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Women's Cricket

Smriti Mandhana defends Harmanpreet’s action, proposes ‘neutral umpires’ for bilaterals

Harmanpreet Kaur smashed the stumps after being adjudged leg-before wicket off Nahida Akter’s delivery in the 34th over when India were batting at 160 for 3.

Smriti Mandhana defends Harmanpreet’s action, proposes ‘neutral umpires’ for bilaterals

Smriti Mandhana and Harmanpreet Kaur


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 23 July 2023 5:47 PM GMT

On Saturday, the third and final Women’s One Day International between India and Bangladesh was maligned with an umpiring error and overshadowed by a ‘Spirit of Cricket’ debate after India skipper Harmanpreet Kaur, out of frustration at the umpire's decision, smashed the stumps with her bat.

India was chasing a 226-run target after Bangladesh, batting first, posted 225 for 4. Fargana Hoque hit a ton.

Indian batters, in reply, batted with patience, with opener Smirti Mandhana scoring 85-ball 59, and Harleen Deol playing a crucial knock of 77 off 108.

But a controversial decision saw captain Harmanpreet lose her wicket when she batted at 14. Her dismissal triggered a collapse, with India losing their last six wickets for just 34 runs. And the team collapsed from 191 for four to 225, leaving the game tied.

Harmanpreet sparked a debate when she smashed the stumps with her bat in disagreement and anger after being adjudged leg-before off Nahida Akter’s delivery in the 34th over when India was well poised for a finish at 160 for 3.

The right-handed batter believed that there was a clear inside edge off her bat before the ball hit her pads. But she had no option but to walk. Before leaving the ground, she gave a dead stare at the umpire and smashed the wickets.

In the post-match press conference, Indian vice-captain Mandhana defended Harmanpreet's action.

“Both teams played a good brand of cricket. What happened in the middle is part and parcel of the game. We have seen these incidents so much in the past in men's cricket," she said.

"When you play for India, you want to win the match. It happened in the heat of the moment, but I think she was not happy with the decision given. as given out, and she felt that she was not out," she added.

On the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ topic, Mandhana said, "When you want to win so badly, I think the spirit of the game and all those things, definitely we can talk about later. But knowing Harman as a person, knowing how much she wants to win for India, from the spirit of the game that it is (wrong), but yeah, when you want that ‘W' on the board for India, these things happen.”

The southpaw also stressed that the ugly scene could have been averted had DRS been present in the WODI series.

She further suggested that neutral umpires could be the way forward for such a bilateral series.

“I am sure that ICC, the BCB, and the BCCI will discuss that, maybe we have a neutral umpiring system so that we do not sit here having this discussion, maybe we can focus on cricket and cricket-oriented questions,” said Mandhana.

Bangladeshi umpires Muhammad Kamruzzaman and Tanvir Ahmed officiated the third WODI between India and Bangladesh.

The action has drawn Harmanpreet three demerit points, and she has been fined 75% of her match fee. If she gets one more demerit point within the next 24 months, she'll be banned for one Test or two limited-overs games.

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