Sachin Tendulkar got one reprieve after another in the historic ICC ODI 2011 World Cup semi-final where arch-rivals Pakistan and India locked horns in a fiercely competitive brawl.
Tendulkar got several let-offs and one of them was very controversial. Saeed Ajmal was arguably at the pinnacle of his career and was bewildering the batters with his doosra and sharp off-spin.
Ajmal induced an error when Tendulkar was still warming up to the task and the little master missed a straighter delivery that thumped his pads - it looked pretty adjacent. On-field umpire Ian Gould, in that high-octane affair, raised the dreaded finger and the entire Pakistan team erupted in euphoria but then a nightmare followed for Pakistan fans.
Sachin decided to take the review - which was still a new addition in the game at that time - and the decision was overturned much to the dismay of Ajmal and company. The ball pitched in line and did not deviate much off the track but the ball tracker showed the ball going outside the leg stump.
After almost a decade, retired umpire Ian Gould expressed his astonishment on that decision and still cannot wrap his head over the funny things that technology did on that day. He said he would have given Sachin out no matter how many times he sees that replay.
“When I gave him out at Mohali, I think this is out. I will sit here and guarantee you, if I see it again, I’d still give it out, simple as that. He talked to Gambhir and looked like he was going to walk out, and I am thinking thank God for that, then he spun on his heels and made T sign and the world stopped,” seasoned umpire Ian Gould told BBC 5 Live Sports.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) showed a lot of inertia when the decision review system was first introduced in the game which was a contrast to the stance of other full members.
However, that same technology proved to be a match-turning moment for India and, in hindsight, things might have transpired on another trajectory had Sachin been removed early from the scenes.
“Billy Bowden told me it’s missing leg, I need you to change your decision. Well no disrespect to him, but I was watching on a 90-foot screen showing me it was missing leg by an inch so I didn’t really need his analysis,” Ian added.
It was Sachin’s match-turning 85-run knock that got India to a respectable total of 270 after Wahab Riaz wreaked havoc on the Indian batting line-up with a fifer.
“All I saw was a quicker ball from Ajmal and it thudded into the pads and went to square leg. I was just right, he’s out. Sorry, you’re out. I don’t care who you are, Sachin or anybody, you’re out. I was 110% confident when the referral was made that the batsman was out,” concluded Gould.