There was an unusual incident at the Guru Nanak College on Monday, one that exposed the India ‘A’ players’ disregard for the spirit of the game and the BCCI’s callous attitude towards first-class cricket in general.
It was the 12th over of the day and the 48th of Australia’s first innings. Peter Siddle flicked India ‘A’ left-arm spinner Rakesh Dhruv towards the midwicket fence. Manpreet Singh Gony, running in from midwicket, fumbled at the boundary, so much so that the ball bounced off the rope and into his fist. What’s more, even his right foot seemed to have made contact with the rope.
Gony’s momentum took him past the boundary line, but he stepped onto the field and hurled the ball to Dhruv. And Siddle, going for the third run, was run out!
Umpire Anil Chaudhary referred it to the third umpire — match referee B Kalyanasundaram in this case —and Siddle was found to have fallen short of the crease. The visitors were reduced to 182/6.
Even though the above ‘dismissal’ had no impact on the game per se, India ‘A’ players didn’t seem pleased with the media contingent that signalled a boundary from a shamiana shed. Strangely, Gony too chose to be dishonest. He sure was aware that he had clearly touched the rope, for the ball too had bounced off it.
One is not saying the umpire should have taken the media’s word as Bible, but Chaudhary could have asked Gony if he had done a clean job of it.
Apparently, he did and Gony claimed he was clean.
The error could have been avoided had this match been telecast. For starters, most BCCI matches are not televised. There are a total of six ‘run-out’ cameras for every first-class game –– two each at the cover and midwicket fences and one each at the two ends. These ‘unmanned’ cameras are placed on permanent or makeshift tree house-like structures and, like the name suggests, are programmed to cover only run-outs.
Often, there is talk of the spirit of the game being violated. The BCCI obviously needs to do a lot when it comes to grooming players. It must also show it cares for domestic cricket. Why can’t we have a few manned cameras recording games?
The six unmanned ones may continue to aid the third umpire for run-out, stumping and hit-wicket decisions.