'Big stars in Indian team always try to create pressure' - Nitin Menon on experience with Indian players
Facing criticism and allegations of bias against modern-day batting great Virat Kohli, Nitin Menon shared his experience of officiating Indian games and how "big stars" tend to exercise their weight and try to intimidate him into giving the decisions in their favour.
Menon, the only Indian representative in the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires, has faced flak on social media amidst the Indian cricket fandom for multiple instances of the 'umpire's call' going against their favourite stars, especially Kohli. But the man has stood resolute, not paying attention to the word on the outside.
The Menon-Kohli virtual duel took an amusing turn earlier in the year when the esteemed player joked on the field with the umpire for one of the Indian appeals, "agar main hota toh zaroor out hota (if it concerned me, he would've definitely given it out)."
That comment, however, was part of the larger pressure tactic on Indian umpires, reflecting players' attitude towards officials from their homeland. Menon, though, isn't one to easily give up his footing and concede decisions on nationality and emotions.
Menon on experience with Kohli, other Indian players
Speaking in an interview with the PTI ahead of his debut Ashes assignment for the third Test scheduled in Headingley from July 6, Nitin Menon said he has observed a concentrated effort from Indian players to get the "50-50 decisions" in their favour by applying pressure tactics on the on-field umpire.
"When India play in India there is a lot of hype, lot of big stars in the Indian team they always try to create pressure on you, they always try to get those 50-50 decisions in favour of them but if we are in control of ourselves under pressure, then we don't focus on what they are trying to do," Menon said.
"It just shows that I am strong enough to handle any situation rather than getting working up by the pressure created by players. That has given me a lot of self confidence," he added.
"Leading the Indian international panel of umpires at home has also been a big responsibility. I did not have a lot of experience initially (when he entered ICC elite panel) but the last three years has helped me grow as an umpire."