In a bizarre incident, Sri Lanka players, on Saturday (June 16), refused to come out to the field on time on Day 3 of the second Test against Windies in St. Lucia. The players took the decision due to a disagreement over change of ball, which the on-field umpires called for before the start of play.
Following concerns raised by on-field umpires about the condition of the ball nearing the end of the second day, the Sri Lankans were advised before the start of play on Saturday that they could not continue with the existing ball. However, it did not go down well with the visitors as their skipper Dinesh Chandimal declined to lead his team onto the field. At one point of time, it looked like the match would not go ahead. But fortunately, the play eventually began nearly two hours after the scheduled start. Sri Lanka also had to pay the price for their protest as the umpires awarded five penalty runs to Windies’ total off 118/2.
Well, this is not the first time when a team protested due to a umpiring decisions. Here is a look at some previous instances:
Pakistan vs England, Oval, 2006 (Test):
In 2006, during the fourth day of the fourth Test between England and Pakistan at The Oval, Darrell Hair and fellow umpire Billy Doctrove ruled that the Pakistani team had altered the ball’s condition. Umpire Hair had also awarded five runs to England. Furious with the allegations, the Pakistani players refused to take the field after the tea break as a show of protest.
Around 20 minutes later, the on-field umpires walked back to the field along with the England batsmen and removed the bails, thereby signalling the end of the Test match, and awarding it to England – the first and only instance of a team forfeiting a Test.
Pakistan emerged on the field later in the evening. However, it did not make any difference as the umpires stood by their decision. In 2008, the result was amended to an abandonment by ICC before it was reversed to the original verdict six months later.
Sri Lanka vs England, Adelaide, 1999 (ODI):
Ranatunga’s reputation in Australia further deteriorated with the incident that took place in the Adelaide ODI against England. Ranatunga lost the plot after umpire Ross Emerson kept no-balling Muttiah Muralitharan from square leg for chucking. The Sri Lanka skipper was involved in long discussion with the umpire before taking his team off the field.
The players stopped near the boundary line. After that, there was a heated discussion between the match officials, Sri Lankan team manager and Ranatunga. Play eventually resumed 12 minutes later as Muralitharan completed the over without any interruptions. Ranatunga then brought him on from the end where Emerson was officiating and asked the umpire to stand closer to the wickets so that it would make it difficult for him to call.
Pakistan vs India, Bangalore, 1983 (Test):
This fixture rarely fails to entertain. But unlike the other occasions, when the fans enjoy the action on the field, this time an incident happened that marred the start of the Bangalore Test in 1983. Pakistan skipper Zaheer Abbas expressed his reservation over playing on a slippery outfield.
With rain continuing to pour down and bad light making the situation even worse, the respective first innings got completed only on the last day. Under the playing conditions, a minimum of 77 overs had to be bowled. Also the bowling team had to bowl 20 mandatory overs in the last hour of the final day. Not surprisingly, there was no possibility of any result.
Amidst all these, a huge controversy took place. Sunil Gavaskar was nearing his 28th Test ton. But at the end of the 14th over in the last hour, Zaheer led his players off the field without consulting the on-field officials. The Pakistanis thought 77 overs for the day had already been bowled. However, the umpires stated that unless both teams mutually agreed to end the game early, all 20 overs were needed to be bowled.
Zaheer received an ultimatum from the umpires that unless they return to the middle the Test would be awarded to India. Pakistan returned reluctantly and Gavaskar went on score his century. The Test ended in a draw.
New Zealand vs West Indies, Christchurch, 1980 (Test):
John Hastie’s dubious decision saw the series start on a poor note. After a dramatic first Test, the second one began nine days later. Well, that Test was not free of any controversy either . After umpire Fred Goodall refused to give a caught behind of New Zealand skipper Geoff Howarth on 68 (he went on to make 147) off Joel Garner, the visitors unanimously decided not to resume the Test.
They even thought of leaving New Zealand midway through the series. Clive Lloyd & Co. finally took the field after the Kiwi skipper assured them that his batsmen would walk off if they knew they hit the ball. Well, the worst was yet to come in the game. On the following day, Colin Croft barged into Godall and even had a verbal altercation with him. Lloyd did not even try to bring the situation under control.
India vs Pakistan, Sahiwal, 1978 (ODI)
The series was locked 1-1 before Pakistan hosted India in third ODI in Sahiwal. India had restricted the hosts to 205 in a 40-overs-a-side contest. In reply, the visitors were cruising at 183 for two, needing 23 runs off the last three overs. Anshuman Gaekwad was batting on 78 and Gundappa Vishwanath on eight.
Sarfraz Nawaz began the 38th over with a bouncer that flew way over Gaekwad’s head. But umpires Khizer Hayat and Javed Akhtar stood unmoved. The following three balls were same. Furious with the umpires’ conduct, India skipper Bishan Singh Bedi called his batsman back in protest. India thereby became the first team to concede a match to the opposition due to a walk-out.