Indian cricketers criticise Harper for bad decisions
Kingston: Umpire Daryl Harper came in for some scathing criticism from the Indian cricket team, which blasted the Australian for his poor decisions during the first cricket Test against the West Indies.
Such was the exasperation that a senior member of the side said that whole team wish that Harper does not officiate in the third Test.
Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni did little to hide his disgust at the standard of umpiring in the Test, which they won by 63 runs to take a 1-0 lead.
"If correct decisions were made, the game would have ended much earlier and we would have been in the hotel by now," Dhoni said at the post match press conference.
The Australian would stood for one last time when India take on West Indies in the third Test at Dominica from July 6.
"We don`t want him - you can quote it as the reaction of the entire Indian team," said a very senior member of the side.
Though Dhoni did not name anyone of the two umpires officiating in the match - Ian Gould (England) and Harper - several Indian players openly termed the latter as the centre of their ire.
"It`s Daryl Harper six not out," said another senior cricketer as soon as he saw a bunch of Indian pressmen approaching him.
Indians were upset that Harper made at least three critical errors against India and three in favour of West Indies during the match.
"Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh and Dhoni himself for done in; (Darren) Bravo twice and once (Shivnarine) Chanderpaul benefitted," chimed in another Indian cricketer, bristling with aggression.
Raina was given out caught in the leg-trap off Devendra Bishoo and television replays suggested no edge from either bat or gloves of the batsman.
Harbhajan Singh was ruled out leg before wicket when the ball clearly was seen going way above the height of the stumps.
Dhoni was cleanly caught at point region off Bishoo but the bowler had cut the return crease in his bowling run-up and the delivery should have been called a no-ball.
All three decisions in question were given by Harper in India’s second innings.
Then, when West Indies batted for the last time, there were confident appeals against Bravo and Chanderpaul which were not upheld.
The controversial Australian umpire is regarded worldwide as the worst umpire in the ICC list of elite umpires.
After being on the panel for nine years, between 2002-2011, the ICC too has come round to the general perception and declared that Harper will stand down after the termination of his contract in July 2011.
Harper also needled the Indians by banning Praveen Kumar from bowling for treading on to the `danger area` of the pitch in his follow-through in the first innings.
Indians are not contesting the decision in private but feel Harper could have cautioned the debutant in a friendly way before taking the strong step.
Indian cricketers have little doubt umpire Harper has been clearly biased against them over the years.
"Remember, it was Harper who gave Sachin Tendulkar out lbw in a Test when the batsmen had ducked and was hit on his shoulder," remarked a cricketer.
During a Test of the 1999-2000 tour to Australia, a short delivery from Glenn McGrath had Tendulkar looking to duck under it but it hit him on the shoulders.
Umpire Harper promptly gave Tendulkar out though he was to say later `the one (decision) that I would like the world to forget is the Sachin one.`
The shocking decision was the reason the International Cricket Council (ICC) introduced neutral umpires for both ends in Test matches.
Justified as the Indians are, it only underlines the reason why they should give their sanction to Umpires Decision Review System (UDRS).
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been steadfastly refusing the usage of UDRS technology even though worldwide it`s acceptance is a norm.
The UDRS technology, because of BCCI`s insistence, is not being used either in the present series or the one in England which follows next month.