One of the most debated moments in cricket history took place in a 1999 Test match between India and Australia when Sachin Tendulkar was deemed as LBW by umpire Daryl Harper in Adelaide for a duck. The bouncer from Glenn McGrath kept low, and as Tendulkar tried to duck it, it hit him on his shoulders. But Harper deemed that the ball was right in front of the middle stump, and hence raised his finger, as per the rules. The decision was one of the most controversial ones and saw a huge media uproar all over the world the following day.
Harper recently recalled the decision in an interview to Asianet Newsable, in which he said that he believes the decision was “correct” and he is “extremely proud” of that call. In the same interview, Harper said that he had met MSK Prasad in Australia in 2018, where the former India selector told him that Sachin agrees that it was out.
Now, in a recent interview to Mumbai Mirror, Prasad, who was the wicketkeeper for India in the 1999 Test, refuted Harper’s claims. Prasad said that he did meet Harper a couple of years when he was the chief selector of the national team, during which the debate was brought out. But the former India wicketkeeper said that his remarks were different as to what Harper has said.
“Daryl had been carrying the guilt about the decision for quite long. He met me in the lunchroom during the 2018 (India-Australia) Test series. He actually asked me ‘what was the feeling of Sachin’ when he was adjudged LBW, which had erupted into a huge controversy,” Prasad said.
“Then I told him whether you declared him out or not out, Sachin is not a person who will question umpires. That is why he went on to become a role model for all of us and the God of Indian Cricket,” he further said.
On being asked about what was the team’s reaction after the dismissal was given during the 1999 Test, Prasad said: “The overall impression in the dressing room was that of shock.”
This was not the only time when Harper left the Indian cricket fans displeased. In 2011, officiating in his final series, Harper made a decision that didn’t go too well with former captain MS Dhoni. During India’s tour of West Indies, in the first Test of the series held in Kingston, Jamaica, Harper banned Praveen Kumar – making his Test debut – from bowling in the remainder of the innings after the India seamer was running down to the middle of the pitch into the protected area.