Daryl Harper, in an interaction with Asianet Newsable, revealed that he still believes that Sachin Tendulkar’s LBW decision in 1999 Adelaide Test was a correct decision.
By 1999, the Indian team was synonymous with Sachin Tendulkar. Indian cricket fans from around the world would remain glued to the television sets every time Tendulkar would step out on to the field. He was already being seen as the ‘god of cricket’ by the Indian fans, and his popularity was rivalled by only a few at the time. So, when umpire Daryl Harper adjudged Sachin LBW in a controversial fashion during a Test match against Australia in Adelaide, he received massive backlash from every nook and corner of India.
The bouncer from Glenn McGrath had seen Tendulkar ducking and the ball hit the batsman on his shoulders. But following the rules book, the umpire still deemed it as LBW, a decision which ignited a huge debate at the time. Harper, in an interaction with Asianet Newsable, revealed that he still believes that it was a correct decision and he is proud of himself that he could make it without any fears or biases.
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“I look back on that ‘Tenducker’ decision every day of my life.It’s not that I sleep badly or have nightmares and replays dancing through my brain. When I walk through my garage I am confronted by a huge canvas print of Sachin and Glenn McGrath, taken momentarily after the ball made contact. You may be disappointed to know that I’m still extremely proud of that decision because I considered the action before me and applied the Law without fear or favour,” he said.
“That’s what umpires are trained and expected to do. Regarding the accuracy of the decision, Sachin was the Indian captain at that time and ICC officials informed me that he didn’t note that decision when he assessed my performance on the standard post-match paperwork.I recall realising that suddenly one sixth of the world’s population knew my name…and they probably didn’t speak very highly of me,” he added.
Harper further revealed that he met former India chief selector MSK Prasad in 2018, who was India’s wicketkeeper in the 1999 Test. The former umpire revealed that Prasad told him that Sachin himself believes it was out. “In December 2018, I met Indian selector MSK Prasad during a lunch at Adelaide Oval during the Australia-India Test match. We probably hadn’t seen each other since that Test 20 years earlier at the same beautiful ground,” he recalled.
MSK was the first to speak. ‘Sachin said he was out…Sachin said he was out’, the Indian selector exclaimed excitedly. ‘Well I thought he was too,’ I confirmed. It was a very unusual dismissal. I’ve never seen anything similar and I’ve watched a lot of cricket over the years…but I still believe it was correct.
“I accept that viewers the world over were surprised and even shocked. I was also apparently rattled by the scenario. I say ‘apparently’ because years later I discovered in doing research that Glenn McGrath dismissed Sachin Tendulkar with the middle ball of a five-ball over. I didn’t err in counting very often so I can only conclude that the gravity of the moment disrupted my concentration and routines. It was a bizarre moment,” Harper said.