Delhi Capitals skipper Rishabh Pant had a complaint against the on-field umpires Nitin Menon and Nikhil Patwardhan when a hip-high full-toss from Obed McCoy was not given a no-ball at a crucial juncture against Rajasthan Royals. Pant then asked standing batters to walk out after the disagreement.
Almost every year in the Indian Premier League (IPL), some glimpses and the photographs were invariably created that remain among people forever. There were the ‘slapgate’ controversy between S Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin’s mankading Jos Buttler, Shah Rukh Khan’s ugly spat at Wankhede Stadium, and many more. Even the unflappable MS Dhoni lost his cool once and marched onto the field from the dugout.
Last night at Wankhede, during Delhi Capitals’ match against Rajasthan Royals, saw another infamous controversy. The DC, after being set a mammoth target of 223, had required 36 off the last six balls. Rovman Powell gave them a slim hope by tonking Obed McCoy’s overpitched delivery straight down the ground for six. He then down on one knee and carved the second ball over deep extra cover as well. The fans inside the stadium went berserk, and so were the DC players and the support staff.
The fracas happened a few moments later. The third ball was a hip-high full-toss from McCoy, and Powell got the connection right again, pulling that one for a six. The six was signalled by the on-field umpire Nitin Menon, but the DC coaching staff and the players expected a bit more. The replay of that delivery showed it could have been called a no-ball as well, which would allow them to get an extra ball and a free hit. Surely, it would ease the pressure to a certain extent.
Along with every member of the DC dugout, Rishabh Pant, the skipper, was not happy with the call made by the on-field umpires Nitin Menon and Nikhil Patwardhan. He could not resist himself either and asked Powell and Kuldeep Yadav to walk off. Even Shardul Thakur was there side by side and echoed the same.
Powell and Kuldeep, as well as the DC batting coach Pravin Amre, kept telling Menon and Patwardhan to reconsider the decision, or at least go to the TV umpire. However, as per the law, it does not allow a no-ball to be referred unless a wicket is being reviewed. The DC assistant coach Shane Watson tried to stop Pant and asked him to accept the decision. But the fuming DC skipper did not hold back. He asked Amre to go to the field to have a discussion with the umpires. But Menon was unmoved and asked him to go back.
Nothing changed, but the RR were the gainers after the controversy. Certainly, the momentum Powell had gained saw an interruption, and it did not regenerate again. All he managed to do was two runs off the next two balls before being dismissed on the last delivery of the contest. As a result, the DC lost the game by 15 runs.
Despite acknowledging the fact that what he did was wrong, Pant was furious during the post-match conference as well. “Obviously, it wasn't right (sending Amre onto the field) but what happened with us is also not right, it happened in the heat of the moment. It was the fault of both sides and it is disappointing as we have seen some good umpiring in the tournament,” the DC skipper said.
"Yes, disappointed but can't do much about it. Everyone was frustrated (in the dugout) that it was not even close, everyone on the ground saw that, I think the third umpire should have interfered and said it was a no-ball.”
Pant did kind of similar to what Dhoni did against the RR in IPL 2020. The former CSK skipper intervened in the field by himself and argued with the umpires after a controversial on-field decision. The call did not change back then, the call does not change now.
Ahead of the IPL 2022, many had predicted that the DC have one of the strongest squads in the ongoing edition. They are yet to perform as per expectations on a consistent basis, and the recent Covid-19 concerns at the camp have increased even more difficulties. Head coach Ricky Ponting was not present there during the RR match after his family member got infected by the virus. You never know what would happen if he was there. Let us not get into that.
With three wins and four losses, the DC sit in sixth place on the points table. A win was crucial there as the tournament’s extension with 10 teams makes all franchises feel that every fixture matters.
Predictably, Pant and Amre were fined 100 percent of their match fees for their behaviours, with the latter serving a match ban as well. Shardul, meanwhile, has been reprimanded 50 percent of his match fees and more importantly, they've all become the headline stars for something they would not be proud of for the rest of their lives.
At 24, despite having plenty of experience in the national colours across the world, Pant still needs to work on his temperament. Yes, the usage of technologies is still an area of concern, but it does not mean you can do whatever you want at one of the grandest stages of the game. The anger was supposed to come, the disagreement as well, but the character is something for which he will be cheered or get hatred. Surely, he will take this up as a valuable lession.