Mumbai Indians all-rounder Kieron Pollard's over-the-top celebration to send off Rajasthan Royals batsman Shane Watson in an IPL match here has invited strong criticism from visiting team's skipper Rahul Dravid who termed it as an "act of cowardice".
"One of the things that I find when you send off batsman after you have got him out is that it is an act of cowardice. That is my opinion. Batsman can never respond after you have got him out and you send him off," said the former India captain in the post-match media conference last night.
"Saying something on the field is part and parcel of the game. Having a chat, a bit of banter while the game is on is fine but my personal opinion is that when you send a batsman off after you have got him out is an act of cowardice," Dravid said in a strong reaction to the incident at the Wankhede Stadium.
It started when Pollard said something to Watson who had just come out to bat, and a miffed Australian all-rounder retorted leading to a verbal spat. On-field umpires had to intervene and separate the two players before the incident got ugly. Watson was later caught by Pollard and the West Indian gave the batsman a send-off with his hand gesture after celebrating the dismissal. Dravid also felt that the umpires could have handled the situation better.
"I guess it was a competitive game. Things can get tough in a T20 game. These things can happen, so I wasn't very surprised. I thought it could have been managed a little bit better. In terms the way the umpires managed it, it could have been managed a lot better. It's the way things are sometimes. Things can get heated in the middle," he said.
The unsavoury episode also invited the ire of the match referee who hauled up the home team skipper Rohit Sharma and the errant fielder in a hearing after the game. Blaming his batsmen for the 14-run loss to Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals captain Rahul Dravid said his side's chances of finishing among the top-two ahead of IPL playoffs have been dented considerably.
"This loss was a big one for us. Obviously our net run rate is below both Mumbai Indians and CSK's. We needed this win if we wanted to finish in top two, now we have to rely on one of them losing very badly. They are pretty good sides, they don't lose very easily," Dravid told reporters in a post-match press conference last night.
"You never know with a bit of luck we win against Hyderabad and if one of them (MI and CSK) loses badly, we can still finish in the top two but it is looking difficult," he said. Dravid said the bowlers did their job by restricting Mumbai to a gettable total of 166 but the batsman squandered their opportunities.
"We did a brilliant job at the back. A side like Mumbai Indians, with the kind of hitters that they have at the back-end after they got off to a flier, to restrict them to 166 was an amazing effort from the boys on the field," Dravid said.
"I thought all the three guys (James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper and Shane Watson) who bowled at the death were superb and deserve a lot of credit. Just sad that they ended up on the losing side because we didn't bat really well in the first six," he added. Chasing 167 runs, the Royals lost four batsmen in the first six overs with just 29 on the board.