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The flipside of a successful expansion

cricket Updated: Mar 19, 2009 22:47 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Cricket in India is rapidly spreading and following the success of small town boys at domestic and international levels, smaller centres are being allotted major domestic tournaments or matches.

For making the game truly pan-India, the BCCI deserves credit. But like every silver lining having a cloud, there is a flipside to this as well.

While distributing matches to as many venues as possible, the BCCI is also appointing match officials from nearly everywhere.

And obviously, not all of them seem comfortable in executing their new responsibilities.

It was surprising to know that a match referee on duty in the Deodhar Trophy which ended on Wednesday wasn't sure what the rules said about the eventuality of all three teams in a group finishing with the same number of points after the league stage. "I've to check," he said.

Having done that what he had to say was shocking and that's putting it mildly.

"If a match ends in a tie, the team to have lost fewer wickets wins," the match referee, who comes from a state which hasn't yet produced an international cricketer, said.

It didn't answer the question but had a national selector sitting next to this match referee looking bemused.

The journalist asking this was then handed the rule book which clearly stated that in case of a tie in the group stage of a competition, the teams will share points and the number of wickets lost will not be taken into consideration.

On the journalist's question of a three-way tie, the rule book stated that the team with the best net run rate

advances.

According to the BCCI's rules, a match referee has to be a former first-class player or umpire.

Not called into action very often, this though is an important post in today's cricket. In India, these match referees double up as talent spotters in junior national tournaments.