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The loophole Mumbai Indians exploited during match 51 of IPL 7

The loophole Mumbai Indians exploited during match 51 of IPL 7
In a bizarre incident that occurred soon after the toss on Friday, medium-pacer Praveen Kumar injured himself before the match officially commenced © Getty Images (Representational pic)

The Indian Premier League (IPL) 7 has been markedly controversy-free — barring an ugly spat between Mitchell Starc and Kieron Pollard that is — so much so that it has perhaps been a bit of a let-down to some of the more gossip-mongering fans. However, a slightly peculiar event transpired in match 51 of IPL 7 that could be considered in the ballpark of a controversy. Shiamak Unwalla looks at what followed.

In a bizarre incident that occurred soon after the toss in the match between Mumbai Indians (MI) and Delhi Daredevils (DD) on Friday, medium-pacer Praveen Kumar injured himself before the match officially commenced.

Rohit Sharma, Mumbai’s skipper, replaced him with Pragyan Ojha, who was not a part of the original 15-member squad for that particular match. Now, this was deemed slightly controversial as law 1.2.1 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) rules state: “Each captain shall nominate 11 players plus a maximum of four substitute fielders in writing to the IPL Match Referee before the toss. No player [member of the playing eleven] may be changed after the nomination without the consent of the opposing captain.”

Assuming that Delhi skipper Kevin Pietersen did not have any problem with this, we are left with law 1.2.2 of the IPL rules which sates: “Only those nominated as substitute fielders shall be entitled to act as substitute fielders during the match, unless the match referee, in exceptional circumstances, allows subsequent additions.”

However, the rules make no mention of a scenario in which a player not originally picked in the original 15-member squad of a match needs to be picked in the playing XI. Of all the members in the MI set-up, Ojha is arguably the very last person they would want fielding at any position whatsoever. Therefore, that he was not picked in the 15 comes as no surprise. Nevertheless, with the injury to Praveen Kumar, it seemed his services would be required after all. In such a situation, MI found the loophole that allowed him to play the match.

While the Twitterverse had mixed reactions about this, the fact is that it was well within the laws of the IPL governing council. It was also an excellent gesture on the part of DD captain Kevin Pietersen.

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(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with Cricket Country. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time. You can follow him on twitter at @ShiamakUnwalla)

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