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Looked like the ball touched the ground: Babar on Shakeel's dismissal

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Last updated on 12 Dec 2022 | 12:04 PM
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Looked like the ball touched the ground: Babar on Shakeel's dismissal

The southpaw was caught down the leg side off a Mark Wood bouncer which put Pakistan on the back foot

Pakistan captain Babar Azam has given his verdict on Saud Shakeel's controversial dismissal. Shakeel, who was batting on 94, gloved one to the 'keeper Ollie Pope down the leg side. However, replays suggested that the ball may have kissed the ground after he took it. The soft signal adjudged the batter and after a close look it looked as though the third umpire did not have sufficient evidence to overturn the on-field decision.

The wicket came at a crucial juncture for England as Pakistan were just 64 runs away from their second highest run-chase in Tests, just before lunch on Day Four. Mark Wood delivered a bouncer that was going down the leg side but Shakeel looking to pull the ball only managed a glove to Pope.

Babar says that the dressing room was surprised with the final decision but at the same time, they respect the call made by the umpires.

"The Shakeel dismissal cost us," Babar said after the his side's 26-run loss in the second Test in Multan, according to ESPNCricinfo.

"It looked to us as if the ball had touched the ground. As a professional, you have to respect the umpire's decision, but we felt the ball had been grounded."

The soft signal is part of the game and well within the rules of the ICC. However, it was scrapped in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The rules mention that if there is "inconclusive replay evidence, the on-field decision communicated at the start of the consultation process shall stand".

Asked if the soft signals should be done away with altogether, Babar said, "I think it's for the umpires to decide Like I said, we felt the ball was grounded."

However, Babar's counterpart Ben Stokes did not think there was anything wrong with the decision in the end. "I don't think [there were any doubts about the catch], personally," he said. 

"The only thing where you start worrying is when it gets looked at for a long period of time because that's when you start having doubt in your own head. I've been part of games before where I've been on the team who's been on the receiving end of those decisions and you're always like, 'that's not carried'.

"You see a lot of lot of those decisions and those type of catches in cricket. You could say the similar thing was when Rooty got caught at short leg - you could say that might have touched the floor. But you've just got to go with what the umpire's decision is. It went our way but I've been involved in a few decisions where stuff like that has gone against us. But you can't change that."

Even Pope, who claimed the catch said there he was sure it was clean. "I knew it had carried," Pope said. 

"I didn't think it had bounced before. As a keeper when you've got the gloves on you honestly can't tell. I didn't think it had touched the ground after. When you have gloves on you feel it go in but that's it."

After a 74-run defeat in the first Test, Pakistan lost the second game in Multan by 26 runs to concede the series. They will look to end the series on a high when they face England for the final Test in Karachi, starting December 17.

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