India’s stats man discovers de Mel’s wicket
India’s renowned cricket statistician Mohandas Menon’s latest discovery will certainly ring music in the ears of Ashantha de Mel.
Former Sri Lanka fast bowler, who is now the chief selector and manager of the national team is credited with 59 wickets each in 17 and 57 Tests and ODIs respectively he has played.
However, according to the Indian statistician, de Mel’s tally of actual ODI wickets should have been read as 60.
“He (de Mel) should have been the joint leading wicket-taker with 18 wickets with Roger Binny during the 1983 WC. But (he) was denied a wicket by the scorer who credited it to another Sri Llankan bowler instead of De Mel,”
Confirming the same, de Mel, when contacted in Colombo, said, “Yes, I had grabbed three wickets in the 83′ World Cup match against New Zealand at Bristol but the wicket of their captain Geoff Howarth was wrongly credited to Rumesh Ratnayake. Howarth was caught by Madugalle in my bowling.”
“We came to know about this error much later, but I have no regrets,” he said.
Incidentally, Binny played two matches (Semi Final and Final, India won the World Cup) more than de Mel’s six in the World Cup indicating de Mel’s bowling can be more creditable.
“After the scores were published, the Sri Lankan manager reported that the over in question was bowled by de Mel and not Ratnayake. Some authorities accepted this, but Frindall did not, arguing that the scores had been signed off by the umpires. Once published, altering scores long after the event is not a desirable practice, even if it is a definite error. I agree with Frindall on this,” Australian statistician Charles Davis said in a chat with this reporter. (Late) Tambyah Murugaser was a team manager.