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Malhotra & Dinda may face action

New Delhi: Match Referee B Kalyanasundaram might take action against Bengal coach Ashok Malhotra and fast bowler Ashok Dinda, after they were involved in a heated altercation with the Railways captain Murali Kartik during the Ranji Trophy match at the Jamia Millia University ground.

The controversy erupted just before lunch break on Sunday, when Kartik, after warning Bengal’s Sandipan Das in the previous over, ran him out when he backed up too far at the non-striker’s end, before the bowler had actually delivered the ball.

The “Mankading” of Das, the fourth wicket to fall in the Bengal innings with only 120 runs on the board, was a crucial breakthrough.

While the Railways players celebrated the decision of the third umpire, the angry Bengal cricketers came out of the dressing room immediately to greet Kartik with a volley of sarcastic comments.

Malhotra, too, got into a heated exchange with Kartik with players and officials from both teams looking on.

While Malhotra said Kartik’s action was against the spirit of the game, the left arm spinner said the Bengal coach had no business talking to him in that fashion.

Dinda continued with the verbal onslaught at the start of the post-lunch session. Kalyanasundaram, who did his best to bring the situation back to normal, went to the Bengal dressing room and was seen talking to Malhotra and Dinda.

“This was a complete disgrace,” said Malhotra later. “Murali Kartik is supposed to be a Test player, a County player, a commentator and what not. This is what he does? He is there for ‘Mankading’ a 19-year-old youngster? What does that boy learn about the spirit of the game?” he fumed.

“I can understand when you are playing one-day cricket where a batsman tries to steal a single. But this is a four-day game and he is just an inch out. I am not talking about rules but about spirit of the game,” said the Bengal coach.

Asked whether the match referee warned him, Malhotra said: “Not yet… but it could happen. But, I did not start the altercation.

“We were applauding our batsman (Das), when Kartik said something. Again, I am not somebody who would hold back when attacked.”

The Match Referee said he was not in a position to speak on the subject, as it would be against the Board of Control for Cricket in India rules.

There is, however, a strong possibility that Malhotra and Dinda might face action for breaching the code of conduct. Kartik refused to comment on the issue.

Kartik had been involved in a “Mankading” row before, when he dismissed Alex Barrow of Somerset in similar fashion while playing for Surrey, drawing a chorus of boos from the angry spectators.