World Cup 2015: Umpires under fire

DC | R MOHAN
Published Feb 18, 2015, 1:52 am IST
Updated Mar 29, 2019, 7:21 pm IST
The adjudicators in the mega event seem unaware of many rules and regulations
Some umpires seem unaware of many rules and regulations while officiating on the field even in a mega event like ICC World Cup. (Photo: AP)
 Some umpires seem unaware of many rules and regulations while officiating on the field even in a mega event like ICC World Cup. (Photo: AP)

Chennai: There was no fairytale finish in the World Cup on Tuesday despite Scotland’s swing bowlers Iain Wardlaw and Josh Davey making a very fine impression after their batsmen had failed to put up a total that could stretch the home team New Zealand in Dunedin, the southernmost venue just 2,000 kms away from the South Pole. In more than one sense, another of the minnows had done well enough to stretch a fancied team and justify their grouse that the 2019 event will not accommodate too many of them as the World Cup in England switches down to 10 teams.

One remarkable umpiring decision in which Nigel Llong spotted that the ball had hit the batsman’s hand rather than the glove upheld the reasonable accuracy of the umpires who do a very difficult job in modern day cricket, scrutinised every minute by high definition cameras and sophisticated technology. It is in their lack of knowledge of the myriad rules governing the game in its DRS era that seems to trip the red-coated officials.

 

Not a World Cup passes without a kerfuffle over the umpiring. It was in 2007 that we saw the worst of officialdom as the final finished on a chaotic note with Australia and Sri Lanka asked to resume the match in virtual darkness in Bridgetown, Barbados when the rules said the complicated algorithm of the mathematical worthies Duckworth and Lewis had to be given the final say after poor light halted play. The third umpire Rudi Koertzen and match referee Jeff Crowe had accepted the responsibility for the chaos at the finish at what still rates as the worst World Cup ever organised.

 

The umpires’ lack of knowledge of the laws, bylaws, rules and regulations was once again highlighted in another confusing finish to a World Cup match in which Australia had lorded it over their oldest foe England on the opening day. Australia were well ahead of the curve when England’s last pair got into a situation when James Taylor was nearing a century in his first World Cup game. Adjudged lbw by Aleem Dar, Taylor and James Anderson were attempting to run a leg bye and the wicket was thrown down by Maxwell.

The moment the umpire ruled him out, it should have been a dead ball. But somehow, the umpires on the field and the back-up officials, in touch with them on the wireless, managed to get it all wrong even after the batsman had been ruled not out after review. Poor Taylor was denied what could have been a hundred on World Cup debut after the run out was needlessly reviewed by DRS. It may well have been a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth once again. How long would it have taken for the officials sitting in the box to consult the rule book? A sheepish ICC had to acknowledge that the game had ended incorrectly and tat an error had been made.

 

There was also rum irony in the fact that India, known opponents of the DRS system, were the beneficiaries when Umar Akmal was ruled out caught behind after the umpires decided to go for a review. There were dark hints of a conspiracy about third umpire Steve Davis having ‘engineered’ the dismissal, according to the elbow-straightening bowler Ajmal who is not at the World Cup. It just goes to show that the umpires can never win, whether they are right or wrong.

 

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