‘Lord’s turned into Wankhede’ – Nasser Hussain reveals how Steve Bucknor’s ball-change turned the NatWest 2002 Final in India’s favour

From 146 to five, India went on to script one of the greatest run-chases in the history of ODI cricket.

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Nasser Hussain and Steve Bucknor
Nasser Hussain and Steve Bucknor. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Nasser Hussain, the former England captain, went back to the time when his team lost the 2002 NatWest series final against India. At the iconic Lord’s, the Three Lions were in the driver’s seat before the Men in Blue staged a comeback out of the blues. Hussain, who’s one of the most popular commentators, said that it was a decision from Steve Bucknor that changed the course of the game.

During India’s run-chase, Bucknor decided to change the ball, which he feels what scuffed up and dis-coloured. Hussain didn’t have complaints as the leather was reverse-swinging. But in the end, he had to surrender and was made to chose another. The veteran said that from there on, the Brits lost the plot and Sourav Ganguly’s men scripted one of the greatest comebacks in ODI history.

I remember having a row with Bucknor about it: Nasser Hussain

“The biggest thing that happened is we got this ball reverse swinging, and Steve Bucknor looked at it and said ‘It looks too soft and dis-coloured, and I am going to change this ball. It’s too dis-coloured,” Hussain was quoted as saying on Sky Sports Cricket Podcast ‘One That Got Away’.

“I remember having a row with Bucknor about it, saying we want this ball. And he said ‘No, we’re going to change it’. And that used to wind me up a lot in those days, you just go to a random box of balls, just pick one out – ‘Here you go skip, bowl with that. And that went gun-barrel straight’,” Hussain mentioned.

The 52-year-old Hussain recalled how the atmosphere at the Lord’s changed once Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif injected momentum into the Indian innings. “The moment those two started to hit boundaries, the Indian crowd was woken up, we went from almost silence to the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai,” he added.

India, at one point in time, was tottering at 146 for five while chasing 326. But the 121-run stand between Yuvraj and Kaif got them back on track. Though Yuvraj got out on 69, Kaif stayed unbeaten on 87 and took his team over the finishing line with three balls to spare.

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