Ian Chappell has backed Rishabh Pant’s attempt to sneak a dropped catch past the umpires in the Third Test.
Ian Chappell has backed Rishabh Pant’s attempt to sneak a dropped catch past the umpires in the Third Test.

Chappell’s shock defence of Indian ‘cheat’

Former Aussie Test skipper Ian Chappell has surprisingly sided with Indian wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant on the most controversial moment of day one of the Third Test.

Pant was widely criticised for appearing to claim he caught a top edge off the bat of Will Pucovski before an on-field decision of out was overturned by the video umpire.

Despite a photograph that showed Pant raising the glove with the ball in it off the turf, Chappell declared "I disagree that he claimed it".

"If you look at the way that he threw the ball away, I thought that was more or less in disgust and it was the guys around him who wouldn't have had such a good view who were claiming the catch," Chappell told nine.com.au.

"And bear in mind also the umpire's soft signal was out. So I disagree that he was claiming the catch, I think he was disappointed that he hadn't caught it."

Asked why Pant hadn't taken the initiative and informed the on-field umpire he'd grassed the chance, Chappell doubled down.

"I mean yes, he certainly would have had the opportunity to turn around and say 'I didn't catch it'," he said.

"But I think in a situation like that, when a lot of blokes start patting you on the back and telling you you've caught it, there can be a moment of hesitation thinking 'oh gee, did I catch it?'

"So I didn't have a problem with it."

Chappell's view contrasts with the majority of commentary around the incident - including from Pucovski.

 

"I thought he had claimed it so I just assumed he must have caught it," Pucovski said. "Maybe I've got too much faith in people."

Shane Warne gave Pant the biggest clip, arguing it would have been obvious to him he'd dropped the young opener for a second time.

"He thought he took it? Well I just can't believe that because you look at his hands," Warne said.

"You can't catch a ball when your hands are basically facing down.

"You watch his hands, he tries but then watch his hands, he sort of bumps the ball onto the ground. You see that? He smothers it, it's like a try.

"He didn't actually get his hands underneath so you can't give that out. How's he claiming that, how's he catching that? The only thing underneath the palm of his hands is dirt. So I was a little disappointed with that one."

Indian commentator Harsha Bhogle called the incident "very tricky" but Warne objected.

"I don't think it was tricky," Warne said. "You just can't catch a ball with your hands in that shape."

There were plenty of Aussie sports journos sticking the boot in on Twitter too.

 

Originally published as Chappell's shock defence of Indian 'cheat'


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