Saurashtra coach defends Cheteshwar Pujara for not walking off during the Ranji Trophy semi-final
He also questioned Vinay Kumar if he has called anyone back for being wrongly given out.
Updated - Jan 30, 2019 11:55 am
The high-voltage Ranji Trophy semifinal between Saurashtra and Karnataka was marred with controversy and Cheteshwar Pujara found himself in the centre of it. The India star scored a sublime century to guide his team to the final but made it to the headlines for all the wrong reasons. He was slammed by cricket fans for not walking away despite edging the ball behind the stumps. Pujara, in fact, did it not once but twice.
The first incident took place in the first innings when Pujara edged a Ronit More delivery. However, umpire Sayied Khalid failed to notice it and gave his decision in the batsman’s favour. The right-hander went on to score 45. While Karnataka would not have felt hard done by on that occasion, they would have definitely felt it when the same thing happened in the second innings. The incident came at a defining stage of the match when Pujara was batting on just 34.
He edged a Vijay Kumar delivery behind the stumps but umpire Khalid once again gave his decision in the batsman’s favour, much to the disbelief of the Karnataka players who were clearly not happy with the decision. Pujara went on to score a century and shared a match-defining stand of 214 runs with fellow-centurion Sheldon Jackson as Saurashtra chased down the 279-run target on the final day with five wickets in hand.
But since the game finished, Cheteshwar Pujara has been receiving the flak for not walking away. However, Saurashtra coach Sitanshu Kotak has defended Pujara.
I don’t think it makes any sense
“I don’t think it makes any sense [to criticise Pujara]. In my career, I would have got 20 to 30 ridiculously bad decisions and never has anyone called me back because the opposition were so happy that Kotak was out. Pujara is a far better player than me. If somebody calls you back when you are not out, then you are allowed to walk against them,” Kotak was quoted as saying by MID-DAY.
“Honestly, you feel you should walk, but it is unfair to the team because when he is actually not out and still given out, nobody calls you back,” he added.
After the match, Pujara was booed by the fans with some shouting ‘cheater, cheater’ as the Saurashtra batsmen made their way inside the dressing room. However, Kotak felt the reception was very unsporting. “It is wrong on the crowd’s part. Has Vinay Kumar ever called a batsman back in his career for being given out wrongly? If he has not done so then he has no right to complain,” said Kotak.