Vikramraju on his Tied Test verdict

"Even if there was DRS in that Test, my decision wouldn't have been overturned," says former umpire Vikramraju, who officiated in the India v Australia Test in 1986, which ended in a tie.

Umpire Vikramraju (left) during the tied Test in 1986.   -  The Hindu Photo Library

"Don't you think Vikram (Raju) that it was in our destiny to be associated with this match?", asks a doting Dara Dotiwala in a documentary by the Australian Broadcast Corporation.

The 83-year-old former umpire is referring to the last day of the India-Australia Test 31 years ago on September 22 when Vikramraju, the second standing umpire in that match, lifted his index finger to rule Maninder Singh out as Test cricket produced its second tie in Madras' hallowed furnace of a ground — M.A. Chidambaram stadium.

Maninder flummoxed

Maninder is flabbergasted though. He thinks there's an inside edge and puts his bat up straightaway. Australia meanwhile is scurrying away from the square in jubilation even as non-striker Ravi Shastri is sticking his hand out — perhaps to refuse a single?

"Oh absolutely. There was an inside edge," says Shastri in the documentary.

Thirty One years on, Vikramraju, though, stands by his decision. "That was clearly out! I gave it out and that was out," he says in a chat with Sportstar.

"Right-arm off-spinner Greg Matthews took the last wicket and the batsman was Maninder Singh. And it was a really good match," he reminisces.

However, the Test's propensity for an abiding tinge of controversy lingers to this day. "I remember storming into the umpire's room and having a real go at Vikramraju," says the incumbent head-coach of India and former all-rounder Shastri, in the documentary.

But Vikramraju remembers it differently. "No player from either camp came and spoke to me about the decision. Shastri didn't talk to me either; he didn't say anything," he says.

Advent of DRS

Back in the 1970s and 1980s when even third-umpires weren't in vogue, the Decision Review System (DRS) was a far cry. "DRS makes life easy for on-field officials — it is easier for the umpires to verify (whether they're right or not).

"During our days, there was no DRS but we were confident and made all the calls on the field itself.

"DRS is not correction, it is verification," he says.

Vikramraju never stood in an international Test after that, the ODI between India and West Indies in Thiruvananthapuram, on January 25, 1988 being his final limited-overs assignment. Asked if the ending would've been different had the DRS been used then, he says with a firm voice, "Even if there was DRS in that Test, my decision wouldn't have been overturned."

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