Many at the Upal ground didn’t recognise T Suman when he dropped the catch of Rajasthan wicketkeeper Dishant Yagnik in the Ranji quarterfinal on Monday. But when he came out to bat, he was identified by his helmet — a different blue to what his team mates wore.
Though it did not have the Mumbai Indians’ logo, a sticker of a liquor brand that sponsors that IPL franchisee made it evident that Suman plays for MI.
Going on the field without the same colour protective gear as the rest of the team does not constitute violation of rules in Indian cricket but incidents like this have raised eyebrows in the past.
Suman is not alone. In a league match of the premier domestic tournament, Punjab batsman Sarul Kanwar came out to bat against Karnataka wearing his Mumbai Indians helmet.
Many fans would remember how former India wicketkeeper Nayan Mongia was criticised by players and administrators when he came out to bat against Australia in a Test wearing a yellow helmet on. The official colour is blue.
Although Suman has not violated the BCCI’s code of conduct for domestic cricket, former players feel the practice should be discouraged.
“I have never seen Sachin Tendulkar or Rahul Dravid wear IPL gear in games other than the tournament. These players feel proud when they put their India helmet on or even the helmet which has the logo of their state side. This is a wrong practice, though not a rule breaking attempt,” said former India player Kirti Azad.
Azad pointed out that these players will never be allowed by their IPL franchises to wear any other helmet during an IPL game, so it should also apply while playing for the state.
Saurashtra batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, who plays for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, is not in favour of the practice. “Going by the book, it's not wrong but if you are part of a particular team it is expected that you wear the same uniform or protective gear like your team members.”