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Indian Premier League 2020

IPL umpire sparks DRS controversy after seemingly influencing non-review

IPL umpire
by Wisden Staff 2-minute read

Anil Chaudhary, the on-field umpire during the IPL 2020 clash between Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Delhi Capitals (DC), has sparked controversy after seemingly influencing SRH captain David Warner not to review a decision in the field.

The incident occurred in the 17th over of the chase, when DC were labouring at 104-8, well off their target of 220. Sandeep Sharma, the SRH quick, sent in a full delivery to the batsman R Ashwin, who attempted to flick the delivery, and was struck on the pads. Sharma and the SRH fielders in the vicinity immediately appealed, but the shout was turned down. It was at this moment that Chaudhary inadvertently sparked controversy.

As the bowlers appealed, Chaudhary tapped his knuckles, suggesting Ashwin had got an inside-edge on the ball. The fielding side promptly moved on, opting not to review, and the match carried on.

However, Scott Styris, Sanjay Bangar and Brett Lee, on punditry duty for Star Sports Dugout, raised the point that in his absent-minded reaction, Chaudhary had inadvertently helped SRH possibly make a decision not to opt for DRS in that instance. “Should the umpire be doing that? Standing there saying ‘bat’?” asked Styris on air.

“With the ability now of teams to have reviews, should he be giving a cue to the players? When we played before DRS was around, we would often see umpires do that, and there was no problem, because he was then helping the fielding team out as to say why it was given not out – ‘I believe he hit it’. But now, with the DRS…”

Bangar joined in, agreeing with Styris. “I’m with your there, Scottie, on the umpire giving an indication to the players when they have to make a decision within those 15 seconds,” he said. “If at all they (umpires) want to convey something to the bowlers or to a player who might have just questioned him, he should be doing that after the 15 seconds. Not straightaway after the event has happened.”

The broadcast then replayed the incident, and Chaudhary was clearly seen gesturing that the ball had nicked the bat. “Watch the umpire here, tapping his hand, which is the universal umpire’s signal for ball hitting the bat,” said Lee. “It basically says to the fielding side, the bowler – ‘I believe he’s hit it, so there’s no point reviewing’. You still have your right to review, of course, but you’re not going to.”

The IPL playing conditions doesn’t specify a scenario in which an umpire communicates with the player on a matter that could influence a decision to review, but it does state the players are not permitted to consult the umpire about “any aspect of a decision before deciding” on whether to review.

“Under no circumstances is any player permitted to query an umpire about any aspect of a decision before deciding on whether or not to request a Player Review,” according to Article 3.2.3 of IPL’s playing conditions.

“If the on-field umpires believe that the captain or either batsman has received direct or indirect input emanating other than from the players on the field, then they may at their discretion, decline the request for a Player Review. In particular, signals from the dressing room must not be given. Breach of this provision will be liable for reporting under COC.”

Ultimately, the non-review was inconsequential, as SRH sealed an 88-run within the next two-and-a-half overs.

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