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Toss controversy mars women's ODI

There seems to be something about the Wankhede Stadium and tosses. The World Cup final last year started on a controversial note when the match referee made the India skipper MS Dhoni and his Sri Lanka counterpart Kumar Sangakkara to toss a second time after a disagreement over who had called correctly the first time. Anand Sachar reports.

cricket Updated: Mar 15, 2012 00:13 IST
Anand Sachar

There seems to be something about the Wankhede Stadium and tosses. The World Cup final last year started on a controversial note when the match referee made the India skipper MS Dhoni and his Sri Lanka counterpart Kumar Sangakkara to toss a second time after a disagreement over who had called correctly the first time. Referee Jeff Crowe had added to the confusion by claiming he hadn't heard Sangakkara's call.

On Wednesday, there was another such controversy, this time ahead of the second women's one-day international between India and Australia. Fortunately, the two skippers didn't dispute the call because there was no one to settle it. The toss had been conducted without the match referee!

In a bizarre incident, a handful of spectators and the ground staff were taken aback when India skipper Anjum Chopra and Jodie Fields of Australia walked out for the toss about five minutes before the scheduled time. The local broadcaster went ahead and conducted the toss, without the presence of the match referee, which is mandatory.

When contacted, match referee Anjali Pendharkar would only say, "I can't talk about it, I'm not authorised to."

However, a source at the ground revealed that an upset Pendharkar was seen complaining to a local official. "When I had informed them the toss will be taken at a particular time how did they go ahead before that?" she asked the official.

A top domestic coach, who didn't wish to be named for the fear of the Indian cricket board, said: "It is really strange. I have never seen the toss conducted without the match referee. There are certain guidelines even in domestic matches and this was an international game. Also, if you don't have a neutral person observing the toss, who do you believe who won the toss? What if it is changed?"

Former international umpire Piloo Reporter said under the ICC rules, the match referee must be present at the time of the toss. "The rules clearly state that unless the match referee is present, the toss cannot go ahead. Once the home team's captain flips the coin and the visiting team's captain calls heads or tails, it is the match referee who is supposed to pick up the coin and inform everyone who won the toss."

However, the outcome was never in doubt as Australia thumped India by 221 runs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Brief Scores: Australia 300/7 in 50 overs (Meg Lanning 128, Alex Blackwell 81) beat India 79 all out in 27.1 overs (Ellyse Perry 5/19)