IPL 2019: controversy about a no-ball that never was

KOLKATA: The no-ball controversy in the match between Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur and CSK skipper MS Dhoni's subsequent antics have suddenly become the talking points of this IPL. The controversy is threatening to hog the limelight more than the action on the field.


CSK looked down and out when Stokes uprooted MS Dhoni's stumps with a perfect yorker with the third ball of the last over. CSK still needed eight runs off the last three balls when Santner replaced his captain.

The Kiwi got a waist-high full toss first up from Stokes which he managed to fend away to the leg side for a couple.

Non-striker Ravindra Jadeja protested vehemently to the umpires for not declaring it a no-ball as the delivery was clearly above Santner's waist. The CSK dug-out was irked because umpire Ulhas Gandhe at the bowler's end had his hand out (signal for a no-ball) even though he did not stand by his decision after seeing no response from square-leg umpire Bruce Oxenford.

As a matter of convention, it is the square-leg umpire who calls a no-ball if he deems the delivery is above the batsman's waistline when he makes contact with the ball. In this case, Oxenford deemed it was not a no-ball.

This peeved Dhoni and he chose to storm out to the middle and discuss the issue with the two umpires. Dhoni was seen repeatedly pointing towards Gandhe's signal and insisting that the no-ball call should stand. But Oxenford, an ICC Elite Panel official, stood firm.

According to former Indian umpire Ivaturi Sivaram, the whole controversy seems to be the result of a miscommunication between the two umpires. "The two umpires on the field are a team and are expected to assist each other in order to supervise the game efficiently.

"From the video clip, it is clear that Gandhe had his arm out, which denotes a no-ball signal. However, while calling a no-ball, an umpire is obliged to first call (verbally) and then signal for the benefit of the batsman and later signal to the scorers to record it. Gandhe didn't go through the entire process, so he didn't technically call a no-ball.

"In all probability, Gandhe had put his arm out instinctively but not followed it up by signalling to the scorer after realising that he was not supposed to make this call in the first place. With no signal from Oxenford, Gandhe simply went along with his senior partner.

"To be fair to Oxenford, he couldn't have seen Gandhe's arm going up as his eyes would have been on the ball and the striker. In his opinion, it was not a no-ball and he stuck to it. The whole controversy seems to have stemmed from umpire Gandhe's outstretched arm, which the CSK players and their captain MS Dhoni contended to be a no-ball signal."

The question being asked by most fans is why the on-field umpires did not refer the issue to the third umpire.

"Under the existing laws, on-field umpires are not allowed to go 'upstairs' for such decisions unless a wicket falls," Sivaram, who officiated in 9 ODIs as an on-field umpire and as a third umpire in 25 ODIs and seven Tests, explained.

"Umpires/refs make mistakes. Like players, they are also trying their best. It is best to accept it and move on. It was completely wrong on Dhoni's part to enter the field," he added.