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Home > Cricket > World Cup 2003 > News > Report

Dreaded finger stares India again

Our Correspondent in Mumbai | February 24, 2003 18:02 IST

Question: What do you call an umpire who does duty in 76.5 per cent of India's recent one-day internationals?

Answer: Ellawalakankanamge Asoka Ranjit De Silva.

Asoka De Silva, as the controversial Sri Lankan player turned umpire is better known, had stood in 13 of the 17 ODIs played by India before yesterday's match against Namibia. How is that?

De Silva, 46, stood in all the seven ODIs that India hosted against the West Indies last year. He stood in four of the seven ODIs that were played in New Zealand earlier this year. And he has already stood in two of India's preliminary World Cup matches.

If such regular appearance on cricket grounds where India is playing has not already surprised cricket fans and players, this should: De Silva is the TV umpire in India's key day/night game against England at the Kingsmead in Durban on Wednesday.

Just who is chasing whom is no longer the issue since it is the International Cricket Council which allots umpires from its elite panel for series and tournaments. Nevertheless, fans and players who fear the dreaded finger can only look on in surprise.

Indeed, De Silva's performance in recent matches has invited much scrutiny leaving cricket experts pondering whether an umpire is really able to do his job much better if he has played the game at the highest level as was the conventional wisdom.

De Silva, a former leg spinner, played 10 Tests and 28 ODIs for Sri Lanka. He has stood in 36 ODIs since his debut as an umpire in the 1999-2000 season. Over 50 per cent of those appearances (19 ODIs in all) have been in matching involving India. Seven of those ODIs were won by India.

And 16 of the 22 Test matches umpired by De Silva since his debut as an official have featured India. India won five of those 16 Tests

It would be unfair to zero in on De Silva as David Shepherd of England and Rudi Koertzen of South Africa will have stood in three matches each by the time India's six preliminary matches are complete.

It would also be unfair to talk of De Silva standing in three of India's matches when two Indians are standing in three of Sri Lanka's preliminaries -- S. Venkataraghavan two, and A.V. Jayaprakash one.

But the hilarity of it all will not be lost on Indian fans when Shepherd or Koertzen gesture to the third umpire for a run-out or stumped decision.

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Number of User Comments: 6

Sub: Comment - It is not Cricket Market Economy determines who wins

I am a Srilankan Tamil who support passionately to Indian cricket(only to India) all through my life. Srilankan Tamils were a natural allies of India ...

Posted by N.Sivakumar

Sub: Neutral-ing

It is unfair to blame the umpire only for India's performance as many have lifted finger against Asoka De Silva for some time Yes, he ...

Posted by Ch V Kalyan

Sub: Umpire

I agree with this analysis wholeheartedly, I do hope we don't need a 3rd umpire decision vs England. Even though there should not be any ...

Posted by Gautam Ghose

Sub: Umpire or a Joke

We, The Gods of World Cricket, herein called ICC, have been hearing about this complain against umpire Ashok Desilva since long time. So we decided ...

Posted by Yasho

Sub: Down with Desilva!

Asoka Desilva has really been a thorn in the side for India.. over the past year. He has continually been giving bad decisions against India ...

Posted by Akash Vijay


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