No-balls trouble India again

In Mohali last month, Ishant Sharma had Michael Clarke caught first ball in the second innings, but umpire Billy Bowden was doubtful if it was a legal delivery even as the Australian vice-captain was making his way back to the pavilion.

Bowden’s fears of a no-ball were confirmed by third umpire Sanjay Hazare and Clarke was called back, though it didn’t prove a costly error as Ishant accounted for the same batsman almost immediately.

In the next Test, in Bangalore, S Sreesanth got rid of Tim Paine, on 40, but Ian Gould, who hadn’t originally called a no-ball, checked with third umpire Amiesh Saheba, who ruled that Sreesanth had indeed overstepped. Then 40, Paine added 17 more runs in the Australian first innings. India weren’t as fortunate on Friday at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium.

Sreesanth produced a beautiful awayswinger to get rid of Martin Guptill, but almost immediately after ruling him out, Kumar Dharmasena conferred with Saheba to see if the Kerala paceman hadn’t flouted the rules. Sreesanth had gone over the bowling crease, and a delighted Guptill was called back.

Then 11 out of 22 for one, Guptill went on to make a sparkling 85 and added 147 for the second wicket with Tim McIntosh to make Sreesanth, and India, pay a heavy price for that mistake. India bowling coach Eric Simons was as critical of the timing of the introduction of the system which allows on-field umpires to refer the matter to the third umpire as of the repeated transgressions by his own bowlers.

“It is very frustrating that they introduced this new system and then in the space of a few Test matches, we lose three wickets like that but it is something we are very aware of and working on constantly,” Simons told newsmen. “Thrice we have been hit by it, it’s bizarre. No-ball is a very strange problem.

“Everyone says just move your mark back six inches and it should be fine,” he went on. “But that isn’t the way it works. It’s a very slow process. Ishant had a real problem with no-balls and we have got him to a point where he is solving it. And with Sree, it’s strange. He bowled 90-odd balls today out of which four were no-balls, and one was a wicket. That’s a very frustrating process.

“But what it comes down to reprogramming a bowler’s mindset in the nets and we have someone watching every ball. We have net sessions where the bowler works only on his no-balls and net sessions where he works on his lines and lengths. It is being monitored very carefully.”

Guptill, needless to say, was thrilled with that huge slice of fortune in his comeback Test. “I was pretty angry with myself the whole way off,” the Kiwi right-hander said. “But getting called back gave me a second wind and it paid off from there. I am not sure who referred it. I was pretty much in the tunnel on the way out and I got called back. I will take it anytime. I was told to come back, so I was pretty happy with that!”

Comments (+)