How the decision was made

The Gleaner

January 30, 1998

CRICKET: According to England captain Mike Atherton, he did not initiate the discussion. At a press conference later, he explained, the umpires were not satisfied with the pitch from early in the proceedings and were on the intercom to the match referee.

``Senior umpire (Srinivas) Venkat was in constant touch with the match referee from an early stage and when Alec (Stewart) called me out I had a chat with Brian and we agreed the conditions were unfit for first-class cricket. We then went to the umpires.''

Lara agreed the conditions were unfit for play.

``Umpire Venkat came to me and said we will have to have a discussion on the state of the pitch, if not at the water break, at the luncheon break. I was quite happy to have that sort of discussion.

``It looked as if it started when Mike came on to the field, but as I said before, umpire Venkat had spoken to me. Mike came onto the field, of course. Alec Stewart called him out and in consultation with the two umpires they thought that the pitch was unfit for cricket. The question was posed to me and I said that as the captain I can't make such a decision. It is up to the umpires. I think it was dangerous for both teams.''

What did Lara think about the pitch before the start of play?

``I was going to bowl if we won the toss. After play started, the ball was doing a lot of things from a difficult spot. Some were keeping low, some were flying and I thought it was dangerous for batting.''

Source: The Jamaica Gleaner

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Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 18:39