‘Seven mistakes? Are you kidding me?’: Irfan Pathan lambasts Steve Bucknor for umpiring howlers in 2008 Sydney Test
Irfan Pathan is not pleased with Steve Bucknor despite the former ICC umpire’s acceptance of the errors he committed during the 2008 Sydney Test between India and Australia. Bucknor made as many as seven mistakes in the match, which created controversy for biased umpiring and cost India the Test by 122 runs. The biggest howler of the match was Bucknor refusing to give Andrew Symonds out caught behind when the batsman was on 30. Symonds went on to score 162 which gave Australia the momentum.
Nearly 12 years have passed but the wounds of that Test match are fresh for Pathan. Bucknor, in an interview with Mid-Day last week, acknowledged his mistakes but former all-rounder Pathan wasn’t having any of it.
“No matter how much you accept your mistakes, what’s done is done, we lost the Test match. I remember, I played my first Test in Australia – that was in Adelaide, my debut game [in 2003] – and we won that Test after 21  years in Australia. And losing a Test match, just because of umpiring errors? Not going to make any difference, no matter what umpires say now,” Pathan said on the Cricket Connected Show on Star Sports.
“As a cricketer, we’re used to getting bad decisions, sometimes in our bowling, sometimes in our batting. And we get frustrated by that and then we forget about it. But this Sydney Test match, it was not just one mistake. There were about seven mistakes that cost us the game. There were mistakes where Andrew Symonds was playing, and he got out nearly, I remember, three times, and the umpire didn’t give him out.”
The Sydney Test also made headlines for the infamous Monkeygate episode between Symonds and India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh. The loss was even more hurtful because had it not been for poor umpiring, India were in a strong position to win the Test and the series that finished with Australia winning 2-1, could have ended in a draw. The poor standard of umpiring left a bad taste in the audiences’ mouth and India were also reportedly ready to terminate the series mid-way and return home. However, India, under Anil Kumble, carried on and roared back to win the next Test in Perth.
“He was the Man of the Match, we lost by 122 runs. If only one decision against Andrew Symonds would have been corrected, we would have won that game easily,” Pathan said. “It was not just frustration. For the first time, I saw Indian cricketers were angry. Fans had only one thing in mind – that they [umpires] were doing it purposely. Obviously, as a cricketer, we can’t think like that.
“We’ve to think, ‘OK. These things happen, and we’ve to move forward’. But seven mistakes? Are you kidding me? That was unbelievable and indigestible for us.”
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