|Player:||DJ Harper, SR Tendulkar, SC Ganguly, M Erasmus, MW Brown, VVS Laxman|
DateLine: 8th January 2007
Umpire Daryl Harper said Friday that Sachin Tendulkar and the Indian team management should have been aware that the star Indian batsman was not allowed to bat early on the fourth day of the third Test against South Africa at Newlands.
There was a six-minute delay between the fall of India's second wicket and the arrival on the field of Sourav Ganguly after Tendulkar was informed he could not bat in his usual position because he had been off the field for 18 minutes at the end of South Africa's first innings the previous day. Harper said the playing condition was clear. If a player was off the field for longer than eight minutes he had to stay away from the action for the equivalent time before he could bat or bowl. "That's been in the conditions for as long as I have been around," said Harper, who has been a Test umpire since 1998. Harper said that after the first Indian wicket fell nine minutes into the day he asked third umpire Marais Erasmus to send a reminder to the Indian dressing room that Tendulkar could not bat until 18 minutes had elapsed. Three minutes later a second wicket fell. "It's pretty straightforward really," said Harper. "If a player leaves the field he's got to be responsible for his own actions. I thought I should send a reminder just in case there was any misunderstanding." Harper said the issue had not been raised with Indian management before play. "We don't remind players each morning that they can be out lbw or caught or bowled. Players must be responsible for knowing the conditions. In most cases I think you'd find that the manager would be aware of those conditions and nothing would need to be said. We could have gone and told them first thing in the morning but personally I didn't want to put a negative thought in their minds that if two quick wickets fell Sachin couldn't bat." In the delay before Ganguly went to the wicket there were boos from the crowd, while the South African players asked umpires Harper and Asad Rauf about the "timed out" rule whereby a batsman can be given out if he is not ready to face within three minutes of the previous wicket falling. Harper said the South Africans had not appealed for "timed out" - a form of dismissal which has never happened in Test cricket and only four times in first-class games. "I had explained to them that there were exceptional circumstances and they were quite happy with that," he said. Ganguly said that fourth umpire Murray Brown had arrived at the dressing room with Harper's reminder as the second wicket fell. VVS Laxman, who was due to bat after Tendulkar, was in the shower and Ganguly had to pad up in a hurry. "I had to get ready. I was in my tracksuit," he said.