It’s a very common scene now-a-days for batsmen to stop a game due to sighting issues. When people move around sight screen, a batsman gets distracted and so he leaves the ball and the game is ceased until the problem is solved. But what happened back in 2005 is a bit rare.
That year Sri Lankan cricket team were visiting New Zealand for a tournament consisting of 3 Tests and 5 ODIs. In the first Yest at Napier, Malinga’s round-arm action came as a surprise to the Kiwi batsmen as they kept on coming from awkward angles. To counter the issue, NZ captain Stephen Fleming came out with weird solutions. He first asked umpires Steve Bucknor and Darrell Hair to take their ties off as the colour of their ties made them loose track of the ball and even went to ask them to change their trousers to lighter shades of colour. Though Bucknor agreed to tie a drape a white cloth around his waist, Hair denied to do so.
“We’re told what to wear by the ICC (International Cricket Council). It’s part of our gear and that’s what we are wearing,” Hair said. He also mentioned that it’s beyond a person’s ability to change trousers everytime a new bowler comes to bowl. “I can understand their concerns but we all have to overcome difficulties at some stage of our life, so in some ways it is a test of character”, He added.
When asked about Bucknor’s draping solution, he said “I’ll hold a jersey there (around the waist) but I’m not going to be wrapping myself up.”
Though the NZ team managed to put up a total of 561 with mentionable contributions from Hamish Marshall (160 from 250), Nathan Astle (114 from 203) and Brendon McCullum (99 from 156 ), the batting line up was troubled by Mallinga taking 5 wickets giving away only 80 runs. The captain scored 41 runs and retired hurt.
When asked of the irky plead, Fleming replied, “Part of it is the trousers in the umpires’ uniform” and also added that they faced real problem to pick Mallinga up as bowled a certain line and length.”
Kiwi skipper also mentioned that they believed umpires happen to be ever helpful as they should be. He also suggested to break the traditional colour code and make them wear beige clothes.
The match stood a draw with Malinga making match figures of 9-210 and winning the man of the match award.