Indian cricket captain Harmanpreet Kaur will be forced to miss the team's next two international matches after being handed a 2 match suspension by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for her on-field behaviour in the third ODI against Bangladesh, on Saturday.
Two separate incidents, deemed to be in breech of ICC's Code of Conduct, are the reason for the reprimand by the sports' governing body, with Harmanpreet first smashing the stumps with her bat after being given out, and then criticising the umpires in the post match presentation, calling their decisions 'pathetic'.
Former Indian captain Anjum Chopra spoke to The Quint about Harmanpreet's actions, saying she was 'surprised and disappointed'.
'I was obviously disappointed and surprised as well. Disappointed for the actions that were there, we all saw, and surprised as well because the first thing that came to my mind was 'why such a reaction?',said Anjum when asked about her first reaction to watching Harmanpreet lose her cool on the field.
'That was the first thought that instantly came to my mind because you know anger and frustration and performance, everything is put together. I can understand what the reaction could have been on the park but when you break it down, even the reaction on the park, while walking back, post match and then it followed, I felt that the anger within was just bottled up and it just came out all of a sudden. That’s why I felt the why question was very essential to me as to why has all this happened,' she added.
While India was chasing Bangladesh's 225/4, the score was at 160/3 in 33.3 overs and the Indian skipper was at the crease, batting on 14. She tried to sweep a Nahida Akter delivery and the ball seemed to instead bounce off her pad and go straight into Fahima Khatun hands at first slip. Nahida appealed and the the umpire raised his finger, leaving Harmanpreet furious. With no DRS used in the series, Harman had to return to the dressing room but on her way back, she smashed the stumps with her bat. India needed 65 runs from the next 16 overs at this point, but the visitors went onto lose the game. This incident earned her three demerit points from the ICC for 'showing dissent at an umpire’s decision', which is a Level 2 offence.
However, Harman used the post-match presentation to express her anger at the umpiring and said, 'Some pathetic umpiring was done and we are really disappointed about some decisions given by the umpires'. This earned her another reprimand from the ICC and 1 demerit point.
While the umpiring wasn't up to the mark in the series, even according to Anjum Chopra but she reiterated that there are better ways to handle such a situation, like taking the matter directly to the match referee.
'The umpiring hasn't been to the best. We all saw that. But there is still a way of communicating. You can make it known to your own home board, they can take it up with the with the host board. Things can be handled in that manner as well that. Or you can complain to the match referee. It doesn't need to go public like this to be able to file all these complaints,' said the former international who has played 157 internationals for the country.
While the two match ICC suspension now means Harmanpreet will likely miss India's quarter and semis outings at the Asian Games, Anjum Chopra also pointed out at an integral factor in this whole debacle - why did no one in the dressing room try to talk things out between her wicket and the presentation ceremony?
'You know, it's a very personal feeling, but I do feel there is more to it,' she said. 'For a captain to go out there and even after an hour and a half not cool down even till she reached the presentation ceremony. Winning and losing is one thing. You know what's happening and it's not. It's a sixth match that that happened. There were five earlier games where India was not… I think apart from the first game, it wasn't a breeze. There was a struggle in every game for India. They had to defend, they had to bat out of their skin and they didn't look fluent from the first match. Those things would have bottled up. So I'm just assuming that why have all these things just got piled up like that,' she added.
'And if it was just an absolutely fresh instance, then why wasn’t something done in the dressing room to calm things down? Because when you have a captain sitting in the dressing room after getting dismissed, you know what the mindset is. You know how the players moving about… So there are people in the dressing room who assess this and who notice this and probably act before it's too late. Rather than just say, oh, you know, she shouldn't have done this.
;We all know she shouldn't have done this. But could this have been handled better? Could this damage control have had begun in the dressing room before the presentation happened? Irrespective of that, India won, lost or tied this game,' said Anjum Chopra.