Irfan Pathan refuses to take Steve Bucknor’s explanation about the infamous 2008 Sydney Test kindly, saying India lost that match only because of umpiring. He says he had never seen the dressing room as angry.
Steve Bucknor’s role in the 2008 Sydney Test continues to be under the scanner, twelve years after he had been removed from the next Test in an acrimonious follow-up to the match. (Screenshot)
Umpire Steve Bucknor broke his silence over the infamous 2008 Sydney Test recently, admitting to making two errors in that match, but Irfan Pathan, one of the players on the losing team, is in no mood to forgive.
“This Sydney Test match, it was not just one mistake. There were about seven mistakes that cost us the game. There were mistakes where Andrew Symonds was playing, and he got out nearly, I remember, three times, and the umpire didn’t give him out,” Pathan said on Cricket Connected show this week.
“He was the Man of the Match, we lost by 122 runs. If only one decision against Andrew Symonds would have been corrected, we would have won that game easily,” he said.
Twelve years have passed since that Test, remembered for being the ‘main event’ of the most acrimonious tour India’s cricket team have been on in recent years, but the hatchet refuses to be buried. Pathan, for his part, said umpires can say what they like, but it is rare for matches to be decided by umpiring errors.
‘Saw Indian cricketers angry for the first time’
Following claims of biased umpiring and the ‘Monkeygate’ controversy between Harbhajan Singh and Symonds, the BCCI had threatened to pull the Indian team out of the tour. Captain Anil Kumble had said, ‘Only one team was playing in the spirit of the game.’
In an interview to Midday earlier this month, Bucknor had said: “I made two mistakes in the Sydney Test in 2008. Mistake one, which happened when India were doing well, allowed an Australian batsman to get a hundred. Mistake two, on day five, might have cost India the game. But still, they are two mistakes over five days. Was I the first umpire to make two mistakes in a Test? Still, those two mistakes seem to have haunted me.”
Bucknor remained unmoved when Symonds, batting on 30, edged a delivery from Ishant Sharma. The second mistake could be a reference to Rahul Dravid’s wicket on the last day of the Test with replays confirming the ball had flicked his front knee roll on the way.
Pathan, for his part, said the manner of the defeat in the 2008 Sydney Test had affected the Indian team like never before.
“For the first time, I saw Indian cricketers were angry. We’ve to think, ‘OK. These things happen, and we’ve to move forward’. But seven mistakes? Are you kidding me? That was unbelievable, and indigestible for us,” he said.