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Cricket News

Of Dravid, Sammy and dropped catches
PTI
Kingston, June 25, 2011
First Published: 10:31 IST(25/6/2011)
Last Updated: 10:39 IST(25/6/2011)

Darren Sammy spent a sleepless night after dropping a catch which ultimately cost West Indies the first Test against India and the miss could haunt him for quite a while if the visitors go on to win the series.

Sammy is finding it difficult to live down the dropped chance off Dravid in the first Test which could turn out to be the final straw in the West Indian skipper's torturous reign at the top.

Catches win matches is an old axiom but occasionally catches dropped have even a bigger say on a series and individual careers.

Young Indian medium-pacer Sanjeev Sharma once found an edge off Graham Gooch's bat on 36 during the Lord's Test of 1990 but to his horror saw wicketkeeper Kiran More fluff it.

The England opener went on to make 333; the hosts won the Test and the series and Sharma was never picked again.

West Indian skipper Carl Hooper could not believe his luck when during the 2002 Guyana Test against India, he edged one off Javagal Srinath to wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta but the chance was put down.

Hooper, then on naught, made it count for 233 runs. In final analysis, West Indies went on to win the five-Test series 2-1.

Among the most painful of memories for an Indian cricket fan was the Eden Gardens match of the 1999-2000 Asian Test championships.

Sachin Tendulkar was controversially adjudged run-out at the non-striker's end by the third umpire which overshadowed the magnificent recovery Pakistan had made in the match.

The visitors were 26 for 6 yet won the game thanks to opener Saeed Anwar's 188 not out in the second knock. Mohammed Azharuddin played his part by dropping the left-hander at second slip early in his innings. It altered the game completely in Pakistan's favour.

Not that the Indians always have had to endure the sob story. Little master Sachin Tendulkar twice brought Pakistan's World Cup campaigns to a grinding halt and on both occasions the opposition was more than generous.

During the Centurion game of the 2003 World Cup, Tendulkar was on 32 when Wasim Akram had him drive one uppishly into the hands of mid-off fielder Abdul Razzaq.

Razzaq grassed it and later said it haunted him for many years.

More recently in Mohali, during the 2011 World Cup semi-finals, Tendulkar was let off four times by Pakistan besides a decision which was overturned in favour of the Indian through the Decision Review System.

"You don't drop Tendulkar four times and win a match," former Pakistan skipper Imran Khan was to comment later on.

India's dashing opener Virender Sehwag was put down three times by Pakistan during his triple century at Multan in the 2004 series. The influence of Pakistan cricket team on India began waning from that series onwards.

On a grey, cloudy first day of the Leeds Test of the 2002 England series, Dravid was in his 40s when let off by the umpire who didn't hear the feathered nick the batsman made to the wicketkeeper. Dravid went on to make 148 and India managed to level the series 1-1.

The other occasion was a rather poignant one -- the infamous Sydney Test of the 2008 series when Dravid, battling hard for his 38 runs from two and a half hours of vigil, brought India to the doorstep of a draw.

Suddenly off-spinner Andrew Symonds sent down one which spun and beat his bat to nestle in the gloves of wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist.

The entire Aussie team went up in appeal and umpire Steve Bucknor upheld it.

The Test caused much bad blood between Indian and Australian cricket boards and nearly fractured the cricketing community.

The most famous dropped catch of all time of course was the let-off by Herschelle Gibbs during the 1999 World Cup which made reprieved batsman Steve Waugh utter, "Son, you've just dropped the world cup."

As an aside, the biggest batting record of all time was built on the altar of a dropped chance.

Durham wicketkeeper Chris Scot was offered a chance by Warwickshire's Brian Lara when the batsman was on 18.

Scot let it go and Lara went on to make 501 runs, the biggest first class innings ever in the history of the game.


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