The Ranji Trophy semi-final between Karnataka and Saurashtra was a tight affair. Jaydev Unadkat-led Saurashtra clinched the match in the end, making it to the final of the tournament. However, the game also highlighted the level of umpiring in the domestic tournaments in India.
Cheteshwar Pujara, the player of the series in recently concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy, was adjudged not out twice despite edging the ball to the keeper, once in each innings.
At the firing end of Karnataka players' anger was umpire Saiyed Khalid, who made those decisions. The fact that it was a player of Pujara's calibre made the matter even more significant. Not to forget that Pujara scored 45 in the first innings and went on to make an unbeaten 131 in the second innings to cement Saurashtra's place in the final. On Twitter, the Karnataka fans were venting out their anger, blaming the shoddy umpiring which cost their side a spot in the final.
— Sreenath RPR (@POTHIREDDY) January 28, 2019
— Uday Joshi (@udayjoshi98) January 28, 2019
However, Saurashtra captain Jaydev Unadkat was of the opinion that umpiring was neutral and the umpire had a tough day in the field, adding that anyone can have a hard day in the office. He was quoted as saying on Cricketnext, "I think anyone can have a tough game. The ball was moving a lot, deviating from the wicket. I'd just say that it has been neutral for sure. Doesn't really matter if it can be anyone else... they thought it was out, we thought it was not out. There were a couple of other decisions as well which went against us and we didn't really take it in our mind and play the game, which I think they did."
The recent errors in umpiring have also brought the talks of using DRS in Ranji Trophy games and Karnataka coach Yere Goud has definitely vouched for it. He said, "Definitely, if they can use DRS, there would be nothing like it. We would have a fair game." And Unadkat agrees with him on the use of technology. He said, "We've seen it at the international level as well. It has really helped teams to take those decisions. I think the BCCI would be the best judge to look at it. I'm sure people there would be looking at it and they are the best judges. Obviously, whatever technology you can include can help the game for sure."