Player outbursts blight IPL first half

Player outbursts blight IPL first half

MS Dhoni's decision to walk up to the umpire and argue about a no-ball verdict was questioned by many from the cricketing fraternity. PTI File Photo

The Indian Premier League, apart from providing high-octane entertainment for the fans, has had its fair share of controversies since its start in 2008. This season, at its halfway mark, it also has witnessed some stirring action, a rarely used mode of dismissal and three elite Indian players losing their cool against umpiring decisions that has become a hot talking point.

Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli was the first to cross the line when he lashed out at umpire S Ravi for failing to spot a no-ball from Lasith Malinga in the last delivery of their game against Mumbai Indians late last month.

Rohit Sharma, the rival skipper, defended his Indian colleague by saying such mistakes are not good for the game. He also felt that while players pay for their errors, officials generally tend to get away and called upon administrators to ensure good quality officiating.

While Kohli losing his cool is a sight as regular as sunrise, what left everyone stunned was the move by the normally ice-cool MS Dhoni to walk to the centre of the pitch to have an animated discussion with the umpires during Chennai Super Kings' game against Rajasthan Royals.

Renowned for his equanimity, Dhoni had a heated argument with umpires Bruce Oxenford and Ulhas Gandhe after the former over-ruled the latter's call of a waist-high no-ball. Most critics slammed Dhoni's rare outburst and the CSK skipper earned a token 50 percent match fee fine, a mere slap on the wrist punishment.

All this came after Kings XI Punjab skipper R Ashwin 'mankaded' Rajasthan Royals' Jos Buttler at the very start of the tournament. While Ashwin showed a good cricketing brain in catching Buttler short of the crease after backing up too far, some players, mostly English, condemned the bowler for not playing by the 'Spirit of the Game'.

Performance-wise, nobody has lit up the tournament as Kolkata Knight Riders' Andre Russell has. The muscular Jamaican has been clobbering sixes -- a jaw-dropping 30 in eight games -- for fun to leave bowlers a scared lot. Of the 312 runs he's scored so far at an astonishing strike rate of 213.69, 264 have come in boundaries.

Defending champions Chennai Super Kings, perched atop the table, look well on course to securing a place in the play-offs. When they do it, they'll become the only club to make the cut in every edition they've competed in. 

For RCB, it's been the familiar tale of woes as they lie rooted to the bottom of the table with just one win from seven games. While they are not out of the play-off race yet, winning all seven of their remaining matches is an arduous task.


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