'I was telling Vikram Raju (umpire) that Ravi Shastri shouldn’t have taken that single which exposed Maninder. But that was Ravi’s call,' said Jones
Hubballi: Former Australian batsman Dean Jones has been a busy man this season. When he’s not commentating or when the rains don’t allow for play he willingly shares his wisdom with the young players in the Karnataka Premier League (KPL).
On Wednesday though, when the afternoon match between Hubli Tigers and Ballari Tuskers was first delayed and later abandoned due to rain, he was in for a very pleasant surprise. For, who was the KSCA match referee for the game but Vikram Raju, the umpire who became famous in Australia and infamous in India for a decision he gave way back in September 1986.
“It was lovely meeting up with him. Somehow I hadn’t realised he was from Bangalore, always thought he was from somewhere in north India,” Jones said of the man who gave that final decision in the Madras (now Chennai) Test between India and Australia, one that ended in only the second ever tie in Test history.
“I was telling Vikram that Ravi Shastri shouldn’t have taken that single which exposed Maninder. But that was Ravi’s call,” said Jones, recalling the lbw decision won by off-spinner Greg Mathews against India’s number 11 Maninder Singh when the scores were tied.
Both Maninder and Shastri maintain that the ball had hit the bat en route to the pads while Raju himself has always said that the bat was nowhere close to the bat.
While Raju didn’t want to bring up the decision, he did share what Jones told him: “Dean Jones told me Ravi would have been better off keeping the strike rather than complain about the decision (against Maninder) later,” said the veteran.
“He also complimented me on my fitness even at this age,” added the sprightly 84-year-old.
Jones didn’t leave it at just catching up with Raju. He had a picture taken of the two and sent it straight to Allan Border, his skipper in that Test. “Allan was thrilled with the photo,” said Jones.
The Australian, who scored batted for over eight hours (502 minutes) in the first innings of the Test in searing heat at the Chepauk and scored a double hundred (210) in the process, was somewhat shocked to learn that the Madras Test was Raju’s last Test.
Australia declared both their innings after scoring 574/7 and 170/5. Kapil Dev-led India made 397 and were bowled out for 347 in the second innings.
“I didn’t know that, when he told he had umpired just two Tests and that was his last Test, I was taken aback. Back in Australia he’s well respected,” said Jones.
The Australian, who is into his second season of the KPL and an integral part of the Star Sports commentary team, also felt that the tied Test possibly led to closer relations between India and Australia.
“Look back then the ties between the two countries weren’t much. That match brought the two countries together. That’s what cricket can do. See how our ties have improved since,” concluded Jones.
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Last Updated 22, Aug 2018, 5:24 PM