Three instances where declaration in Tests was made under questionable circumstances
One of the most important and trickiest decisions that a captain makes in a Test match is declaration. Although he gets the support and guidance from his coach, the final decision lies on him.
The declaration is a crucial aspect in Tests because it can significantly alter the course of the game. The amount of time left in the Test match, the number of runs scored, the number of overs needed by the bowlers to bowl the opposition out, weather conditions, nature of the pitch and, whether it is a must-win game are some of the factors that play a crucial role in declaring the innings.
There have been instances where a captain has declared under questionable circumstances. This article tries to encapsulate three such declarations.
#1 Pakistan vs India (Multan, 2004)
India took on Pakistan in a three-match Test series at their backyard. It was the first Test at Multan and Virender Sehwag lit up the occasion by scoring a belligerent 309* and India posted a mammoth 675/5 declared.
Sachin Tendulkar in the same match supported Sehwag by making stroke-filled 194*. The surprising thing was, skipper Rahul Dravid declared the innings when Tendulkar was just six shy of his double-century.
Even though India went on to win the Test comfortably by an innings and 52 runs, the main talking point was the declaration from Dravid.
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The initial plan chalked out by Dravid and coach John Wright was that India would declare post-tea and make Pakistan bat for around 15 overs. However, a major miscommunication happened and Dravid declared the innings when there were 16 overs left in the day.
Tendulkar in his autobiography Playing it my way wrote,
“With more than half an hour into the post-tea session, Ramesh Powar, who was substituting in the game came on the field and asked me to accelerate. I even joked with him, saying that I was aware that we needed quick runs but with the field totally spread out, there was only so much we could do."
“A little later, when I was on 194, he came out again and said I should try to get my double hundred in that over itself as Rahul had decided to declare. I was startled, to say the least, because in my mind I still had 12 balls in which to score the remaining six runs before 15 overs were left for the day. As it happened, I did not get to play a single ball in that over with Yuvraj on strike against Imran Farhat. He blocked the first two balls, before picking two runs off the third ball. He once again blocked the fourth ball and was out the first ball.”
Once Yuvraj fell, Dravid declared the innings leaving Tendulkar extremely furious.