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IND vs NZ: Why did Ashwin and umpire Nitin Menon argue over his round-the-stumps run-up?

An experienced first-class umpire, who wishes to remain anonymous, said it wasn’t about danger area or obstructing umpire’s vision but it was about obstructing the non-striker.

Written by Sandip G |
Updated: November 27, 2021 12:58:41 pm
Ashwin and nitin menonUmpire Nitin Menon explaining to Ashwin and skipper Ajinkya Rahane during Day 3 of Kanpur Test on Saturday. (Screengrab)

A mini fracas broke out between the umpire Nitin Menon, the bowler R Ashwin and the captain Ajinkya Rahane. It was about the way Ashwin was bowling when he went around the stumps. He would run across the stumps, move across the umpire’s vision and deliver the ball almost beside the non-striker. He would them step away from the danger area, and veer away from the non-striker.

An experienced first-class umpire, who wishes to remain anonymous, said it wasn’t about danger area or obstructing umpire’s vision but it was about obstructing the non-striker.

Ravichandaran Ashwin, Ravichandaran Ashwin, right, speaks to captain Ajinkya Rahane during the day two of their first test cricket match with New Zealand in Kanpur, India, Friday, Nov. 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

“It comes under fair play and the umpire has every right to do that. It’s basically common sense. Twice, at least, we saw Ashwin sort of amble across after releasing the ball. He didn’t exactly hurry to get off the path. In case there was a single opportunity, there would have been a collision.”

Initially when Menon started to exchange words it seemed that he was objecting to the bowler running on to the danger area. But replays made it clear that Ashwin wasn’t doing that.

Then the doubts were raised whether it was about obstructing the umpire’s vision, which again wasn’t the case.

After the fourth ball of the 76th over, things heated up. Menon told Ashwin sternly and Rahane too joined in the crime scene. When Menon took Ashwin aside for a chat, he got furious, and the two seemingly exchanged heated verbals. So much so that the game paused, and Rahane had to intervene and calm Ashwin down.

Ashwin bowled that way again after chat

The umpire says that’s why the next time after the heated debates when Ashwin did it again, he ran all the way across and got away from the pitch strip itself.

“That tells me that it wasn’t about danger area or umpire’s vision but about non-striker. The non striker can’t stand on the other side, as he then would be actually obstructing the vision of his partner on strike. As Ashwin’s run up would be from right behind him. He can of course go and stand near the square-leg but considering the green grass all around, it wouldn’t be sensible.

“All Ashwin had to do was to get away from the strip, which he did later after Menon spoke to him,” the umpire told this newspaper.

What’s the punishment?

“It’s just a friendly chat, a gentle warning basically first. As this comes within Fair Play. Only if things escalate, the umpire would give an official warning and let the rules take it its own course.”

Outside the boundary, Rahul Dravid was seen rushing to have a word with the matchrefereer Javagal Srinath, who was then seen chatting on phone.

“Do you think he called me? Nope, he didn’t. It could be about what’s for lunch, you know!” Says the umpire with a laugh.

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