'Errors were made' in Australia-West Indies series December 19, 2005

'No umpire is perfect' admits ICC

Brain Lara, who suffered more than anyone in Australia, departs after a poor decision by Rudi Koertzen at Hobart © Getty Images
The ICC has replied to the West Indies board on the matter of the unusual number of poor decisions during the recent three-Test tour of Australia, the Barbados Nation reported yesterday.

The Windies lost all three Test matches by significant margins. Several bad calls went against the struggling side, including three against star batsman Brian Lara. After the tour, the WICB sent a letter to the ICC asking for explanations.

"We received a communication from the WICB and they have received a response," said ICC's media manager Brian Murgatroyd. "In that response, while admitting the standard of decision-making in the Australia versus West Indies series was below the normal standard, we have maintained that the overall standard of umpiring has improved in recent years with the advent of the elite panel."

This was a similar response to that given by the ICC's chief executive Malcolm Speed last week. "In the last three years we have introduced video assessment of decisions...this allows us to collate figures for every decision that is made," Murgatroyd said from his Dubai office. In 2003-04 the average correct decision percentage in Tests was 90.9% and in 2004-05 it was 94.8%.

"That percentage figure for the latter year comes from more than 2,500 decisions during the year April to March. The percentage figure is likely to have slipped a point or so over the course of the year and we are working to improve it as is every member of the elite and international panels." Murgatroyd said the ICC assesses every decision made by an umpire and that means they would know the correct decision percentage for each official. It allows the sport's governing body to monitor performance and also provide feedback on any errors that may have been made.

"The assessments come from, amongst others, match referee and captains' reports and the ICC's umpires and referees' manager," he said. "No umpire is perfect," Murgatroyd added. "They, like the rest of us, and like the players themselves, are human and can make mistakes.

"Like a batsman or bowler that has a bad match, the same can be true of umpires, but in the same way that dropping a player after one poor Test or a poor series is not necessarily the best solution, so the same is true in the case of umpires."