Did Randiv “over-step”?


Suraj Randiv over-stepped the crease and bowled a no-ball. Let there be no mistake about that. In doing so, he denied Virender Sehwag a century. He could not, however, deny India a victory. India needed a run to win, and by over-stepping, Randiv ensured that India won.

Randiv’s action was deliberate. Make no mistake about that.

The hue-and-cry that followed that act, however, was quite comical on the one hand and shocking on the other.

Much has been made of an error in judgement. Much has been made of a rush-of-blood. The media has, as usual, gone on over-drive with this story! The over-stepping issue covered more print- and air- space in India over the last two days than a somewhat more troubling 10-line report of China accumulating arms on the Indo-China border! Talk about priorities!

But what is the over-stepping all about anyway? What is the fuss about? As a nation, India (through its media) seems to be madly obsessed with pride and this pride is unfortunately measured by sometimes meaningless statistics. The fact that India won is not enough — an Indian was “denied”. That somehow matters more!

India, it seems, cannot be “wronged” unless Indians are the ones who “wrong” other Indians. We can screw another Indian on our own playing fields (or through corruption scams or any number of scams like the CWG) but another person “dare not” wrong Indians. The point I am making is that, as Amit Gupta writes and verifies in an article on Mumbai Mirror, the “no ball” trick or the “wide” trick are employed all the time in cricket to deny the opposition runs. These “no ball” and “wide” victories are common on our maidans, as Amit Gupta mentions. But the moment Suraj Randiv does it, it presents an opportunity for the Indian media to get “stuck in” to another person who “dared” to wrong an Indian!

Our collective sensibilities are suddenly hurt and the TV anchors thunder “How dare he”? There is much chest beating and forehead slapping to be seen and heard.

Although Virender Sehwag was at his diplomatic best on the prize distribution dais, he spat venom at the post-match press conference and later Twittered proudly that Randiv had apologized to him.

Clearly Sehwag was miffed. He had lost out on a century opportunity in a game that India won!

But then, Sehwag is no Saint! He was the Indian fielder, remember, that kicked the ball over the boundary ropes and signaled it as a four to the umpires in a Test against South Africa. He did that to deny Hashim Amla a single which would have meant that Amla would have protected Morne Morkel from the strike. Was that against the “spirit of cricket”? It was, just as Randiv’s no-ball was against the “spirit”. But these things do happen.

The law is an ass. We are given the law book and must work with it.

We need to admit that un-sportsman-like behaviour happens. More importantly, we need to lose the halo around our collective heads and stop pretending that “only they do it”. Even more importantly, I would like to see evidence of “us” getting to get as upset even if “we do it”. Cos’ we do! In our maidan-s and in our Test cricket.

There are few saints out there.

— Mohan

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10 responses to “Did Randiv “over-step”?

  1. Nice and timely blog post, Mohan. The reference to the Hashim Amla incident puts things in perspective. The media, as is its wont, has been fulminating recklessly all day. The two honourable exceptions being Amit Gupta in Mumbai Mirror and Clayton Murzello in MiD DAY.

  2. You are spot on, especailly in the last paragraph. I think almost every team including India on several occasions have a defensive field set up in Test matches only to get the tailender to the strike and the next ball when the tailender is facing you will see an attacking field. Sehwag needn’t have talked about it in the press conference, the media anyway would have raised the issue.

  3. Definitely an overdose of self-righteousness from the Indian media.
    However, on a technical note, I found the rule puzzling. The ball is not dead when it leaves the bowler. It is only dead after the ball has cleared the fence (in this case). So why doesnt the 6 runs count? It seems to crazy to count only part of the runs from the delivery!!

  4. Srikanth Mangalam

    Bad practice pitches, deliberate no balling, unfair fielding tactics, luckless tosses, low sight screen, loud music, dengue fever, bad fish causing indigestion, terrible weather, lousy commentary. The list of complaints is endless and yet we want to end up in Sri Lanka every fortnight. The irony of it all!!!

  5. Spot on, Mohan.

    Was delibrately denying the century in bad taste? Yes.
    A one match suspension for this crime? Gimme a break – that is just over the top.

    The whole issue has been blown out of proportion so much that it makes you laugh. BCCI should have gotten off their moral high horse and said that they were happy that Randiv had apologized and they consider the matter closed, even before SLC’s internal enquiry.

    @Paddy – I didn’t know of this rule, and was confused when the commentators mentioned it – I acutally thought they had it wrong initially…

  6. You are absolutley right .Media has enlarged it beyond bounds as usual.The men concerned from the SL side has done it on the heat of the moment.They realised the wrong committed and apologised.There ends the matter. TV media is exaggerating the whole incident .

  7. In my post I said, “we need to lose the halo around our collective heads and stop pretending that ‘only they do it'”.

    Today’s Times of India “Times View” ends with the following lines:

    QUOTE:
    And this is not the first time a Sri Lankan player has done it. Change the law so that they don’t repeat it
    UNQUOTE

    Duh! Is this person in denial or have they got their heads stuck in the sand? Either way, there is evidence of blindness!

    A batsman does not walk when he nicks the ball to the ‘keeper and knows he is out? Does that deserve a one-match ban now? Surely that is against the “spirit of the game too”? And on the evidence of the fuss that Sehwag “kicked up” and the Sri Lankan Boards’ subsequent action of banning Randiv for a game, the answer must be “yes”! Let’s see batsmen being banned for not “walking” now.

  8. Paddy,
    Law 18 Scoring Runs : A run is scored when penalty runs are awarded ie no ball in this case
    Law 21.2 Result : The side which has scored in its one innings a total of runs in excess of that scored by the opposing side in its one completed innings shall win the match
    Law 21.6 Winning hit or extras: ( in this case no ball is the extra)
    (a) as soon as a result is reached, as defined in 21.2, the match is at an end—meaning what Shewag scored was after the RESULT was reached and hence is of no value to him– and the team !!!!
    I understand a petition demanding an inquiry by UN commission is circulating in Mumbai!!! I am surprised that an effigy of Randiv has not been burnt in New Delhi—YET —by ardent fans of Shewag’s chain of restaurants!! And , may be one of the two umpires –a Sinhalese –who heard the remark should have asked for instant translation and stopped the bowler–as he didn’t , BCCI will demand that that umpire never ever stand in matches involving India!!!

  9. @Sampath: My point is not about Sehwag or India or whatever. So, please can we give the emoticons a rest!
    Thats why I said ‘technical’ . My point is …why do they frame such quirky laws in cricket that are recipes for confusion. If a delivery is deemed as a basic unit, either all of it or none of it should be taken into account. Once ypu start drawing arbitrary lines, it is only a matter of time before some sort of inconsistency results!

  10. Digression: Some countries are playing a lot of test cricket. I was amazed when I looked up Alastair Cook’s profile, following his recent hundred against Pak…Since his debut in 2006, he has already played 59 tests, scored almost 4500 runs with 13 hundreds. 59 tests in 4 years!! There is a real imbalance in overall scheduling….some countries play more tests, some play more shorter formats, some play both a lot….needs some balance.

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