Controversial Umpiring Mars India Women’s Tour of Bangladesh
The India Women’s cricket team led by Harmanpreet Kaur got involved in shameful controversy following the conclusion of the third One Day International (ODI) at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Mirpur.
Having previously secured a 2-1 victory in the Twenty20 International (T20I) series, India Women took a 1-0 lead in the ODIs. However, Bangladesh Women displayed exceptional resilience, bouncing back to win the second ODI before the third encounter ended in a dramatic tie.
It was a historic day in Bangladesh cricket that saw Fargana Hoque scripting history by becoming the first Bangladeshi cricketer to score a century in women’s ODIs, amassing an impressive 107 runs. India found themselves at 32-2 before the partnership of Smriti Mandhana (59) and Harleen Deol (77) steadied the innings, adding a crucial 107-run stand.
The score reached 160-3 when Nahida Akter (3-37) delivered a pivotal blow by trapping Indian captain Harmanpreet Kaur leg-before. Unhappy with the umpire’s decision, Kaur expressed her frustration by breaking the stumps before departing. The incident immediately fueled a heated argument on the field, raising questions about players’ reactions to umpiring decisions.
Despite the setback, Jemimah Rodrigues was on her way to guide team India a famous win. However, the match took a controversial turn during the latter stages as Bangladesh squared the series by dismissing India’s last four wickets for a mere nine runs. The time limit had already been exceeded, and there was no Super Over to determine the winner.
Harmanpreet Kaur was not the only Indian batter discontent with the umpiring decisions. Yastika Bhatia and Meghna Singh also voiced their concerns after being adjudged out. Bhatia appeared unconvinced when adjudged leg-before, and Singh contested an caught-behind decision.
Harmanpreet Kaur Takes A Dig At Umpires
Speaking at the post-match presentation, Kaur openly criticized the umpiring decisions, saying, “The type of umpiring that was happening there, we were very surprised. The next time whenever we are coming to Bangladesh, we’ll have to make sure we have to deal with this kind of umpiring and accordingly, we’ll have to prepare ourselves.”
According to an ESPNcricinfo report, Kaur was alleged to have shouted, “bring the umpires too” when both teams were assembling for the customary end-of-series photograph, hinting at the umpires being biased in favor of the Bangladesh team.
Nigar Sultana Joty Was Unhappy With Ungrateful Way Indian Captain Behaved
In response to Kaur’s comments, Bangladesh captain Nigar Sultana Joty and her team decided to walk off, refusing to participate in the photograph. Joty candidly remarked, “It is totally her [Kaur’s] problem. I have nothing to do with it. As a player, she could have shown better manners. I can’t tell you what happened, but it didn’t feel right to be there with my team. It wasn’t the right environment. That’s why we went back. Cricket is a game of discipline and respect.”
While Kaur’s actions on the field were undoubtedly contentious, her teammate Smriti Mandhana defended her, acknowledging the heat of the moment and the players’ desire to win for their country. Mandhana stated, “When you play for India, you want to win the match. It happens in the heat of the moment, but I think she was not really happy with the decision given. She was given out and she felt that she was not out.”
Mandhana Backs Her Captain
However, Mandhana also expressed her dissatisfaction with the overall standard of umpiring during the match. She said, “We expect a little better level. I would term it in a better way that, better level of umpiring in terms of some decisions, because it was very evident in some decisions, there was not even a second thought given if the ball hit the pad. Not even one-second thought was given and the finger went up.”
The incident has raised concerns about the need for a more robust umpiring system. Mandhana called for a discussion between the International Cricket Council (ICC), the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB), and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to explore the possibility of implementing a neutral umpiring system.
The controversy also brings the “spirit of the game” into focus. Cricket, often referred to as the “gentleman’s game,” places a significant emphasis on fair play and sportsmanship. The incident involving Kaur and the subsequent public criticism by players has sparked debates about upholding the spirit of cricket and respecting umpires’ decisions.
Section 2.7 of the ICC Code of Conduct addresses “public criticism” or “inappropriate comment” about an incident occurring in an international match involving match officials. The code classifies such behavior as a Level 2 offense. Section 2.8 puts “showing dissent at an umpire’s decision” under the same classification.
If charged with a Level 2 offense, Kaur could face sanctions, including fines ranging from 50 to 100 percent of her match fee and one or two demerit points. Demerit points can lead to more severe penalties, including suspension, if accumulated over time.
The incident has sparked a broader conversation about the importance of upholding the spirit of cricket and the need for players to show respect towards umpires and match officials. Cricket, as a sport, has always prided itself on maintaining the highest standards of fair play and sportsmanship.
As the authorities review the incident and assess potential penalties, cricketing bodies may use this opportunity to reinforce the significance of respecting umpires’ decisions and ensuring a healthy, competitive yet sportsmanlike environment on the field.