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Australia v India

Shane Warne criticised for suggesting Australia ‘rip the helmet off’ Pujara on commentary

Warne Pujara
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Viewers were left unimpressed after Fox Cricket commentator Shane Warne was heard suggesting that the Australia bowlers should upset Cheteshwar Pujara and ‘rip the helmet off’ during day five of the fourth Australia-India Test.

As Pujara battled to survive the final day of the game, scoring just 11 runs off his first 100 deliveries, Australia’s quicks engaged in an aggressive tactic to test India’s No.3 with a barrage of bouncers. On more than one occasion, Pujara was struck on the body by short-pitched deliveries.

Australia’s tactics closely followed Warne’s suggestion in the commentary box, when he was heard asking Australia to unleash the short ball on the 32-year-old in a bid to break India’s resistance.

“I reckon rough Pujara up,” Warne said. “He’s in his zone, he’s in his rhythm here. Upset him, try and rip the helmet off. Give him some short stuff.”

The comments didn’t go down too well with certain viewers, who felt that the suggestion to ‘rip the helmet off’ Pujara was insensitive and in bad taste, especially with increased sensitivity around concussion and player safety in recent times.

On a deteriorating pitch that developed cracks on day four, Pujara continued to be peppered with short balls through the course of his knock, requiring medical attention on more than one occasion. In the 49th over, he copped a blow from Josh Hazlewood on his right hand (he’s already carrying a finger injury), and was writhing in pain upon impact.

Not long after, a well-directed bouncer from the same bowler hit him flush on the helmet, but continued to keep batting after being checked on by the medical staff.

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