Daryl Harper finally speaks out. It seems he had a tough last test match, having empired in 94 tests and standing in his 95th, which turned out to be his last also, Harper got a rough treatment from the Indian players and captain. Not that they said much, but he was surely not given the respect an umpire desires on the field. When he stopped Parveen Kumar for repeated running over the pitch, Dhoni said “We’ve had problems with you before, Daryl”. This hardly shows any element of respect. No matter what had happened, it is expected of the player to show some character. I mean what sort of character does this statement show.
Harper giving account of the situation said “Praveen Kumar transgressed a number of times, and TV actually highlighted it with a red mat showing how many times he was running straight down the pitch.” Adding that One criticism he received on the field was that they thought he was particularly harsh on a player in his first Test match.
“My comment to that would be a Test match is not a warm-up for anything higher, it is the pinnacle form of the game, why should someone playing their first game be any different to someone playing their last? On top of that he had played 52 ODIs for India, so he was hardly a new boy on the block”
In another incident, Abhinav Mukund charged at Ian Gould with the ball in his had while appealing for a bat and pad catch which Harper felt was inappropriate. Harper cautioned Dhoni to which Dhoni gave a half hearted response.
“Abhinav, one of the close-in fielders at one stage ran more than halfway up the pitch, charging towards Ian Gould holding the ball, appealing for a bat-pad catch, which Ian turned down. I simply made a point of coming in from square leg and drew Dhoni’s attention to the fact he was responsible for his team’s behaviour, he was responsible for upholding the spirit of the game”.
“He clearly didn’t like me admonishing him for that situation, he didn’t want to look at me, but I insisted the message had to be received before the next ball was bowled and the game continued. He reluctantly acknowledged I was on the planet and we moved on”.
“I’ve got no doubt that applying the laws of the game in those two situations in particular were quite probably at the base of the criticism, the unwarranted criticism” said Harper.
Harper said he had choosen to speak only because ICC “chose not to”
“I’m disappointed for the game of cricket that management has allowed this to happen. I think there was basically a hive of inactivity in Dubai, I think it would have been very simple to apply the code of conduct that umpires have to apply on the spur of the moment in every game they umpire.”
“There was a five-day period when those could have been applied – that’s enough time to play a whole Test match, let alone make a decision when you’re standing behind the stumps. Nothing happened, so I guess someone had to show some leadership when it came to such an important issue for the game’s future.”
“It’s a wonderful game and I don’t want to see it going down the tube by selective management. And I am also concerned about the lowering of standards of behaviour. I’ve never been willing to say ‘it’s just a sign of the times’. Cricket has survived too long to give in to that sort of behaviour and accept it as part and parcel of the 21st century.”
Cricblogger believes, Daryl is right in pin pointing the deteriorating standards of sportman spirit and character being faced in the game of cricket. You may read our previous articles on whether its still ‘a gentleman’s game’ at the following links: