IPL 2019: Pressure on umpires will not help them make better decisions, says Zaheer Khan

“It’s not an easy job,” points out the Mumbai Indians director of cricket operations.

Zaheer Khan: “As long as the umpiring is consistent throughout the game, then it should be okay.”   -  Vivek Bendre

The standard of umpiring in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) has been a major talking point, but added pressure on the umpires will not help them make better decisions, according to Zaheer Khan, the Mumbai Indians director of cricket operations and former India fast bowler.

On Thursday, Chennai Super Kings captain, M. S. Dhoni, lost his cool — quite uncharacteristically — and stormed into the ground, challenging umpire Ulhas Gandhe’s decision to revoke a no-ball against Rajasthan Royals. “I think a lot of things have improved and there is always room for improvement. So, in terms of standards of umpiring, it’s not an easy job and the more pressure you put on [the umpires], it’s going to be even more difficult [for them to make better decisions],” Zaheer said on Friday.

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“You know as long as the right call has been made, it is fine. Yes, in this tournament so far, we have seen a few incidents where things have gone a little out of hand, but as long as the umpiring is consistent throughout the game, then it should be okay,” Zaheer added.

At a time when the on-field umpires fail to take decisions on no-balls, should it be referred to the third umpire directly? “Regarding the line-call which you are talking about, the no-ball, it has been referred to the third umpire on many occasions. Especially, you see the game [being] stopped because after [of] a wicket [having] fallen, [the] umpire [is just] making sure he has made the right call. So the measures have been taken but there is some room of improvement. As long as everyone is working in that direction it should be okay,” Zaheer said.

‘Thinker of the game’

Looking at the performances from his own team, Zaheer reserved praise for Jasprit Bumrah. “If you see how [Bumrah] has progressed over the years — in the last four or five years — that’s a clear indication [that] he is a thinker of the game and he is always trying out things. He is making use of all the resources which are available with him, which is right — from talking to the senior bowlers to making use of the technology, watching videos, talking to batsmen, so he is pretty good with his processes,” he said.

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Zaheer was also impressed by what he saw of Alzarri Joseph, the fast bowler from Antigua. “[He is] a very balanced guy, doesn’t like to show his emotions much. You got to give credit to Rohit [Sharma] as well, because is very keen on getting him to the set-up. He had a dream debut and [will have] a long road ahead of him of success. We hope that he continues with his performances. He is a very good athlete, a good young talent and we sure are benefitted with him being around in the squad,” he said.

Zaheer also clarified Rohit will be fit for the contest against Rajasthan Royals on Saturday. He had suffered a spasm on the leg that had forced him to miss the contest against Kings XI Punjab.

“He is definitely available, available for selection and he is very confident, so that is a very positive sign right now for us. He is going to practice and get a better gauge of things, but we are pretty confident [that he will play],” Zaheer stated.

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