By Amit Roy
The Queen slipped in a doosra by questioning Joe Root’s dismissal in the second England-India ODI in Nagpur in January when she accepted the new Indian high commissioner’s letter of commission at Buckingham Palace last Wednesday (15).
Over her 60-year reign, the Queen, now 90, has acquired a lot of knowledge about a great many things, but it was not known that she follows cricket – it has generally been assumed that horse racing is her thing.
It could be that Prince Philip, who does enjoy watching cricket, tipped her off about Root’s dismissal.
Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha, who is India’s 26th high commissioner in London, and his wife Girija were ferried to and from the palace from his residence in Kensington Palace Gardens in a four-horse drawn landau. They were escorted by William Alistair Harrison, Her
Majesty’s marshal of the Diplomatic Corps.
“She asked me about Joe Root’s dismissal,” said Sinha, who has been moved from Colombo in Sri Lanka to London to be high commissioner, while his predecessor, Navtej Sarna, has gone to Washington DC to be Indian ambassador after only seven months in the UK.
The Queen was referring to Root’s controversial dismissal for 38, when he was given out lbw to Jasprit Bumrah by umpire C Shamshuddin.
After England lost the match by five runs, the skipper Eoin Morgan expressed his “extreme frustration” with the umpiring decisions he believed had tipped the game in India’s favour. In Root’s case, he probably had a point because replays appeared to suggest the player had touched the ball before it hit his pad.
Root, 26, who was last week named England Test captain in succession to Alastair Cook who has stepped down after England’s 4-0 series defeat, will be as surprised as anyone that the Queen took up his case.
Root and his Indian counterpart Virat Kohli, 28, are rivals for the position of “best batsman in the world”.
Future contested decisions may not have to be referred to the regal umpire at Buckingham Palace, however. Sinha told the Queen that DRS (Decision Review System), which was not in operation during the ODIs, might have solved the problem.
The Queen, who was said to be in “good spirits”, said she was looking forward to the UK-India “year of culture” in the 70th year of Indian independence. She is due to give a reception for Indians at the Palace to which 200 big names, such as Sachin Tendulkar, will be flown in.
“There will also be a cricket exhibition at Lord’s,” disclosed Sinha at the Vin d’honneur (reception) he hosted at his residence after the Palace ceremony.
Guests at the reception included the high commissioners of Pakistan and Sri Lanka and the ambassador of Nepal.
A note from India House said: “The high commissioner conveyed greetings from the president and prime minister of India to Her Majesty the Queen and reiterated the commitment of the government of India to work towards implementation
of the roadmap agreed between the two countries during the visit of the UK prime minister to India in November 2016.
“Her Majesty the Queen expressed happiness at the various initiatives being taken by both countries to further enhance the bilateral relations.”