of independent means who did not engage in occupation or profession or gain. There were gentleman cricketers and professional cricketers. For a long time England’s captains were gentlemen. Leonard Hutton was the first professional to become England’s captain. Now professionalism in cricket has taken high with cricketers being auctioned.

Why did Sachin Tendulkar walk? May be he was fed up with the criticism that whenever he scores a century India lose. He hit a century against England and it was a tie. He hit a century against South Africa and India lost. Against West Indies he walked and India won. It is unfair to blame a batsman who hits a century if the team loses the match. It is not that every time Sachin Tendulkar does not hit a century India win.

A batsman should not take the fielder’s word that he has caught the ball. He may have caught the ball after the ball touched the ground. It is left to the umpire to decide.

UDRS has given an option to cricketers to challenge the decisions of field umpires. If a bowler or fielder appeals a not out decision and the third umpire is not sure after watching the replay and rules the batsman not out, too bad for the bowler or fielder. Mahela Jayawardene was right not to walk when the third umpire give him the benefit of doubt and refused to take Nathan McCullum’s word for the catch.