Bangladesh vs India – Harmanpreet Kaur slams ‘pathetic’ umpiring – Nigar Sultana criticises Harmanpreet’s ‘poor manners’

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The final, deciding Women’s ODI between Bangladesh and India should have been about the exciting finish, since it ended in a tie, but instead, Harmanpreet Kaur‘s conduct – she smashed the stumps after being given out, and later called the umpiring “pathetic” – has become the talking point.

While Smriti Mandhana defended her captain at the post-match press conference, Bangladesh captain Nigar Sultana didn’t hold back, saying Harmanpreet “could have shown better manners”.

In the 34th over of India’s chase of 226, Harmanpreet was given out caught at slip off Nahida Akter while attempting a sweep. Did it go off the pads, or was there a bit of glove or bat on the way? Harmanpreet hit the stumps with her bat after being given out, and then had words for the umpires before walking off, giving a thumbs-up to the crowd on her way. Initially, it looked like Harmanpreet was unhappy as she assumed it was a lbw decision, but the umpire made the decision after the catch was completed.

Yastika Bhatia had earlier protested the lbw decision against her in the fifth over, standing her ground and staring back at the umpire after being given out. Later, in the final over, after Jemimah Rodrigues’ single had tied the scores, Meghna Singh played away from her body to Marufa Akter’s next delivery, and was given out caught behind.

Curiously, Meghna appeared to be walking towards the dressing room initially, even as the Bangladesh players celebrated around her, but then stopped and started speaking to the umpire.

For the Harmanpreet and Meghna dismissals, the umpire at the bowler’s end was the experienced Tanvir Ahmed, while for the Yastika wicket, it was Muhammad Kamruzzaman.

“A lot of learning from this game,” Harmanpreet said at the presentation ceremony. “Even apart from the cricket, the type of umpiring that was happening there, we were very surprised. The next time whenever we are coming to Bangladesh, we’ll have to make sure we have to deal with this kind of umpiring and accordingly, we’ll have to prepare ourselves.”

Bangladesh, batting first after winning the toss, rode on Fargana Hoque’s 107 to score 225 for 4. In the chase, when Harmanpreet was dismissed, India were 160 for 4 in 33.4 overs, and well placed to win. But they collapsed to 225 all out.

“Maybe we can have a neutral-umpiring system from maybe next time so that we don’t sit here having these discussions and maybe we can focus more on cricket and cricket-oriented questions”

Smriti Mandhana

“They [Bangladesh] batted really well, batted according to the situation. They were taking those singles which were very crucial,” Harmanpreet said. “In between, we leaked a few runs but when we were batting, we controlled the game very well. But, as I mentioned earlier, some pathetic umpiring was done, and we are really disappointed about some decisions given by the umpires.”

ESPNcricinfo understands that when the end-of-series photograph with both sets of players was being taken, Harmanpreet shouted “bring the umpires too”, suggesting they were a part of the Bangladesh team. Nigar, it is understood, spoke about it to BCB officials, and took her players back to the dressing room soon after.

“It is totally her problem. I have nothing to do with it,” Nigar said in the press conference when asked about the incident. “As a player, she could have shown better manners. I can’t tell you what happened, but it didn’t feel right to be there [for the photograph] with my team. It wasn’t the right environment. That’s why we went back. Cricket is a game of discipline and respect.”

About the umpiring, Nigar said, “The umpires wouldn’t give her out if she wasn’t out. We had umpires from men’s international cricket, so they were good umpires. What are they [India] going to say about the caught or run-out dismissals [of which there were six excluding the Harmanpreet and Meghna wickets]? We have respected their decisions. The umpire’s decision is the final decision, whether I like it or not. Why didn’t we behave in that way [like the India players]?”

At the press conference, Mandhana had said that Harmanpreet was caught in the heat of the moment as she couldn’t accept the umpire’s decision. “When you play for India, you want to win the match, and it happens in the heat of the moment,” Mandhana said. “I think she [Harmanpreet] wasn’t really happy with the decision given and she felt she wasn’t out. That is why that [reaction] came about. It is just the heat of the moment and nothing much.

“What happened in the middle is a part and parcel of the game. We’ve seen these incidents so much in the past as well. When you really want that ‘W’ on the board for India, these things happen.”

Mandhana did, however, call on the ICC to appoint neutral umpires in the future.

“In any match, sometimes it happens that you are really not happy with the [decisions]. Especially when there is no DRS in a match in a series of this kind, we kind of expect a little better level of umpiring in terms of some decisions,” she said. “It was very evident that there was not even a second thought given when the ball was hitting the pad when our batters were batting. There was not even one second of thought given before the finger went up.

“I am sure the ICC, BCB and BCCI will have more of a discussion on that and maybe we can have a neutral-umpiring system from maybe next time so that we don’t sit here having these discussions and maybe we can focus more on cricket and cricket-oriented questions.”

Separately, Harmanpreet also criticised the BCB for not inviting the Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh, Pranay Kumar Verma, for the presentation ceremony even though he was present at the ground. “Our high commissioner from India is also there – I hope you could have also invited him here, but that’s also fine.”

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo’s Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84