Don't just ignore these umpiring blunders
West Indies are known to be more unpredictable and dangerous with bat than with ball, but they managed to defend 207 for 9 in the Super Sixes to clock their first ever ODI win over New Zealand. It was a total which, if you believe the record books, the White Ferns should have been able to chase down. But records have been thrown out of the window in this tournament, first by Sri Lanka upsetting both England and India, and now by West Indies who suddenly have a good chance of making their first ever World Cup final against Australia.
New Zealand were on the wrong end of three poor lbw decisions in their chase. During the post-match presentation, captain Suzie Bates chose not to mention the umpiring, unlike Charlotte Edwards who commented after England lost to Sri Lanka that “poor shots and a couple of bad decisions cost us.”
In this particular match though, New Zealand's batter Sophie Devine got a big inside edge on to her pad but was given out lbw to Tremayne Smartt when it took only one replay for those of us in the commentary box both to hear an obvious sound and see that it was bat first then pad.
The inside edge had, in fact, been detectable live, via the stump mic, to which the third umpire also has access. There is no DRS at this World Cup, meaning Devine had no way of questioning the decision.
In televised games though, the third umpire is now directed to check for a no ball after every wicket has fallen. Instructions read: “If the delivery was not a fair delivery, the third umpire shall advise the on-field umpire by two-way radio, who should recall the dismissed batter, indicate that the batter is not out and signal no ball.”
As the umpire has been instructed to check the replay anyway, surely it would have been easy enough – in this particular instance anyway – for the third umpire to radio through to the on-field umpire that there was a clear and obvious inside edge and allow the on-field umpire to call the batter back, in the same way that they would if they had belatedly spotted a no ball. Dead ball could be signalled and the delivery bowled again, or the delivery could be counted and the batter would keep any runs gained, should a single have been scampered.
Of course, the interpretation of what is ‘clear and obvious’ could produce some lively debates – but then the debate would be no more than what exists already around Hot Spot. I have sat in many a commentary box watching a Hot Spot replay when one person claims they can see a white spot on a bat, while someone else is convinced there is nothing.
Ultimately, the third umpire has the final say with what information he transmits back to the field, and with a bit of common sense and cricket experience mixed in, everyone is much closer to a correct decision being reached.
It used to be the case that when on-field umpires called upon the third umpire to check whether a catch carried, that was the ONLY thing the TV umpire could judge on. It made the decision look ridiculous when people watching at home could clearly see that the ball hadn’t come off bat or glove, yet the 3rd umpire wasn’t allowed to point that out to his colleague.
Nowadays, the regulations carry a helpful and sensible clause, stating: “When reviewing the television replay, if it is clear to the third umpire that the batter did not hit the ball, they shall indicate the batter is not out.” The checking of a no ball after an lbw could easily carry a similar clause referring to a clear inside edge.
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I had another extra-curricular treat the other day as I paid a visit to Bombay Gymkhana to catch the All Balls Rugger Revue 2013. What is this? You may well ask.
Bollywood actor/director Rahul Bose is a member of the Bombay Gym and had a hand in writing as well as performing a series of comedy sketches in the rugby section’s end-of-season jamboree.
A huge sound stage had been erected on the playing fields in front of the clubhouse, and we were entertained by a number of top-class performers. In the words of the programme, the script was “written, acquired, stolen and plagiarised” by TV personality Kunal Vijayakar, comedian Cyrus Broacha and Bollywood producer Deven Khote as well as Bose.
Considerable kudos must go to members of the 1st XV rugby team, who made up the backing dancers and appeared occasionally in drag. The style of humour was…. Well, let’s just say I’m glad my mum wasn’t watching! The programme made no apology, suggesting that, “the enjoyment of the show is directly proportionate to the amount of alcohol consumed”. Luckily there was an outdoor bar within reach, but I think we would have been in stitches nevertheless.