Eyebrows may have been raised when the Irani Cup was called off with Vidarbha needing just 11 runs for an outright win, but one of their senior players Sunday insisted that the decision was mutually taken.
Rest of India skipper Ajinkya Rahane and his Vidarbha counterpart Faiz Fazal settled for a draw after the dismissal of Ganesh Satish on 87, when the hosts were 269 for five, in pursuit 280.
Vidarbha became the third side after Mumbai and Karnataka to retain the Irani Cup for the second time, on the basis of their 95-run first innings lead.
The decision, which seemed incomprehensible, left everyone wondering if the on-field umpires faltered in calling off the game, but the Vidarbha player, said nothing like that had happened.
When asked by PTI whether it was the umpire's mistake, the player replied in the negative.
The player also claimed that the hosts decided to settle for a draw after Ganesh Satish failed to reach a three-figure mark.
"No, no it was nothing like that. We (Vidarbha) had taken the first-innings lead. The mandatory overs had started and we were waiting for Ganesh Satish to get his hundred, but unfortunately, he got out. So (after that) both the captains agreed and the game was called off," the player said on conditions of anonymity.
Asked specifically whether Rahane approached Vidarbha to settle for a draw, another source from the Vidarbha Cricket Association replied, "No, there were no talks (over it)."
An experienced umpire, affiliated with a state cricket association, also said that after the mandatory overs start and if the two captains "mutually agree", then the umpires cannot intervene.
The umpire, though, said that ethically the match should have continued.
According to BCCI law 16.1.6, "On the final day, if both captains (the batsmen at the wicket may act for their captain) accept that there is no prospect of either side achieving a victory, they may agree to finish the match after (a) the time for the commencement of the last hour has been reached OR (b) there are a minimum of 15 overs to be bowled, whichever is later.