ICC World Cup: Why MS Dhoni & Co left umpire Daryl Harper bored!
Adelaide: Former ICC elite umpire Daryl Harper was always known for his fine decision-making and sharp judgement when he stood out there in the middle. That ability still stands despite him having retired from the elite group in 2011.
India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (second from right) celebrates a Pakistan wicket with his teammates at the Adelaide Oval yesterday. Pic/AFP
Harper, who hails from this South Australian city, was at the Adelaide Oval yesterday for the much-anticipated India vs Pakistan World Cup clash. But he left the game mid-way because India's dominance over their arch-rivals left him bored.
"This was supposed to be the most watched cricket match in the world, but it turned out to be quite disappointing. India just got off to a great start and Pakistan were never in the match. India began so brilliantly with the bat that they had Pakistan out of the game within the first two hours itself. "This is unlike a typical Indo-Pak encounter, where there is tension, and excitement throughout.
There was none of it. Dhoni's team was so good that it made the game boring. Then, India's bowlers also came out and looked so good that there was no chance for Pakistan to bat back into the match. So, around 10 overs or so into the Pakistan chase, I left because I knew India will win this one comfortably," Harper (64) told mid-day yesterday almost an hour before India beat Pakistan by 76 runs in their World Cup opener here.
The Australian has been involved in a few encounters between the arch-rivals, so he knows the pressure that exists in the centre given the two teams rarely play each other. "I was the umpire in the last India vs Pakistan Test nine years ago in Karachi.
I have umpired in only three India vs Pakistan ODIs, and I have done 174 ODIs. So, this shows that India-Pakistan encounters are very rare and just how much is riding on them. But India were just too good today," he said. Incidentally, Dhoni was the reason Harper's contract was terminated by the ICC following the West Indies tour in 2011.
Dhoni wasn't happy with some of the Australian's decisions and made it known to him and the BCCI. Harper, however, had no bone to pick with the Indian captain.
"I did what I had to do back then and I would still do it. I was honest to my job and would not like to blame Dhoni or the BCCI for anything. If there's anything I'm unhappy about, it is that the ICC did not support me enough back then."
Coming back to Dhoni's Indians, Harper had just two words. "India zindabaad," he said in chaste Hindi.