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Mumbai Indians Head Coach Jayawardene: Discussion Needed on Third-Umpire Intervention in Above-Waist No-Balls

Apr 28, 2022

As far as Mumbai Indians Head Coach Mahela Jayawardene is concerned, having the third umpire should alert the on-field umpires for over-the-waist no-balls is something that should be talked about. But it doesn’t mean he’s condoning the role of Delhi Capitals’ players and support staff in the controversial game of the Mumbai Indians against the Rajasthan Royals last week.

The game in question, which  took place during the final over of the Mumbai Indians game against Rajasthan Royals, ended this way: there was a high full-toss from Obed McCoy, which Rovman Powell pulled for a six, which was signaled. The Delhi Capitals camp was expecting a no-ball for height too. 

But no signal for that was given, which led to the drama that ensued afterwards and resulted to on-field umpires Nitin Menon and Nikhil Patwardhan being questioned by Rovman Powell and Kuldeep Yadav.

Now Jawayardene, who is also a member of the ICC’s Cricket Committee, expressed his take on the matter on The ICC Review.

“Probably, the umpires did get it wrong, but the rules say that you can’t go to the third umpire or check on those things. It is something, I think, going forward we need to look at: whether [there should be] the option for the third umpire to come on the field, on to the main umpires and inform them that it’s a delivery you should check. But… the spirit of the game, and to see things moving forward, it’s never an option for any coach or any player to come on to the field.”

“We are given an opportunity during the strategic time-out to come out in IPL, and that should be the only time the coaches or anyone else should be allowed,” he added.

Current playing conditions state that all foot-fault no-balls are anyway checked by the third umpire. The on-field umpires can look at the height of a delivery if it has resulted in a dismissal. But the ball being discussed went for a six.

The situation resulted in penalties for three members of the Delhi Capitals’ contingent – captain Rishabh Pant, assistant coach Pravin Amre, and bowling all-rounder Shardul Thakur. They got the penalties in relation to the third delivery of the final over of Capitals’ chase. in which Pant asked Amre to walk onto the field and speak to the on-field umpires. 

The Capitals, who were chasing 222, needed 36 runs from the final over. Powell hit three consecutive sixes off the first three balls, with the third ball becoming a high full toss. Had it been deemed a no-ball, the Capitals would have got a free-hit, with the equation in that case reading 17 to get from four deliveries.

While Powell and Yadav argued with the umpires, Pant gestured for them to come off the ground. Amre was sent in eventually. Later on, Pant admitted to getting carried away in the heat of the situation, but he insisted that it was indeed a no-ball and that the third umpire should have interfered.

Jawayardene didn’t like all this. 

“It is disappointing to see that. You are stopping the game, and people are coming onto the field,” he said. “But I honestly believe it was just the emotions carrying away. It was just the last over, a couple of sixes were hit and there was probably an opportunity [for Capitals to chase down the target],” he said.

He also said that he expressed the said sentiments to the Mumbai’s dressing room when they discussed the incident. 

“We saw it on TV. Most of the guys were watching it together, and afterwards as well, we had a chat. We will probably react in the dugout, but [for us] it’s never an option to go onto the field. That’s not the way things should be, but I’m pretty sure Rishabh and Pravin would regret what happened.”

“And Rishabh in his interview rightly said that it was because of the emotions of how it happened. We need to give the benefit of the doubt [to Pant] and move on.”

Whether or not the ICC Cricket Committee will bring up the waist-high no-ball topic for discussion at its next meeting still remains to be seen. But should the IPl want to implement it, the league need not wait for the committee to ratify such a change. In 2021, the league’s playing conditions removed the soft signal for disputed catches and also removed the responsibility of checking short runs from the on-field umpires.

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