The IPL is in meltdown after the extraordinary moment an Indian star called his team off the field. Kevin Pietersen never wants to see it again.
Cricket great Kevin Pietersen says he never wants to see scenes like those that erupted in the highly controversial finish to Rajasthan’s win over Delhi in the IPL.
The world’s richest cricket competition is in meltdown after Delhi Capitals captain Rishabh Pant called his team’s two batsmen from the field during the emotion-charged final over.
Pant called Rovman Powell and Kuldeep Yadav to walk off after the on-field umpires refused to check a full-toss no-ball that was hit for six.
Set the impossible task of needing 36 from the final over, the Wankhede Stadium was going off after Powell smashed the first three deliveries for six.
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His third six was clearly struck above waist height, but the delivery was not reviewed.
The umpire blunder clearly enraged Pant.
Capitals assistant coach Shane Watson was seen gesturing for the delivery to be called a no-ball, but he was soon left trying to get Pant to settle down.
The furore erupted after Yadav’s request for the delivery to be reviewed was knocked back.
The Capitals captain was seen having heated conversations with members of his own team and then had a prickly exchange with Royals batsman Jos Butler on the boundary before he eventually sent out assistant coach Pravin Amre to complain to the umpires.
When everything else had failed, Pant called his batsmen off the pitch before members of his own team talked some sense into him.
Powell was unable to continue his heroics in the final three deliveries and the Capitals eventually lost by 15 runs.
They had been left chasing a monster total of 223 after Butler smashed 116 from just 65 balls.
However, Butler’s innings has been overshadowed by the controversial finish.
Former England spinner Graeme Swann said in the TV commentary Pant’s actions were “dissent” and said it shouldn’t happen in cricket.
Pietersen said it was “unacceptable”.
He also suggested Pant would not have acted so poorly had coach Ricky Ponting — who missed the game as a result of covid protocols — been sitting next to him.
“The way Rishabh Pant was thinking about the game, that’s more concerning to me than the umpire’s call,” he said.
“I think that wouldn’t have happened at all if Ricky Ponting was there. Jos Buttler had every right to walk over to Rishabh Pant and say, ‘What on earth are you doing?’
“For them to send one of their coaches to the field and think that it was correct behaviour — we play the gentleman’s game.
“Myself and Swanny (Graeme Swann) have had long careers and when you see stuff like this, it’s not good for the game of cricket. It’s not good at all. That was a huge, huge mistake. But I think the biggest mistake is the coach running on to the field to talk to the umpire.
“He (coach) is a senior figure. Pant even wanted to call it off. It was unacceptable and I hope to never see that in the game of cricket. That’s not why we play cricket and that’s not how you’re supposed to play cricket.”
Former Indian captain Mohammed Azharuddin called Pant’s action “unacceptable”.
“Bad sportsman spirit on display by #DelhiCapitals,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Cricket is a game of gentlemen and this behaviour is completely unacceptable.”
News.com.au’s Nic Savage wrote on Twitter it was “really disappointing behaviour from the Delhi Capitals captain”.
Indian cricket journalist Vikrant Gupta posted: “Shocking night. The umpiring has been worse than even gully-mohalla standard but Rishabh Pant had no business to suggest his batsmen to stage a walkout”.
Pant apologised after the game.
“I thought the no ball could have been precious for us. I thought we could have checked that no ball, but it’s not in my control,” he said.
“Yes, disappointed, but can’t do much about it. Everyone was frustrated because it was not even close, so I thought it was only a no ball. Everyone in the ground saw that. I think third umpire should have intervened in between and said it was a no ball, but I can’t change the rule myself I guess.
“Obviously it wasn’t right (entering the field), but what happened with us is also not right. It happened in the heat of the moment.”
Assistant coach Watson also said the team does not condone Pant’s behaviour.
“In the end, the one thing at the Delhi Capitals you don’t stand for is what happened,” he said.
“The umpires’ decision, whether it’s right wrong, we have to accept it. Someone running on to the field certainly we can’t accept. It’s not good enough.”
Butler’s innings, meanwhile, was a thing of beauty.
It was his third century of this IPL.
Buttler and opening partner Devdutt Padikkal (54 off 35 balls) gave Rajasthan a dream start as the team made 222-2.
Pant was the top scorer for Delhi and hit two sixes and four boundaries in his 44 off 24 balls.
Delhi openers, David Warner (28 off 14) and Prithvi Shaw (37 off 27) tried to make a match of the chase but the middle-order couldn’t maintain the tempo once both openers fell.