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India v New Zealand

Kane Williamson and umpire in lengthy discussion over ‘negative’ Ajaz Patel bowling line

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

There was a lengthy discussion between the on-field umpires and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson following a persistent spell of bowling well outside leg-stump by Ajaz Patel.

New Zealand began the day well, restricting India to 145-4, but India hit back through Shreyas Iyer and Ravindra Jadeja, who added 113 unbeaten runs to give the hosts the initiative at stumps.

The pair were particularly energetic in the final session, scoring at 3.71 runs per over after tea, with Williamson resorting to trying keep the run rate down. Patel was the bowler called upon to do so, keeping his line well outside leg-stump as the second new ball approached.

“You have to target that left pad as a line,” said Murali Kartik on commentary, explaining the Black Caps’ tactic, before Patel strayed way outside leg-stump. “That has to be called a wide. Will it be? No.”

After some more wide bowling, the umpires intervened.

“Finally, Virender Sharma having a chat with Kane Williamson, with the line that Ajaz Patel has been bowling,” Kartik added.

“It’s good umpiring as well,” said Simon Doull. “A polite word. ‘What’s the plan? If it consists of bowling just outside leg stump, I can accept that, but if it goes too wide, I’m calling it a wide. Just letting you know.’ I think that’s very good umpiring.”

There was some criticism of the tactic on social media, with pundit and former India cricketer Aakash Chopra calling New Zealand’s bowling “negative”.

The conversations with Williamson continued even after the end of Patel’s over, but no wides were called off the spinners in the day.

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