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England left reeling in the dark

Quite interestingly, India and England said they had an idea about the possibility of bad light playing a part in Thursday's match a day before the game, reports Subhash Rajta.

cricket Updated: Nov 21, 2008 00:09 IST
Subhash Rajta

Quite interestingly, India and England said they had an idea about the possibility of bad light playing a part in Thursday's match a day before the game. The hunch would have only grown stronger when the start was delayed by about 45 minutes because of a morning haze.

So, the teams clearly had time to chalk out their strategies to deal with the eventuality should it arise. And as it transpired, they had contrasting approaches to deal with the problem. England were lucky to win the toss, for it gave them a chance to drive the advantage in their favour in case the Duckworth-Lewis rule came into play and had a role in deciding the game. The D/L system normally leaves the chasing team with a slight advantage in the sense that the chasing team knows the par score at all times and what position - in terms of wickets and runs - they have to be in, at any given over, to be ahead of the opposition.

In the light of this fact, it's quite baffling to understand the rationale behind England choosing to bat first. "We batted first as the track looked quite flat and it was likely to assist spinner later. With two spinners in the side, we had to bat first," said England skipper Kevin Pietersen.

India, on the other hand, had a completely different strategy. "After observing the weather yesterday, we knew that the match might get disrupted and we prepared accordingly. We would have opted to field even if we had won the toss," said India coach Gary Kirsten.

India's coach also refused to be apologetic about the manner in which victory was achieved. "We played by the rules and won. I don't think the umpires could have arrived at any other conclusion," said Kirsten.

England, though not too vociferously, did air their disappointment and said that certain things could have been done differently. Pietersen said they tried to argue with the umpires to shorten the break. But then, he himself said, the ICC rules don't allow such a shortening, in the circumstances.

Besides, Peitersen also didn't sound happy with the fact that lights can't be switched on to complete the match. "I think the authorities need to look into it. They will need to go back to the drawing board and will need to change things for the sake of the game," he said.

Continuing, he said Guwahati ODI could meet the same fate. "Guwahati is further east and although we have a half-an-hour early start, I don't think it's going to help much. The authorities do need to take a look in there," he said.

No matter how much one would like to agree with him on the issue, the rules are very clear. If the two teams fail to come to an understanding on the use of the lights, in the playing conditions, before the start of the series, the lights can't simply be switched on as and when needed. And to reach an agreement on lights there need to be lights at every match venue in the first place, for the sake of consistency, and this is not always the case. And so, while it's easy to say "the lights should have been switched on," that's being simplistic both teams know this.

All said and done, one can say that even when it came to dealing with the possibility of bad light, India outwitted England.