On Sunday, the nerve-wracking T20 World Cup clash between India and Pakistan in Melbourne was marred by controversy in the final over the Indian innings when the Men in Blue needed 15 runs to win the contest. Mohammad Nawaz delivered a high full toss on the fourth ball of the over that was hit for a six by Virat Kohli. After smashing the ball over the deep square leg boundary, the former India captain urged the on-field umpire, Marais Erasmus, to check for the height of the ball. Eventually, Erasmus declared it as a no-ball, providing India with a much-needed extra delivery to chase down the target of 160. Though Pakistan skipper Babar Azam and his colleagues protested the decision, their protests didn’t have any effect on Erasmus, who upheld his decision. Minutes later, the Indian Cricket Team went on to register a four-wicket triumph. However, Pakistan greats Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, and Shoaib Malik were angry with the umpire, declaring that Erasmus was under pressure due to Virat Kohli’s insistence for a no-ball.
Wasim Akram claimed that through the naked eye it didn’t look like a no-ball but when one viewed the delivery in slow-motion, it appeared as if the ball had dipped.
Wasim Akram also opined that Virat Kohli made no mistake in asking for a no-ball because as a batter any other batsman would have done the same in such a situation.
“The ball seemed to dip but it’s kind of touch and go. To the naked eye, it did not seem like a no-ball but in slow-motion, it does seem like it dipped … Any batsman will turn and ask for no ball. That’s not his [Kohli]s] fault. Such a big game. You have the technology. Use it. Why flare up things unnecessarily?” Wasim Akram told during a debate on A Sports.
Wasim Akram’s former teammate Waqar Younis echoed the same sentiments that it was Virat Kohli’s right to ask for a no-ball.
“When the ball is about waist-high, the square-leg umpire’s first reaction is that he takes his hand out, and extends his right hand. That’s his natural reaction. But if you look at the replays, he (Marius Erasmus) turns around to see the ball. Then after Virat Kohli asked for it,” Waqar Younis added.
“I am not saying and I don’t want to say it’s a no-ball or not. I don’t want to get into that controversy. But the umpire (Marius Erasmus the square-leg umpire) should have called it there and then. It was Virat Kohli’s right to ask for the no-ball and he should do it. The leg umpire should have consulted the main umpire and they should have gone upstairs. That’s why the third umpire is sitting there. It should have been left to him – he could call it no-ball, six whatever,” Waqar Younis explained.
Former Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik who was also among the panelists during the debate on the television channel said that the on-field umpires should have consulted the third umpire before taking the call.
“When you have an option, you should take help from the third umpire, especially in such a big match at a crunch situation. Anyone can make a mistake but they should have consulted the third umpire. If the decision was taken after the replays which we saw it would have been better,” Shoaib Malik concluded.
Meanwhile, Pakistan captain Babar Azam credited Virat Kohli for India’s win and even said he wasn’t surprised by the 34-year-old’s phenomenal show in Melbourne.
“A tight game. We started well in our bowling, and then all credit to Hardik Pandya and Virat Kohli. They shifted the momentum and finished the game well. It’s not easy with the new ball, with a little bit of swing and seam. We had a chance, and we just asked the boys to believe in themselves, but again credit to Virat Kohli. We needed a wicket, that’s why we utilised our main bowlers [and kept Nawaz for the end]. A lot of positives. The way Iftikhar played, the way Shan played and finished the innings was good for us,” Babar Azam said after India’s win.
“I am not surprised by the innings from Kohli. He has played long enough to tame such situations and that’s why he is such a big player. We all know what Kohli can do and it is a lesson for us too to watch someone playing so well under pressure. Hardik too has been an important player for India as he had shown in the Asia Cup. Here too he played well,” Babar Azam added.