Harper holds Ganguly as long time friend

Published: Thursday, November 24, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Kolkata:Australian umpire Darryl Harper today described Sourav Ganguly as a 'longtime friend' and hoped to see him back as Indian captain.

''Ganguly, I hear, is the most succesful Indian captain. His stint as captain has been a wonderful period for Indian cricket. I am hoping to see him (there) again,'' Harper toldnewspersons here.

Harper, who is here to officiate in tomorrow's One Day International match between India and South Africa, recalled he had enjoyed 'many moments' on the field with Ganguly.

''We have a long relationship. I consider him as a friend,'' he said.

Harper, on his second visit to the city, said umpiring in India was the toughest job because of the large crowds and the noise they generated. ''The job of an umpire becomes more intense and challenging in such an environment. But it also brings a great deal of satisfction also at the end of the day for a job well done''.

''The presence of a noisy crowd makes things difficult, but I enjoy it,'' said Harper, who would be standing for his 105th ODI on the morrow.

Drawing on the experiences of having stood in the middle during last year's Test here between the same teams, Harper said "I understand that I have to depend on the body language of players before giving my verdict in delicate situations like whether a batsman had indeed edged a ball."

Harper said as an umpire he got the biggest crowd at Melbourne where 83,000 people turned up to watch a VB series match.

When reminded that Eden had a capacity of around 90,000, a smiling Harper said "then I may get the biggest crowd of my career here tomorrow."

On the recent changes in the ODI rules, Harper said the system of power play and super sub had made the game interesting.

He did not agree that modern cricket had become too dependent on technology. "The game is changing. We have a good mixture of technology and human endeavour."

Harper, a former primary school teacher, said the stringent ICC Code of Conduct had not changed the character of the game.

"The character is still there. The code of conduct is brilliant. And cricket still continues to be a gentleman's game."

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