India vs West Indies,3rd Test, 2016. Rohit Sharma, the man who was trying to make a comeback in the game cricket. He was well set and was looking in perfect rhythm to convert it into a big score quickly. But in the very first over of Day 5, he was given out LBW even after getting a thick inside edge. This decision hardly had any effect on the game.
What impacts do such umpiring errors have? . Shoaib Akhtar says “Such errors make the game cricket interesting and it all gets balanced out in the end.” Sometimes they are negligible but sometimes they make a huge difference.
Well, there is one such decision which changed the Indian Cricket history marginally.
INDIA vs ENGLAND : GAME CRICKET
After losing the first three Tests and already losing their no.1 Test Ranking. India headed off to Oval to play the fourth Test against England. All eyes were on Rahul Dravid who was brilliant throughout the series. After England got 591/6 (Bell 235, Pietersen 175), Dravid scored 146*. India could score just 300 by tea on Day 4. There was a lot of rain on Day 1 which meant that India got a chance to draw the match. They had to bat for 120 overs and their job was done.
By the end of Day 4, India were 129/3, Sachin was batting on 35 and Amit Mishra on 8. Determined to save the day, both Sachin and Mishra were able to play out the first session on last day. The touch in which Sachin was, he was sure to get his 100th century as well as the match was going to saved. How nice is that, his most important century in game cricket coming in a match which saved the whitewash. Mishra was bowled by Swann on 84 when Sachin was batting on 91.
In the next over Bresnan bowled a ball which swung in quite enough to miss the leg stump. Sachin stepped out of the crease, missed it, the ball hit his pads. There was a huge appeal and the umpire Rod Tucker in pressure gave the decision as OUT !! . Sachin fell short of his 100th hundred by just 9 runs, that too on a wrong decision. The hawk eye displayed ball was clipping top of the leg stump and it showed “umpire’s call”. When batsman steps out of crease, the advantage is generally supposed to go to the batsman, it was the other way round here.
Well, he was obviously the most affected player due to the decision. First of all, because he was the victim. Sachin had scored his 99th century vs SA at Nagpur in the World Cup match in March 2011 and just as he reached in his 80s vs Pakistan in semis, it was displayed that Sachin has a total of 99 centuries if 51 in Tests and 48 in ODIs are combined. Sachin got out on 85 in that match but the issue of his 100th century lasted as long as 370 days!! He could have closed the case in the first tour itself if he scored that century here.
THE INDIAN TEAM
Sachin’s wicket meant that India lost 6 wickets for 21 runs and conceded a victory by an innings and 8 runs (be it 1999 or 2011, Sachin’s wicket means that it’s all over) England completed a 4-0 whitewash.
The team which was low on morale after a huge overseas whitewash, headed to Australia to pull a draw at least, but suffered another 4-0 whitewash. Had this decision gone the right way, India would have prevented a whitewash as it would have ended 3-0 and also as they had a successful home series against WI, they would have gone to Australia with a lot of confidence and forget about just drawing and losing matches (like 2014-15), they would have gone on to win Tests (2007-08, Perth Test, Ishant vs Ponting) This decision changed the Indian Test cricket history.
The second person in the list of the affected. Dhoni suffered the first whitewash of his life, followed by Australian whitewash. And as mentioned earlier, a right decision would have meant that India didn’t suffer either! It would have saved Dhoni’s reputation as an overseas captain. It was this very reputation which made him retire in 2014-15 even though he had successful home seasons including the return whitewash of Australia in 2013 in the game cricket.
He scored 3 centuries in the England tour and was the Man of the Series in game cricket. That was the perfect time for him to retire. He would have retired after that drawn test and a prevented whitewash. He would have given his retirement speech with the MoS trophy in his hand. But instead the series ended on a losing note and a 4-0 whitewash made Dravid delay his retirement. He knew he had it in him to take his team to a series victory in Australia if he continued his brilliant form. But then what happened to him was that disastrous Australia tour. He had to retire after another whitewash, and also on a low individual performance in the game cricket. It prevented Dravid from a dream retirement.