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‘Are you kidding me?’ – Pathan’s not having Bucknor’s acceptance of Sydney ‘08 mistakes

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Steve Bucknor, the former ICC umpire, recently acknowledged his high-profile mistakes in the Sydney Test of 2008, but India all-rounder Irfan Pathan wasn’t having any of it.

Pathan, speaking on Star Sports Cricket Connected, lambasted the former umpire for his mistakes in the fractious Sydney Test in 2008, which created headlines for the Monkeygate episode between Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds.

India lost the match by 122 runs, and Bucknor last week admitted, in an interview with Mid-Day, his mistakes cost India the match. Bucknor is understood to be referring to the decision to not give Symonds out, when he had been caught behind off Ishant Sharma when he was on 30. Symonds went on to score 162, and give Australia a foothold in the match.

The pain was still evident in Pathan, who said India would have won that match had even one of those mistakes hadn’t been made. “No matter how much you accept your mistakes, what’s done is done, we lost the Test match,” he said. “I remember, I played my first Test in Australia – that was in Adelaide, my debut game [in 2003] – and we won that Test after 21 [22] years in Australia. And losing a Test match, just because of umpiring errors? Not going to make any difference, no matter what umpires say now.

“As a cricketer, we’re used to getting bad decisions, sometimes in our bowling, sometimes in our batting. And we get frustrated by that and then we forget about it. But 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.

“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.”

It was a feisty series, and tempers, Pathan said, were tested by those umpiring decisions. “It was not just frustration,” he said. “For the first time, I saw Indian cricketers were angry. Fans had only one thing in mind – that they [umpires] were doing it purposely. Obviously, as a cricketer, we can’t think like that.

“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.”

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