Jeff Crowe's presence in World Cup finals as match referee continues to cause unusual incidents. After supervising a farcical end to the 2007 edition in Bridgetown, Barbados, the former New Zealand captain witnessed a false start to Saturday's game between India and Sri Lanka.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni tossed the specially minted coin into the air and the head side of it was showing after it landed on the surface. There was confusion all over after that, as nobody seemed to know who had won the toss.
Sangakkara claimed he had called correctly, Dhoni didn't agree and it came down to Crowe, who said he couldn't hear the call because of the roar generated by the crowd in the stands. In a rather unusual decision, Crowe asked Dhoni to toss the coin again. This time, Sanga called head and got it right.
There was nothing wrong in what Crowe did. But it stood out because the decibel levels are almost the same in all stadiums across India whenever the home team plays. The noise here was not any different from what it was in the quarterfinal in Ahmedabad or the semifinal in Mohali.
Getting in wrong
Crowe doesn’t have fond memories of being involved with World Cup finals. In 2007, the match was completed in near darkness after Crowe decided that a certain number of overs had to be bowled. This was after the players had left the ground and the stumps were removed as everyone thought it was over.
Given the poor visibility, Australia used their slower bowlers and the Sri Lankan tail-enders didn't even try to force the issue, knowing that it was not possible to go for runs in those conditions. The players were told by Crowe that, otherwise, the remaining few overs would have to be bowled on the next day.
The International Cricket Council took the matter seriously and left Crowe out from the panel of match officials for the inaugural T20 World Cup played later that year in South Africa. The umpires of that match, Pakistan's Aleem Dar and Steve Bucknor of the West Indies, were also ignored along with South African third umpire Rudi Koertzen.
So, to be picked for another World Cup final was a big thing for Crowe, who stuttered at the start this time.