Former India cricketer Virender Sehwag has a blunt take on the hockey controversy that marred the Indian women’s team’s semi-final against Australia at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Despite Savita Punia making a fine save in the penalty shoot-out, Australia’s Rosie Malone, who missed her first attempt, was gifted another chance, as the stopwatch hadn’t started. The forward scored in the next attempt and the Indians eventually suffered a 0-3 defeat in the shoot-out, which preceded a 1-1 result at the end of regulation time.
Sehwag shared a bold tweet on the stopwatch glitch and said cricket also suffered ‘biasedness’ before India emerged as a ‘superpower’
“Penalty miss hua Australia se and the Umpire says, Sorry Clock start nahi hua. Such biasedness used to happen in cricket as well earlier till we became a superpower, Hockey mein bhi hum jald banenge and all clocks will start on time. Proud of our girls,” wrote the former batter.
Australia continued their momentum to hit the next three shots into the Indian goal while India’s shots in the shoot-out were saved by swapped goalkeeper Jocelyn Bartram.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has apologized for the episode, saying it would “thoroughly review” the clock incident.
“In the semi-final match of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games between Australia and India (Women), the penalty shootout started mistakenly too early (the clock was not yet ready to operate), for which we apologize,” FIH said in a statement .
“The process in place for such situations is that the penalty shootout has to be retaken, which was done. This incident will be thoroughly reviewed by the FIH in order to avoid any similar issues in the future,” it added.
Punia, however, played down the shoot-out incident and said such incidents are part of the game. “It was a very close match and sometimes these decisions don’t go your way, it becomes tougher. The first stroke was asked to be retaken. It was tough for us but, at the same time, these are part of the game. We have to move on,” Savita told Sony Sports after the game.
India’s coach Janneke Schopman said the controversy might have ‘influenced’ the result but refused to call it an excuse for the semi-final defeat.
“It’s tough, because I think from 1-0 up arguably and going in with momentum, I have 5 players that are upset that they can take it again. Their focus might have been influenced a little bit but it’s not an excuse. It wasn’t “not helpful for us at all,” Schopman said.