Pant has shown himself to be an immature player who lost his cool in the heat of the battle
Rishabh Pant, the young captain of Delhi Capitals in the IPL, is getting away after murdering the spirit of cricket. Fining him a day’s wages for disrupting the climax in the match against Rajasthan Royals by sending a member of his coaching staff on to the ground to argue with the umpires is akin to telling Elon Musk to forfeit one Tesla car for breaching regulations. Hitting a multimillionaire IPL cricketer in the purse is futile.
The least the match referee, who symbolises the disciplinary process when he stands as the guardian of the spirit of the gentleman’s game, should have done was to ban the youngster for a few matches. While Pravin Amre cops a one-match ban, the captain who ordered him to walk on to the arena gets a small pinch in the pocket. Far from behaving like a cricketer with a bright future who is being talked about as a prospective captain of Team India, Pant has shown himself to be an immature player who lost his cool in the heat of the battle.
Matches have been forfeited before because of biased umpiring or danger to the life and limb of batsmen. The great Bishan Singh Bedi surrendered a Test match at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica, because some of his batsmen were in hospital already and others were likely to go there if the match continued. Once again, Bedi called off an ODI in Pakistan in 1978 after Sarfaraz Nawaz bowled an over of very short bouncers to Gundappa Viswanath, a batsman of stature but not height. Extraordinary circumstances then seemed to justify such action in a different era of the game.
In the age of universally televised cricket in which he should be setting an example to youth following the game avidly, Pant desecrated the code of cricket.
The least his franchise should do is to stand him down as captain for a couple of games if, indeed, they do not support what Pant did, as the assistant coach Shane Watson has averred. Pressuring umpires, who are already under stress with a third umpire watching images from the eagle eye of all-seeing TV cameras, is just not on. As the metaphor says it best — “It’s not cricket.”