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I missed the toss call: Rutherford

From Bipin Dani

Mumbai - Former New Zealand right-handed batsman, Ken Rutherford had just "missed" the opportunity of becoming the first International captain to ask for the re-toss. "I had not heard about a toss controversy at the recent World Cup Final when the match-referee had ordered for the re-toss (when the call by Sri Lanka captain, Kumar Sangakkara was not heard by him)", he said over telephone from South Africa, where he is based now.

But it was Salim Malik, in the Test match at Eden Park in February 1994. who instead of calling head or tail had mumbled something in Urdu and had claimed the toss against Ken Rutherford, the New Zealand captain who had protested but reluctantly accepted Malik's version.

"Salim Malik called either ''teds'' or ''hails''. Hence he had a few bases covered. He was obviously pretty keen to win that toss because he picked up the coin after it landed and bounced of the pitch. This incident led to match referee intervention at toss-time".

"The whole episode happened so quickly, that by the time I had realised what happened, the toss ceremony was complete. It was replayed on TV....and my suspicions were confirmed", Rutherford added. Raman Subba Rao was the match-referee then.

I believe that by having the match referee involved at the toss that any potential foul play could be easily averted. The current day match referee should be aware of this potentially damaging situation and is in a position to ask for the toss to be re-taken", Rutherford added further.

Interestingly, the first incident in the International match where the toss has been redone was some few years ago at Harare when Salim Malik again was involved in the controversy. It happened against Pakistan when Andy Flower tossed the coin, his opposite captain, Salim Malik for some unknown reason shouted 'Bird' instead of calling a 'head or a 'tail'. The bird, an eagle is of course the national symbol of Zimbabwe which also decorates one side of a coin. The bird side of the coin was clearly visible as it fell. Pakistan captain claimed the toss and was congratulated by the home captain at Malik decided to bat.

The match-referee (Jackie Hendricks of West Indies) disputed the toss and the call made by Salim Malik and ordered the toss to be retaken.

"At Lord's in 1979 both Mike Brearley and Venkat thought they had won the toss (not sure if this is recorded anywhere but I was there!). Luckily Brearley wanted to bowl and Venkat wanted to bat! Eventually Brearley shrugged and said "Let him have the toss then". Brearley was right: England then bowled India out for 96", Cricinfo's renowned statistician Steven Lynch says.

"Sometimes (very rarely now) they are done in the pavilion. And there was at least one county game when, in fact, there was no toss at all because one team wanted to bat and the other one wanted to bowl (Middlesex v Warwickshire, from memory? A toss win is given - the batting side I suspect - just to complete the records", he added.

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