Centurion:The ICC came in for sharp criticism for its bizarre rules on playing conditions after the play was stopped for lunch with India needing just two runs to win the second ODI against South Africa.
Both on-field umpires — veteran Aleem Dar and Adrian Holdstock — and match referee Andy Pycroft were criticised by TV commentators and cricket pundits, who termed their decision to call for lunch with India needing just two to win as a “farce”.
Opting to field, India bowled out South Africa for 118 and were then comfortably placed at 117 for one in 18 overs when the umpires called for lunch as per ICC rules.
The decision did not go down well with all and sundry because the umpires had already extended pre-lunch play by three overs. At the scheduled time of break, India were 93 for one after 15 overs.
To the astonishment of players, spectators and commentators, the umpires stuck to the letter of the regulations, ordering a 40-minute lunch break before India could complete a comprehensive win to take a 2-0 lead in the six-match series.
West Indian great Michael Holding termed the decision as “ridiculous”. “They (ICC) want to make the game attractive, but this was a ridiculous decision.”
In fact, neither of the teams looked happy with the decision with India skipper Virat Kohli, who was batting alongside Shikhar Dhawan, even taking up the matter with the on-field umpires.
Former India batsman Virender Sehwag took to Twitter to mock the umpires’ decision. “Umpires treating Indian batsmen like PSU bank treats customers. Lunch ke baad aana,” Sehwag tweeted on a lighter note.