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‘What’s the penalty?’ – Ashwin, Rahane engage in lengthy animated chat with umpires after Ashwin’s follow through obstructs non-striker’s path

Ashwin Rahane umpire
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Ravichandran Ashwin was involved in an animated chat with umpire Nitin Menon on day three of the India-New Zealand Test in Kanpur, after being pulled up for his follow-through that saw him running past the non-striker.

The spinner has been trying a new variation that sees him bowl from round the wicket and then run across the umpire and towards the other side in his follow-through. Ashwin did so the second day as well but was involved in a conversation with umpire Nitin Menon on day three.

During the 77th over of New Zealand’s innings, Menon was seen having a chat with Ashwin over the bowler’s follow-through, which appeared to be taking him right in front of the non-striker. Replays, however, showed that the bowler was operating within the limits, and stepping into the danger area in front of the stumps.

In the commentary box, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan and Simon Doull were quick to suggest that if Ashwin wasn’t trudging onto the danger area, the umpire could do nothing about it. “If he [Ashwin] is doing that, it is the bowler who is going to suffer. If he is not running on the danger area, let him run the risk of suffering,” Sivaramakrishnan said.

To this, Doull replied, “I completely agree. If he’s not running in the danger area, there is nothing Nitin Menon can do about this. There really is no argument for me at all if Ashwin isn’t running on the danger area. You can’t tell the bowler where he can or can’t follow through if he’s not infringing the laws.”

The discussion continued for the next few minutes, even after the end of the over, with Indian skipper Ajinkya Rahane also joining the conversation. “Rahane now coming in to say that if Ashwin is veering away and not going into the danger area, what is the issue. I think it is tough on the umpire because he might not be able to see what happens,” Sunil Gavaskar said on the broadcast.

A little later, Doull suggested that Ashwin’s follow-through was impeding the non-striker’s path of running. “If the non-striker wanted to run, Ashwin gets right in front of where the non-striker would probably be running. And, that is not allowed. The bowler can also not dictate where the non-striker stands,” Doull added.

Gavaskar, in rather cheeky fashion, asked the Kiwi what the penalty was for such a transgression. “What is the penalty? Is it written? It isn’t something that I know of. There is a penalty if the ball hits the helmet but what is the penalty if Ashwin keeps doing that? Do you think Ashwin will keep pushing that envelope?” Gavaskar chimed.

Doull replied, “You get two penalties before you are not allowed to bowl, I believe. We will find out if he [Ashwin] keeps doing it. Once more [on if Ashwin will do it again], I reckon.” To an extent, he was right, with the spinner attempting that variety again. This time though, there weren’t any lengthy conversations with the match officials.

At lunch, it came to light that the match referee Javagal Srinath and Indian head coach Rahul Dravid were engaged in a discussion that might have been pertaining to the same incident.

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