In a bizarre incident on Wednesday, the West Indies had to rope in local help while on the field against Australia in the Champions Trophy league match at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai.
Mumbai wicketkeeper Vinayak Samant came on as substitute fielder around the 25th over of the Australian innings to replace Runako Morton, who went off temporarily.
The West Indies were already down to 12 players before the start of the match after Corey Collymore had flown back and an indisposed Shivnarine Chanderpaul was ruled out.
Collymore returned home to be with his wife, who is expecting their child. Chanderpaul was down with severe dehydration due to food poisoning.
Then, during the course of the match, captain Brian Lara was unable to take the field because of cramps and back spasms after his innings of 71. So the West Indies only had 11 players on the field; and when Morton wanted some time off, Samant was required.
The 33-year-old Mumbai player was delighted to be called up, even if it meant for the West Indies. After all, it was his first taste of international cricket.
"I was delighted. I got a call from CCI secretary Suru Naik, who asked me to come here. I was in Dadar after playing a Times Shield match at MIG Bandra [suburban Mumbai], so I could reach here in time for this match," Samant told rediff.com.
"I was on the field for around two hours and fielded a ball," adding that he was hoping that a catch could come his way. After all, it would have been the easiest way to achieve instant stardom.
Samant said he was honoured to don West Indies colours and, having done that, hopes to wear the India Blues too.
"Maybe this is the start," he said, jokingly.
The International Cricket Council received a few queries from enthusiastic scribes on how a local player could take the field in an international match.
"Vinayak Samant is on the field for an injured West Indies player since they do not have 11 fit players at the moment. The Australians were kind enough to allow their request. But I do not know whom he replaced," said Brian Murgatroyd, ICC media manager.
Interestingly, this is not the first time that such a thing happened, added Murgratroyd.
"During a Lord's Test in 1998, England used the services of [an outsider] Hamish Marshall [who was yet to play for New Zealand then]; so this is not something new. It has happened before too," he iinformed.
According to him, there have been a few more similar instances.
"After all, it shows the spirit of the game!" he exclaimed.