Denesh Ramdin was at the centre of a spiky argument after West Indies’ victory over Pakistan as the captains of both teams offered strident views about whether the Windies wicketkeeper had acted in the spirit of the game.
In the sides’ opening Champions Trophy fixture, Misbah ul-Haq was unhappy with Ramdin for claiming a catch off Kemar Roach, which would have seen the Pakistan skipper dismissed for a duck. Umpire Nigel Llong, standing at square-leg, called for the replays after Misbah had been given out, and the footage seemed to show that Ramdin had celebrated the catch despite appearing to lose control of the ball a split second after he had held it.
Pakistan would have been 17 for 4 but Tony Hill, the third umpire, overturned the decision and Misbah continued, eventually scoring 96 not out. After his team’s two-wicket win, Ramdin was waiting to discover if he would be punished by ICC match referee Chris Broad, but Misbah did not hide his feelings on the matter.
Asked whether he would have been happy had one of his players acted in a similar manner, Misbah said: “I don’t think so. If we don’t know whether it is a catch then fine, but if you know it’s not a catch you shouldn’t claim it because it’s not in the spirit of the game.
“What can I say about that? He should have said what happened. I don’t know what he was thinking at that time.”
Pakistan are, of course, familiar with controversy themselves. Three players, Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, were found guilty of spot-fixing during the Lord’s Test against England in 2010, for which they were eventually handed custodial sentences and bans from the game.
West Indies captain, Dwayne Brav,o was quick to emphasise his wicketkeeper’s integrity, as well as that of his team. Bravo said: “We as West Indians don’t play the game like that. History shows we never had anything negative against us, unlike other teams.
“Denesh is a very honest player and he honestly thought he had full control of the ball. History shows that we don’t have any stigma or negatives around us as a team. We play the game in a true spirit and I don’t think we’d do something like this deliberately.”
This is not the first time Ramdin has been involved in a flashpoint. In the Test match against England at Edgbaston last year, the wicketkeeper completed his century before brandishing a written message in the direction of Sir Viv Richards, who had been critical of Ramdin before that match.
Even if the ICC decided to punish Ramdin, he would still have been in a chipper mood after guiding his side home with two wickets to spare. Roach hit the winning runs and was named man of the match for a superb spell of fast bowling in which he took 3 for 7 from his opening six-over spell.
Misbah’s excellent innings helped Pakistan to 170 and their bowling attack, full of wit and variety, tested West Indies. Mohammad Irfan, standing 7ft 1in, removed Johnson Charles and Darren Bravo early and when Saeed Ajmal bowled Chris Gayle, West Indies looked particularly jittery.
The contributions of Marlon Samuels and Kieron Pollard, who made 30, along with Gayle’s 39, ensured West Indies sneaked home.
But this match showed that one-day cricket does not need fours, sixes and totals above 300 to enthral its spectators.
* Results so far
Group B India beat South Africa by 26 runs. West Indies beat Pakistan by two wickets
* Fixtures (10.30am unless stated)
Saturday (Group A) England v Australia, Edgbaston
Sunday (A) New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Cardiff
Monday (B) Pakistan v South Africa, Edgbaston (1pm)
Tuesday (B) India v West Indies, The Oval
Wednesday (A) Australia v New Zealand, Edgbaston
Thursday (A) England v Sri Lanka, The Oval (1pm)
Friday (B) South Africa v West Indies, Cardiff
15 June (B) India v Pakistan, Edgbaston
16 June (A) England v New Zealand, Cardiff
17 June (A) Australia v Sri Lanka, The Oval (1pm)
19 June Winner Group A v runner-up Group B, The Oval
20 June Winner Group B v runner-up Group A, Cardiff
23 June Edgbaston