Aakash Chopra has weighed in on the wide-ball controversies that surfaced during the second India-Sri Lanka T20I on Wednesday. The cricketer-turned-pundit called for more ‘consistency’ in the umpires’ judgments on the balls passing close to the tramline, especially when a batter moves in his/her crease or attempts a switch hit.
Three occasions of debatable decisions by on-field umpires marred the nail-biting contest in Colombo. In the first innings, W Hasaranga’s desperate plea against a wide was rejected despite Nitish Rana missing a switch-hit by a small margin.
Then, in the second essay, similar deliveries from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Chetan Sakariya in the crucial last two overs brought out two different decisions from the umpires.
“Our game is very unique – the only game that has an umpire and not a referee. But what you are actually looking for is just consistency. I think the line moves when the batsman moves, if it doesn’t that it won’t make any sense because then you are taking everything away from a bowler. If it’s a switch it, for example, if a right-hander turns and becomes a left-hander then he should be treated as a left-hander. In fact, it gives something to the bowlers when he beats the batsman on both sides and it’s still not a wide because he (the batsman) has changed while the field remained the same,” Aakash Chopra said in an interaction on ESPNcricinfo.
The former opener added that although Indian fans might feel ‘hard done by’, the two decisions during the second innings didn’t make much of a difference to the game.
“A lot of Indians might be feeling slightly hard done by but then but Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s wide should have been given a wide, it wasn’t and now Sakariya’s ball didn’t look like a wide but it was given. So, it evened out in the hand but the question remained on the consistency,” elaborated Aakash Chopra.
Sri Lanka won the nail-biting match by four wickets, leveling the three-T20I series at one apiece. The visitors, rocked by as many as nine missed-outs, could only post a total of 132-5 in the first innings. Sri Lanka chased it down in on the fourth ball of the final over with Player of the Match Dhanajaya de Silva (40 off 34) and C Karunaratne (12 off 6) carrying their bats.
Can’t have 100% consistency but need to get as close as possible: Aakash Chopra
Further, Aakash Chopra admitted that complete consistency is impossible to achieve, considering the human factor in the sport, but called for better efforts from umpires to reach ‘as close as possible’.
“I know there are different umpires on both ends and multiple umpires across the globe so you will not have 100% consistency. But getting as close as possible will resolve this issue. Just have one rule basically while of course, the human element will always be there” Aakash Chopra signed off.
The decider will begin at the same time on Thursday, July 29.