The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Commentators must stick to commentary: Hooper

Vijayawada, Nov. 23: Former West Indies captain Michael Holding’s suggestion, in his syndicated column, that the Jodhpur toss was ‘fixed’ has infuriated the dramatis personae. India won that sixth ODI to draw level 3-3.

“The commentators must stick to commentary only,” is how the present captain, Carl Hooper, responded (incidentally, moments after manager Ricky Skerritt announced “no comment” would be made). He bitingly added: “Somebody must have worn special glasses.”

As for Rahul Dravid, the stand-in Indian captain, he had this to say: “I’m amazed... I don’t know where all this has come from. Carl called heads and, as it turned out, the coin landed the other side. The toss, most definitely, was won by me.”

Match Referee Mike Procter, who (as has become customary) supervised the toss, was just as flabbergasted. “Holding wasn’t even out there in the middle. Where I’m concerned, there’s no controversy and, really, the captains must be allowed to focus on tomorrow’s finale.”

Holding, of course, triggered this uncalled for tamasha by writing: “... It will be recorded that India won the toss and, as predicted, elected to bat second. But, could someone please let us know who really won the toss in the sixth one-day International...”

Apparently, Holding got a ‘tip-off’ from fellow-West Indian Ian Bishop, who was assigned the toss-interviews. Well, fact is absolutely nobody has been amused by the aspersions cast and the attempt made to relive the Asif Iqbal-Gundappa Viswanath fiasco at the Eden, over two decades ago.

Actually, not just the captains, both teams are pretty upset. Some of the players, who spoke to The Telegraph, felt Holding should publicly apologise. Till this evening, though, he wasn’t available for a reaction.

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