Monday, October 17, 2016

Abhinav Mukund Bizarre Dismissal

Abhinav Mukund's bizarre run out dismissal on Saturday morning in the Ranji Match evoked memories dating back 35 years
A hasty celebration cost the TN Captain his wicket

Photo Courtesy: Abhinav's Twitter Page
Almost 35 years ago, in November 1981, coming off three successive half centuries against England in the tour matches, K Srikkanth made his Test debut in Bombay opening the innings for India. It was an inauspicious start to his international career for in the course of a week, he had the unique record of a bagging a duck in his debut innings in both the one day as well as the test.

But what was bizarre about his debut test match that would still linger in the memory of many cricket followers three and a half decades later was the way he got out in the 2nd innings of that test.  He had moved on to 13 in the 2nd innings when after knocking a ball to Gully, he walked out in his typical way to tap the pitch.

It is a normal thing for cricketers to do to just walk about between balls. The only difference this time was that the ball had not landed in the keeper’s gloves and was instead played to a fielder in the Gully. Professional and ruthless, Emburey knocked down the stumps and claimed the run out. And to Srikkanth’s utter disappointment, the umpired raised his finger to send him back to the pavilion. No cricket fan from Tamil Nadu would have liked Srikkanth to get out that way for he was a very jolly cricketer and he was the one cricketer at that time that the entire Tamil Nadu wanted to succeed.

In later years, this debut test dismissal was always a matter of a joke with Gavaskar and co whenever they wanted to make him the centre of attention. And they never forgot to remind him of that dismissal.

Over the weekend, another opener, Abhinav Mukund, this time opening for Tamil Nadu in a Ranji Trophy match got out in similar bizarre circumstances evoking memories of Srikkanth’s dismissal.

Abhinav was 98 NO overnight and had led TN’s recovery after conceding the first innings lead to Railways. In the first over on the 3rd morning, with Kaushik Gandhi as his partner (the two had put on a big partnership the previous evening and looked set to continue their good work on the 3rd day), Abhinav completed his century with a couple and in a moment of happiness he had moved out of the crease and crossed the middle of the pitch (construed as an attempt to run a third run), the keeper who had received the throw from the deep near the boundary relayed it back to the bowler who removed the bails with Abhinav seen in a Celebratory gesture.

As the Railways team claimed the run out, the umpires confirmed that the ball was still in play and ruled Abhinav out.  With the completion of the century and the joy around it, Abhinav may have thought that the ball had ‘finally landed’ in the keeper’s gloves after the 2nd run (or he may well have thought that the ball had crossed the boundary) but the two umpires after a discussion ruled him out stating that the ball had not become dead (the ball had not touched the boundary line and was well in play and he was given out for not having reached his crease for the completion of the 3rd run!!!).

Thus after 35 years, yet another opener from Tamil Nadu had got run out in bizarre circumstances. In 1981, Srikkanth, not yet 22, was trying to make an impact in the 2nd innings after a duck in the first and his dismissal evoked a sense of ‘paavam’ from the fans all over Tamil Nadu. Cricket wasn't yet professional then'Gardening' the pitch was a pretty routine affair and the way Srikkanth played cricket, he may not have expected an international opponent to throw down his wicket when he was 'gardening'.

Cricket has seen a sea change in the last three decades. Today, even the Ranji cricketers are paid extremely well. Abhinav is a full time cricketing professional. He has played test cricket and is the captain of the Tamil Nadu team. Given the state of the team that morning (after having lost the season opener) it was naive of Abhinav to be celebrating half way down the pitch when the ball was still in play and when the umpires had not signalled a boundary. It is a surprise that he has come unscathed (with just a minimial fine) following his questioning the umpire's decision..

Only a month earlier the same pair of Kaushik Gandhi and Abhinav Mukund had in the final of the TNPL made a shrewd observation of only three fielders being inside the circle. Kaushik Gandhi came down the pitch and swung wildly after which the umpire signalled a no ball.

Abhinav allowed the moment of excitement to get to him. A player of his calibre with international experience should know that celebrations of this kind should happen after the ball becomes dead (in the umpires' judgment).

Instead he chose a moment too soon and thus his joy was rightfully cut short in a matter of a few seconds as it turned into a long walk back to the pavilion with the umpiring raising his finger.
A Celebration had turned into instant sadness for Abhinav as he lost out on a golden opportunity to convert his century into a big one. Dinesh Karthik saved his blushes with a terrific century. Else the lapse in concentration could have cost Tamil Nadu dear. 

I hope it will be a lesson well learnt for Abhinav.


Anonymous said...

Knowing Abhinav so closely for many years, it comes as a great surprise that he has been so careless. He could have definitely gone on to a big score had he continued.

(former Ranji cricketer)

Anonymous said...

Bizzare : I'm sure he didn't want to be equated to Srikkanth this way...

Anonymous said...

Ha ha, History repeats itself with TN players for the wrong reasons!!

Anonymous said...

Sad, but you cannot make such mistakes at that level.

Unknown said...

Brings the Ian Bell incident from the 2011 Trent bridge test, to mind. Tough way to go, but within the laws, unfortunately. Glad Tn got their first win in-spite of this unsavory moment!

Anonymous said...

Nice article sir! The same thing happened 2 murali against SA :)