India captain Virat Kohli’s controversial lbw dismissal on day one of the second Test against New Zealand left the cricket world divided and umpires under the spotlight on Friday.
Kohli was out for a duck to New Zealand’s Mumbai-born spinner Ajaz Patel after the third umpire upheld the call of on-field official Anil Chaudhary.
The star batsman, who returned to lead the side after he stepped down as T20I captain and took a short break, asked for a review of the lbw decision.
TV umpire Virender Sharma watched several replays, some angles of which suggested the ball could have hit the bat first.
He was heard saying, “Ball and bat and pad appear to be together. I don’t have any conclusive evidence to overturn that.”
A visibly upset Kohli returned to the pavilion after having a word with the other on-field umpire Nitin Menon and hit the boundary rope with his bat.
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Former India opener Wasim Jaffer told ESPNcricinfo, “just to say it was ‘inconclusive evidence’, I think it wasn’t the right call. Disappointing decision”.
Former New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori said “for me, it seemed obvious there was an inside edge. For one man to sit there and try and make such a crucial decision, maybe the match referee can step in”.
However, New Zealand’s cricketer-turned-commentator Simon Doull backed the umpire’s call and said the officials followed all the protocols to come to the decision.
“There was no conclusive evidence that the ball hit the pad first. So, I think the process was followed. The process was right,” Doull said on commentary.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan wrote “NOT OUT” on Twitter while tagging a video of Kohli’s lbw.
Ex-India batting coach Sanjay Bangar said, “Clearly, it was an error on part of the umpire.”
The decision came at a crucial juncture with Patel, who got all four Indian wickets, getting two scalps in one over as India slipped to 80-3 after a solid opening stand.
Mayank Agarwal hit an unbeaten 120 to rescue India leaving them on 221-4 at close of play on a weather-affected day at the Wankhede Stadium.
© Agence France-Presse