IND-W vs AUS-W: Punam Raut displays ‘spirit of cricket’, walks off after umpire gave not out

Punam Raut shocked one and all on Day 2 of the ongoing Pink ball test in Gold Coast. The Indian No.3 produced a remarkable piece of honesty as she walked off the pitch despite being given not-out by the umpire. With no decision review system (DRS) in place, umpire Phillip Gillespie’s on-field decision of not out would have stood if Punam had not walked.

India were in a good position on Day after Smriti Mandhana slammed a record-breaking ton to put the visitors in command, with Punam Raut playing the perfect foil. With the score at 217/2 in the 81st over, Raut pushed at a Sophie Molineux delivery outside off stump. The Aussie fielders went up after the ball nestled in the gloves of wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy, but umpire Phillip Gillespie shook his head.

The decision was remarkable considering how few opportunities women’s cricketers get to play Tests, with this match just Punam’s fourth in her 12 years playing international cricket. If there was an edge, it must have been a very faint one, with short leg Beth Mooney saying she did not think there was anything on it. The Australian star who was speaking to the commentators on the microphone almost immediately after the incident said she was unsure whether Raut had got a bat to it.

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Speaking at the end of the game, Mandhana said Raut has earned a lot of respect after her decision to walk. “First we reacted, like, ‘Oh, why did she do that?’ But, then, of course, it’s something that we all respect a lot. I think she has earned a lot of respect from all the teammates that she actually walked out,” Mandhana said as reported by ESPNcricinfo. “And I don’t know how many people would actually do that in cricket at the moment — men’s or women’s. “Nowadays people walk out because there is DRS. But when there is no DRS and to walk out… I don’t know. So, definitely she has earned a lot of respect from us, but, yeah, the first reaction was, ‘Oh, was it actually an edge or why did she walk?’”

The incident took place in the 81st over of the India innings when Sophie Molineux’s delivery took a thin edge and landed into keeper Alyssa Healy’s gloves. Not only was the appeal from the Australian placers weak, but also the umpire didn’t raise the finger. But Raut decided to walk off.

Former India wicketkeeper-batter Saba Karim said it was a strange call. Speaking on Sony Sports Network, Karim said, “It was very strange to be honest. There is no DRS.” On the topic of Punam Raut’s wicket, former India women’s cricketer Nooshin Al Khadeer said, “I hope Raut doesn’t regret it now.”