A potentially damaging situation was nipped in the bud by the Board of Control for Cricket in India after Rishabh Pant found himself in the eye of the storm once more.
The match between the Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders should have been talked about for the fact that the match went into the super over. Instead the match quickly turned into a raging bush fire as social media sites lit up with a rather serious concern.
Caught on the stump microphone was the young wicketkeeper's voice claiming rather conveniently before the four producing ball was bowled that it would end up in a boundary. It immediately turned into a wildfire as the words were considered predictive enough to constitute some kind of illegal mischief not unlike spot or match fixing.
Even as the drama spread across to completely overshadow the match, the BCCI went into over drive as the broadcasters claimed that the circulating clip was an incomplete, edited piece when in fact Pant was merely warning his skipper Shreyas Iyer about the possible gaps in the field.
The stump microphone itself has been the subject of much debate and discussion over whether to leave it on or not and whether it should be broadcast in its entirety. Recent damaging issues were felt even by the skipper of a national team, Sarfaraz Nawaz of Pakistan, for comments considered racial and therefore, highly damaging to the image of the person and the sport.
Pant is not new to the stump microphone controversy although Tim Paine and Pant seemed to make up over the course of India's tour of Australia. Still this one had the greater danger of potentially turning the tournament on its head and bringing back nightmares of past IPL seasons that laid the dark seed of spot fixing.
With social media more rife and being used for dissemination as well as a platform for heavy debate, discussion and sometimes aspersions as was evident in the course of the mankading controversy involving the Kings XI Punjab skipper, Ravichandran Ashwin, which saw arguments and accusations flying back and forth even between the observers and commentators of the game, it is a highly dangerous, quick medium for spreading damage as well as dirt without objective and verifiable data.
With the BCCI stepping in with a clarification, it was obvious they did not want one more player getting caught in the center of an ambiguous, worrisome controversy.
This though will not end the controversy over the subject of the stump microphone.
Royal Challengers Bangalore have lost three consecutive matches in the ongoing season of the Indian Premier League. The batting has failed to score heavily while bowlers have been hit to all parts of the ground by rival batsmen.
In the last match against Sunrisers Hyderabad, the visitors were hammered in all departments of the game. Virat Kohli was hoping to be on the winning side this year but things haven't panned out as per his expectations.
The host scored a mammoth 231 runs at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium. Jonny Bairstow and David Warner completed their individual hundreds for their IPL franchise.
RCB never looked comfortable while chasing a target of 232 runs on a batting-friendly pitch in Hyderabad. Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers failed to get going and the suffered its one of worst defeats in the IPL. They lost the match by 118 runs, which is the second worst defeat in terms of runs.
Fans were not impressed with the way RCB performed against Sunrisers Hyderabad. They blasted the entire team including Virat Kohli.
It seems trouble is not over for Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul for their sexist comments on Koffee With Karan. The Supreme Court-appointed BCCI Ombudsman Justice DK Jain has issued notices to them to appear for deposition.
Rahul and Pandya, who are currently part of their franchises in the ongoing Indian Premier League, were provisionally suspended by the COA for their remarks before the ban was lifted pending inquiry.
“I have issued notices last week to Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul asking them to appear for deposition,” Justice Jain told PTI on Monday.
However, it will tough for them considering their hectic IPL schedule and the role they play for respective IPL teams. “Both are playing IPL and the itinerary is packed with back to back matches and a grueling travel schedule,” a BCCI official said.
The Ombudsman has made it clear that they need to appear for deposition if KL Rahul and Hardik Pandya want to resolve the issue.
“As per principles of natural justice, I need to hear their side. It’s up to them now to decide when they want to appear,” Justice Jain said.
Rajasthan Royals pacer, Jofra Archer bowled brilliantly against Chennai Super Kings. The tall Barbados pacer ended up with figures of 2/17, which also included a maiden over. He was unlucky not to get MS Dhoni's wicket as the ball hit the stumps but the bails didn't come off, much to everyone's surprise. At that time, the CSK skipper hadn't even opened his account. Despite that, his bowling was top-notch.
But Archer wasn't too happy even after an exceptional spell of fast bowling. “Honestly, these have been the worst conditions I have bowled in. It is very very hard and challenging with the amount of dew. The ball has been wet for 8-9 overs the seam is slimy and then the new hard ball went the distance. We played here yesterday and there was a lot more dew, but there is still a lot of dew getting onto the ball.
“It is very hard to bowl a yorker and to bowl full. I have experienced such conditions once in Bangladesh, but no, I haven’t trained for conditions like these,” said Archer at the end of the Chennai innings, at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
Australian skipper, Aaron Finch has fired shots at critics of the Australian team. The Finch-led Australia have won their last eight ODI games. They registered a brilliant series win over India and then followed it up by whitewashing Pakistan. Both the wins have come away from home, which is a testimony of their supreme form.
"We'll go to the World Cup with a lot of confidence now, even after a lot of people wrote us off," said Finch.
"Potentially we had a real focus coming here and that was our last hit-out before the World Cup 2019 so we wanted to go into that tournament with a lot of momentum," he added.
There were question marks over Finch's place after his dry run with the bat against India. But, he bounced back strongly in series against Pakistan. Finch led from the front and scored two hundreds and two fifties in the five-match series to win the Man-of-the-Series award.
He might well have secured his place but there are players, who are likely to miss the WC with the return of Smith and Warner.
"There will be some unlucky guys. "Everyone who has an opportunity has played some great cricket. At the end of the day there will be some tough calls, but its exciting for Australia at the same time because six month back a lot of people were slamming us.
"A lot of people were writing us off, not in just the one-day cricket but in all forms of the game. It's been really positive last couple of months and we have been building nicely," said the Aussie skipper.
Chennai Super Kings recorded their third consecutive win of the IPL season at the famous Chepauk Stadium. They defeated Rajasthan Royals by 8 runs after being asked to bat first by Ajinkya Rahane.
Apart from MS Dhoni, Imran Tahir also contributed in the winning cause. He picked up 2 wickets and gave away just 23 runs. He dismissed dangerous looking Steve Smith and even became the highest wicket taker in the ongoing season with 6 scalps from 3 games.
He praised MS Dhoni stating that he works hard on his game plan and also helps his teammates.
"You know him well because he has done that so many times," said Tahir.
"He works hard on his game plan. He works really really hard, I have to say that. Even in practice sessions, he helps his team-mates. And we respect that.
"The way he carries himself is just unreal. He won’t say much but he knows how to lift the team up. He is great leader and a great human being."
MS Dhoni played a match winning knock against Rajasthan Royals at the Chepauk on Sunday. The right hand batsman was in awesome touch since coming to the crease and he stayed till the end to lead his side to a third consecutive win in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League.
Ziva Dhoni was seen shaking her led to the tunes of a famous Tamil song 'Otha Sollaala'. Ziva was present to cheer for her father, who scored 75 off 46 balls and his innings was laced with four fours and four sixes.
Asked to bat first by Rajasthan Royals, CSK had a shaky start after losing Ambati Rayudu, Shane Watson and Kedar Jadhav cheaply before MS Dhoni rescued his franchise.
He shared a 61 and 56 runs partnership with Suresh Raina (36) and Dwayne Bravo (27). The skipper, who started slowly, smashed 42 runs off the last 16 balls he faced in his innings.
MSK Prasad, who heads the Indian cricket selection committee, is backing India to win the upcoming World Cup in England. He also stated that the team for the 2019 World Cup will be announced on or before April 20.
"I had a good 'darshan' of the God along with my family. So far as Indian cricket team is concerned, we will be announcing our team for the World Cup on or before April 20," he said.
"I am confident that we are going to announce a good team. We have worked on this for almost one and a half years. We have observed all the players, tested good combinations," he said.
"We are confident that the team we will announce, will definitely win the World Cup to be held in England in 2019," Prasad told reporters during his visit to the temple of Lord Sri Kalahasteeswara at Srikalahasti town.
He even urged the people to cast votes in the Lok Sabha elections. "Vote is the right that the Constitution has given to us. The electing proper candidate is our moral right. I suggest all of you utilise your boring right and let the country and the state go ahead in the path of development."
Ajinkya Rahane, who is leading Rajasthan Royals in the ongoing edition of the IPL, has been fined Rs 12 lakh for maintaining a slow over-rate during his team's match against Chennai Super Kings.
"As it was his team’s first offence of the season under the IPL’s Code of Conduct relating to minimum over-rate offences, (Ajinkya) Rahane was fined Rs 12 lakh,” read an official IPL statement.
Rajasthan were at the receiving end once again as they lost the match by 8 runs. MS Dhoni’s special knock won the game for his side after they were asked to bat first by Rahane.
The skipper of Chennai Super Kings scored an unbeaten 75 runs and despite Ben Stokes late hitting, Royals couldn’t cross the finish line.