Mumbai:Pakistani umpire Aleem Dar, for the first time, admitted that he gave Sachin Tendulkar out wrongly in the deciding seventh One-Day International against England in London last month.
"Immediately after I gave Tendulkar caught by wicket-keeper Matt Prior off Andrew Flintoff, I realised from his reaction that I had given a wrong decision," said Dar.
Tendulkar, who scored 30 off 46 balls, was visibly stunned and uncharacteristically stood in his crease for a few seconds, suggesting he had not snicked the ball, before returning to the dressing room.
Batting first, India were reduced to 59 for four with Tendulkar's dismissal and eventually lost the match by seven wickets at Lord's and with it the series 3-4.
Dar, who was in Mumbai to officiate in the India-Australia One-Day Internationals, said that the mistake had occurred because of a brief lapse in his concentration.
"On that ball Flintoff was very close to bowling a no ball and as I was looking at his foot, my concentration was disturbed," said Dar, widely considered one of the best umpires in the world.
Asked if he felt like taking his decision back to enable Tendulkar to continue batting, the 39-year-old member of the International Cricket Council's Elite Panel said that he had never recalled any player.
"Since I had never called any batsman after giving a decision I did not call him back. So, if I were to call Tendulkar I would also call the last man if given wrongly out," reasoned the man from Lahore.
"I knew that match was the decider. And I was upset after giving that decision. It was tough match (for me)," he said, referring to the 3-3 series score before that match.
Dar, however, showed his regret and tried to show his feelings to Tendulkar immediately after the match.
"After the game when players shake hands with the umpires, Tendulkar also shook my hands on the field. As he did that I said to him 'hard luck'," disclosed the affable official, who became the first Asian to officiate in 100 ODIs on Wednesday.
"Players also know that how good an umpire is. They understand that mistakes are not made deliberately and they respect good umpires."
A former first-class player himself, Dar revealed that if he is not satisfied with one of his decisions early in a match it bothers him.
"If I give an erroneous decision early in a match it plays on my mind. But I try not to let that decision affect me for the rest of the match," he said.
Dar, who also officiated the final of the 2007 ODI World Cup, was recently short-listed among the three umpires for the annual ICC's Best Umpire Award, which eventually went to Australian Simon Taufel.
Dar, who has also officiated in 39 Tests, has decided to quit umpiring at 50, 10 years before the retirement age prescribed by the ICC.