Lack of DRS in focus as Pujara rides his luck in Ranji semi-final


Players and coaches involved in the sometimes contentious Ranji Trophy 2018-19 semi-final between Karnataka and Saurashtra have indicated that they would welcome the use of technology to aid umpires in domestic cricket too, especially in knockout matches.

“Definitely, if they can use DRS then nothing like it. We will have a fair game,” Yere Goud, the Karnataka coach, said.

Saurashtra captain Jaydev Unadkat was also for the idea. “It’s good for the game, whatever technology you can include,” he said. “We’ve seen it at the international level as well. It has really helped teams. I think the BCCI would be the best judge to look at it. I’m sure people there would be looking at it. Obviously, whatever technology you can include can help the game for sure.”

Saurashtra won the game by five wickets on the fifth morning, driven by Cheteshwar Pujara‘s 131 not out in the fourth innings, but Karnataka were left aggrieved by umpiring errors, believing that Pujara had got a nick when on 34, shortly after lunch on the fourth day. Vinay Kumar, the bowler, and all the Karnataka fielders appealed spontaneously, but umpire Saiyed Khalid remained unmoved. There was a sound as ball passed bat – though on replays, without the aid of HotSpot or UltraEdge, it was difficult to say conclusively that the sound was the result of an edge.

That this followed from the first innings when Pujara had been given a reprieve by the same umpire when he appeared to have gloved Abhimanyu Mithun behind lent an edge to the proceedings, with the crowd at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium also getting involved as Pujara was greeted by chants of “cheater” and booed.

ESPNcricinfo understand that Khalid has been rated as among the top 15 umpires in the country based on this season’s domestic performance, which played a part in him being appointed for the semi-finals.

Goud didn’t appear to hold issue with Pujara not having walked. “It is left on the individual,” he said. “Because sometimes players get bad decisions, generally they don’t walk. That has been the case in most of the domestic matches we’ve seen.”

On the umpiring specific to the match, Unadkat said both sides had received decisions for and against them, but held that nothing could take away from the way Pujara and Sheldon Jackson (100) constructed the chase, with a 214-run stand for the fourth wicket from 23 for 3.

“I think anyone can have a tough game. The ball was moving a lot, deviating from the wicket,” Unadkat said. “I’d just say that [the umpiring] has been neutral for sure… [Karnataka] thought it was out, we thought it was not out. There were a couple of other decisions as well, which went against us, and we didn’t really it take in our mind and play the game, which I think they did.

“I’m really happy, don’t want to take any credit away from how we played this game, how we fought after being 23 for 3, and playing the way Cheteshwar and Sheldon played.”

Karnataka captain Manish Pandey mentioned the umpiring obliquely, telling the host broadcaster after the game, “Unfortunately, a couple of decisions went against us, maybe a couple of performances would have made a difference today.”

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