Crazy over cricket

Last Updated: Fri, Dec 24, 2010 19:50 hrs

The year’s cricketing story came not, from Twitter or London but Lucknow.

How would you remember cricket in 2010? It is a legitimate and difficult question. The year had so many reasons to remember it by.

Sachin, who had a terrific year, provided at least two of those: The first 200 in one-day cricket and 50 Test centuries.

India’s arch rival Pakistan provided its own two bits, as it added the phrase "spot-fixing" to the game’s lexicon. England has been an exciting team to watch, touching the heights at Adelaide and plunging the depths in the next Test at Perth. New Zealand has most done the second bit, losing 0-5 to India in a one-day series and — hold your breath — 0-4 to Bangladesh. Lalit Modi probably overshadowed all this, and everything else that happened on the field, with his shenanigans, involving the Kochi IPL team, the sacking of a central minister, and at least one nubile model. Apparently the most powerful man in world cricket when this year began, he now resides mainly on Twitter.

Twitter, for its part, became the chosen platform for everyone to vent emotions (such as frustration at team selection) or dispense pearls of wisdom (sans Twitter, this facet of Graeme Swann may have gone unnoticed). Michael Clarke apologised for not ‘walking’, which enraged Mark Waugh into saying that Alan Border, had he been Clarke’s captain, would have chucked his "Twitter box" from the balcony. It was Twitter that helped Elizabeth Hurley disclose the latest arrangements in her bedroom, as Shane Warne seemed to pop in and pop out ignoring the clamour for his return to the Australian side. That clamour encouraged Richie Benaud to ask why only Warne when he, too, could swing an arm.

To Umpire’s Post, though, the defining story of the year came not from Twitter or London, but from Lucknow. Based mostly on Deccan Herald’s reportage, here is what happened:

A few days ago, there was a match going on between two villages, Simraina and Beekapur, in Sultanpur district of Uttar Pradesh. At one point in the match, Arun Kumar, batting for Simraina, was given out leg-before-wicket by umpire Amit Singh. Kumar, however, differed with the umpire and stood his ground, while at the same time registering a strong protest (details of language and gesture deployed not available).

After about five or six minutes of this, umpire Amit Singh thought he had had enough had decided to take matters (read scruff) in his own hands, literally. He allegedly caught Arun Kumar by his collar and dragged him out of the field.

At this point, another character entered the scene. Ashish (second name not available), also on the Simraina team, decided to oppose his mate Arun Kumar’s forcible eviction. He allegedly took out a pistol and fired twice at the umpire, who had to be rushed to the Chhatrapati Sahuji Maharaj Medical University hospital for emergency treatment.

There seems to be a bit of history to both Ashish and Singh. Apparently, the former has criminal cases registered against him in Sultanpur district. Singh has been charged with loot and extortion and was out on bail when he graciously agreed to be umpire at the match.

They say India is a cricket-crazy country. Guess what! They are right.


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