The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Talking, not turning, points

Calcutta, Oct. 30: The turning points weren’t many at the Eden today, but the talking points on Day-I of the final Test were quite a few.

The arrival of Mansur Ali Khan ‘Tiger’ Pataudi, captain during one of India’s finest moments here — that thrilling victory over the West Indies on New Year’s Day 1975.

Today, of course, Pataudi came as president of the Indian Cricket Players’ Association (ICPA) and, despite whispers to the contrary, was invited to the president’s box by Jagmohan Dalmiya, the board president.

“I’ve accepted the post because the association is for a worthwhile cause,” Pataudi remarked in his regal manner.

Then, the shocking decision (authored by David Shepherd, no less) which ended the in-form Rahul Dravid’s stay. Only the umpire can answer how he missed that inside edge.

Just the other day, Shepherd talked about the eight Elite Panel umpires being under much pressure. Well, if he actually is getting affected by the workload, then a break may not be a bad idea.

Moreover, when the use of technology is being extended, it’s criminal to gag the third umpire when horrendous mistakes are made. He must be allowed to intervene, or else, do away with the third umpire.

His intervention, after all, won’t only help batsmen — it will help cricket itself. Somebody needs to make quite a few at Lord’s aware of this.

The failure of both Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly to post their first Test hundred at the Eden was another talking point. Ironically, both looked in sublime touch when they gave it all away.

The disappointment, therefore, is all that more.

That the West Indies bowled just 80 overs by the scheduled close (4.30 pm) also made the Pataudi-Shepherd-Sachin-Sourav bracket.

Till the ICC introduces fines on a daily basis, teams will continue to take the paying public — not that the turnout ever exceeded 50,000 during the opening day — for a ride.

More worrying, even fewer may begin to take the trouble of turning up. In any case, multiple restrictions have eaten into the charm of watching the action live.

And, yes, what was also talked about is whether Dalmiya will attend the ICPA’s star-spangled fund-raiser tomorrow evening.

Dalmiya, for his part, was non-committal. “Dekha jayega,” he told The Telegraph. Apparently, he feels the ICPA should invite all board officials currently in the city.

For the record, India finished Day-I on 275 for six. Play on Thursday will begin half-an-hour early, to make good the many overs lost today.

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