At silly point

The campaign against Randiv is just not cricket

Written by The Indian Express | Published: August 20, 2010 12:16:15 am

While for Virender Sehwag his sense of humour is on the line,what’s followed from this so-called Dambulla outrage has put the credibility of the cricket establishment on the line.

What happened at the Dambulla one-day match is clear enough.

The victory target of 171 against Sri Lanka was now a single run away,with 93 deliveries remaining. Sehwag was on strike,on 99. Suraj Randiv overstepped by a mile,it was a no-ball,Sehwag hit it for six. The century celebrations were short-lived because with the run from the no-ball the game ended,and the six did not count. And that should have been that,a big win for India to celebrate. Since then Randiv,his captain Kumar Sangakkara and the rest of the team have been put on public trial,at press conferences and in panel discussions in Indian television studios. Randiv was instructed to overstep so that Sehwag would not get a century! How mean-minded! India were deprived of those six runs! Punish Randiv and his mentors! The spirit of the game has been violated! Change the rules! That the sport’s administrators cannot keep their sanity amidst such hysteria is obvious from the Sri Lankan board’s reaction. Randiv’s been suspended for a game,his match fee confiscated and,just so it be known that it was conspiratorial,teammate Tillakaratne Dilshan’s been punished too.

This is the silliest controversy to have hit cricket. If Randiv and his mates did in fact want to deny Sehwag a century,they were only doing what teams have done for ever by closing in to intimidate a player on the brink of a milestone. The ploy may be petty,but that’s life. Anyway,teams often declare while denying their own colleagues a milestone (remember Sachin at Multan 2004). If the intent was to keep India off yet more runs,that’s cricket. A team plays to win and to do what it can to stay alive for another shot at victory (for instance,with the net run-rate). Or is that now also against the spirit of the game?

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