August 15, 2020 12:16:47 am
When England’s famous fan-group Barmy Army tweeted the news that the fast bowler Stuart Broad was fined by his father Chris who is the match referee for the Test series against Pakistan, Stuart responded with a tweet: “He’s off the Christmas card & present list.” The unlikely scenario of father sitting in judgement on his own son was caused by the pandemic — Chris is the only English match referee in the ICC panel.
Fathers and sons have even played in the same first-class matches but a special mention must be made of the illustrious Lala Amarnath. He had retired by then and was commentating in an India-Pakistan Test when he was asked by a colleague, “Lalaji, who do you think are the best Indian batsmen?” Sunil Gavaskar and Gundappa Vishwanath were playing that game but Lala skipped the diplomatic nicetie: “Mohinder … Surinder”, he named his two sons.
Chris officiated in his son’s game but Lala was once instrumental in a Pakistani selector officiating in an Indo-Pak Test. The tale is told by Lala’s third son Rajinder in his biography of his father. When he was the Indian team’s manager on the 1954 tour of Pakistan, and sipping tea with Pakistan’s captain Abdul Hafeez Kardar ahead of the fifth and final, someone knocked on the door: “He then said ‘Any instructions for tomorrow’s game, skipper?” I turned to see who it was. It was Idrees Baig, one of the umpires in that Test. ‘What kind of instructions do you want? I said. Seeing me, Baig rushed out but great plan to defeat India had been revealed..” That evening, Lala threatened a boycott if the umpire wasn’t changed. “It was past midnight when an official joked, “We have one qualified first-class umpire — our selector Masood Salahuddin — but you will not accept him.” But Lala approved, probably the only time a home-team selector umpired. Salahuddin would go on to rule Kardar stumped on 93.
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