A controversial call by on-field umpire Nitin Menon saw dot ball turned into a dead ball in the third ODI between India and West Indies in Cuttack.
The incident occurred in the ninth over of India’s run-chase, when all-rounder Keemo Paul, after being hit for a four off his first ball, ran in to deliver the second. India opener KL Rahul seemed ready to face it, putting his weight forward before pulling out to the leg-side after the ball had been bowled. Even having moved away, he poked at it the ball, and was beaten on the outside-edge, with the ball missing leg stump.
Rahul gestured that he was distracted, perhaps by the in-stadium music which was late in stopping, and hence backed out and, to the fielding side’s surprise, umpire Menon called it a dead ball. The decision caused some consternation in the touring camp, with West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard asking the umpire why it was called a dead ball despite Rahul playing a shot of some sort.
As the replays rolled in, Sunil Gavaskar, commentating on air, agreed with Pollard’s assessment.
Openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul continue to impress and have brought up another fifty-plus stand.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) December 22, 2019
“He shaped, and he’s actually looked to play the ball,” Gavaskar remarked. “If that ball had gone onto the stumps, he really would’ve been in trouble.”
Ian Bishop later clarified that the DJ music was played just as the bowler approached the crease and that perhaps distracted the batsman. The play continued without any further fuss and Rahul added 60 more runs thereafter, before Alzarri Joseph got the better of him with a well-directed bouncer when on 77, but in a close-fought game in a close-fought series, in a year which has already seen more than one high-profile tie, the debate may rage on for a while yet.