Out: Third umpire, Dhoni walks
MAHENDRA SINGH Dhoni, India's highest scorer on Monday, returned to the pavilion before he was officially declared out by the third umpire. All because of an operational error on the part of those handling the video screen at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium. If that screen hadn't screamed "OUT", god knows what the umpire would have ruled and how much the Ranchi blaster would have added to his knock of 64.
After hitting England skipper Andrew Flintoff for three consecutive boundaries, Dhoni scampered for a tight single after pushing the ball to James Anderson at mid-off. Anderson shattered the stumps with a direct throw and the decision was referred to third umpire K. Hariharan.
TV replays showed that though the ball hit the stumps before Dhoni got in, it didn’t dislodge the the bail. But before Hariharan could react, the video screen over the Gavaskar stand flashed the "out" sign.
"The third umpire had requested a third replay as he couldn't make up his mind after watching from two different angles," BCCI executive secretary Ratnakar Shetty told HT. "The screen flashed the 'out' sign when Hariharan was still looking at the replay. As a result, Dhoni returned to the pavilion before he was officially declared out. It was irresponsible on the part of the screen operators."
Dhoni, who saved India from follow-on, said he never saw the red light -- which denotes out -- flash. "I couldn't see the red light," he said. "I saw the decision on the screen and started walking back." Though Hariharan eventually decided to rule Dhoni out, it could have led to an unpleasant situation had it been otherwise.
Afterwards, broadcasters decided to cut the feed to screen operator Televista and spectators were deprived of watching the action on the giant screen. Televista seemed unrepentant. Jacob Ebrahim, in-charge of Televista's control panel on the ground, says there is no direct communication between the third umpire and the screen operators before a decision is flashed on the screen. "We usually look at television replays and then flash the decision," says Ebrahim.