Oh Randiv! The Sehwag No-Ball Controversy
Randiv has apologised. So has Sri Lanka Cricket. Are we still making too much out it? I surely don't think so. There is no doubt about the fact that Randiv's 'no ball' was deliberate to deny Sehwag a century. His apology to Sehwag has put it beyond just accusation.
More revealing was the fact that the stump microphone actually caught captain Sangakkara reminding Randiv 'if Sehwag touches the ball, he will get a century'. Let me be clear. It's not about the laws. Both Sangakkara and Randiv are well within laws to bowl a 'no ball' even if it's a deliberate one. People are questioning the spirit under which cricket was played. Sri Lanka was nowhere close to winning the match and hence the sole purpose was to deny Sehwag a well deserved century. As per the rules, the captain is supposed to ensure fair play on the field and here Randiv, who is barely 2 test matches old, was urged by none other than his skipper to bowl a 'no ball'!
As one of my dear friends suggested, 'what if the last Indian pair (Ojha and Ishant) batting in Murali's last test match had denied Murali his 800th test victim by running themselves out?' Fair point. They would have been well within the rules then!
In defence of Randiv, I must say there have been similar instances where the line of fair play was blurred. Even by Sehwag. In one of the recent test matches against South Africa, Amla and Morkel were at the crease when one of the strokes was deliberately put beyond the boundary ropes when Sehwag kicked the ball. This was to stop Amla from retaining the strike. Atleast in this instance, Indians were in sight of a victory with the last pair on the crease. This wasn't an act of deliberately stopping someone from a deserved personal milestone as it was in this case or it would have been in Murali's case. Though in no way I am supporting the act of Sehwag here.
If Sangakkara is guilty, then it's a blot on his career however illustrious it may have been. Like the one that Greg Chappell will always carry on his shoulders (though not of the same proportion). So where are we going from here. In all the wrong directions. As I write this, Sangakkara has denied that he played any role in this incident and Sri Lankan Board has asked for a thorough report from the manager. It would have been better if Sangakkara would have acknowledged his brain freeze and apologised as Randiv did. Match referee could have played a role too and the matter could have been buried under the archives of Cricinfo.