TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
SA captain AB de Villiers was from Mars on Thursday: everything was fine. Indian team manager Vinod Phadke was from Venus: he was slapped with a fine.
Somehow, De Villiers got away with another slow one-day at the office in Indore on Wednesday – when his team took 20 minutes too long to bowl their overs in the second match of the ODI series. That’s an arrears of five overs.
But the International Cricket Council (ICC) said nothing about that on Thursday. And that despite that fact that, on Tuesday, De Villiers was docked 40% of his match fee after falling foul of the required rate by two overs in the first ODI in Kanpur on Sunday.
Where did Wednesday’s three errant overs go? Into the stats soup match referee Chris Broad cooked up to arrive at how much of the lost time could be blamed on De Villiers rather than on equipment changes and unscheduled drinks breaks, and the like.
Indeed, on Sunday SA were also in the field for 20 minutes longer than they should have been. But enough of that time could be explained away to lessen De Villiers’ share of the problem.
Not that the issue has gone away entirely: another slip into overtime, officially, in the next 12 months and De Villiers will face a ban.
Phadke landed in trouble for telling a reporter, “It is obvious to everybody that the umpiring has not been good.”
He was referring to the performance of umpire Vineet Kulkarni, who earned the Indians’ ire for decisions he made in the first matches of the Twenty20 and the ODI series.
On Thursday, the ICC decided that Phadke had been “found to have breached article 2.1.3 of the code of conduct for players and player support personnel, which relates to ‘public criticism of, or inappropriate comment in relation to an incident occurring in an international match or any player, player support personnel, match official or team participating in any international match”, and claimed 40% of his match fee.
On Wednesday, Kulkarni gave Farhaan Behardien out caught behind despite the lack of evidence that ball had hit bat. The South Africans have yet to complain, and won’t.
“We are not the kind of cricket team and I am not the kind of captain to go publicly criticise the umpires,” De Villiers said. “They give it their best out there. They get some right, they get some wrong.
“I don’t think it changed the game. We had opportunities to win and we didn’t take them. That’s part of sport.”
Well said. Not that that will stop many – millions of Indians among them – wondering which planet the ICC are from.