Ganguly hopes for better umpiring in remaining Tests

Published: Friday, May 10, 2002, 21:37 [IST]
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St John's (Antigua): India skipper Saurav Ganguly said on Thursday he hoped the umpiring would be better in the remaining two Tests against the West Indies.

"There were a few decisions which made a lot of difference in the last Test," Ganguly said ahead of Friday's fourth Test at the Antigua Recreation Ground. "When you watched the TV, some decisions (of the last Test) looked very different. I hope such things don't happen again in the last two matches," he said, referring to the third umpire decision that ruled West Indies skipper Carl Hooper not out in the third match at Bridgetown. Hooper was on 15 when he received the benefit of the doubt from the TV umpire after left-arm fast bowler Ashish Nehra had deflected a straight-drive from Shivnaraine Chanderpaul on to the stumps at the non-striker's end, with the West Indies captain appearing to be out of his crease. Hooper went on to make 115, sharing a 215-run stand for the fifth wicket with left- handed Chanderpaul. The partnership enabled the hosts to post 394 for a big lead of 292. The West Indies eventually squared the five-match series 1-1 as it bowled India out for 296 in the second innings and scored the five runs needed for victory to romp home with 10 wickets. "The Hooper decision proved a bit costly as he was batting on 15 and went on to put on a stand of 215 with Chanderpaul," Ganguly wrote in his column in an Indian newspaper. "One can understand the mistakes made by the umpires in the centre, because they've a fraction of second to decide. But not when you have 50 TV replays for something that was so obvious." Ganguly, however, denied the Bridgetown defeat had affected the team's morale, saying India still had a chance to win the series. "We've been playing well abroad for nearly two years and won quite a few matches but I think we'll have to bat really well to beat the West Indies and win the series," he said. Under Ganguly's captaincy, India has won a Test in Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and the West Indies but is still looking for its first Test series victory outside the sub-continent since 1986. Ganguly, meanwhile, announced India would continue to play with three fast bowlers and one spinner with Anil Kumble being recalled to the team in the place of Harbhajan Singh. Leg spinner Kumble was dropped after taking two 145 in the drawn opening Test at Georgetown, but his replacement, off spinner Harbhajan, failed to impress in the next two matches. "Kumble is more experienced and has done well here on the last tour," Ganguly said of the only change India has made from the team that lost the last Test. Wicket-keeper Ajay Ratra retained his place in the squad despite scoring just 16 runs in four Test innings. Hooper said his team might hold a slight edge following the win in the last match, but just could not afford to lose here. "We'd like to win, but certainly can't afford to lose," he said. "We aren't complacent. The Bridgetown Test is over and this a new game."

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