Vantage point

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Lara Crosses The Line

Whether Daren Ganga crossed the boundary line or not is inconclusive, but Brian Lara definitely crossed the line.

If Daren Ganga himself said to Dhoni, 'I'm not really sure if I stepped on it', that's the end of the discussion isn't it? If the fielder is not sure, the benefit of the doubt goes to the batsman. However Lara seemed to be acting like a spoilt brat, hell bent on Dhoni accepting that he was out, by taking Ganga's word.

Firstly, getting hot under the collar and pressurizing the batsman to walk is crossing the line, especially when even the TV replays seem inconclusive. Batsmen walk voluntarily if they want, and that too when the point of doubt is connected to them. i.e if there is doubt about whether a batsman nicked it or whether it was a bumped shot. But when the point of doubt is 50 meters away from the batsman, expecting him to walk without the umpires giving him out, is bizarre. Insisting on it, and arguing for it, especially in the bullying manner that Lara did, is just wrong and is definitely dissent. Lara should be booked under dissent for acting like the biggest authority on the ground, even when the fielder himself was unsure.

By the way, the first 4 balls of the over had been 1,6,6,6. If this ball would have been adjudged a six, Dhoni would have become only the third man after Kapil Dev and Shahid Afridi to hit 4 consecutive sixes in a test match. It would also have meant that the first 5 balls of the over would have cost 25 runs. With Dhoni certain to go for a big swing off the last ball, a six or at least a four was very realistically possible.

Nowe even a 4 off the last ball would have made it the most expensive over in test history. The previous record is 28 runs, which were scored by a certain Brian Charles Lara against South Africa's Robin Peterson. Knowing how particular Lara is about records, one wonders whether the bizarre aggression with which he bullied everyone around had anything to do with the fact that he saw this record being snatched away from him?

The Indian team did not make a big issue of it. It does not look like the 6 runs will make too big an impact on a match where realistically only a draw or an Indian win looks likely. But let us assume that Gayle and Lara show their magic and go for the total. And with 9 wickets down and needing 6 runs to win off the last ball, with Lara batting on, let us say, 194, he goes for a six, and a similar situation unfolds.

Will Lara take the fielder's word for it and walk off?