New Zealand v Australia, 1st Test, Wellington, 4th day February 15, 2016

McCullum backs TV umpire controlling no-ball calls


Play 02:39
'Credit to Voges for making umpiring decision count' - McCullum

New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum has said he would have no problem with giving the TV umpire control over calling no-balls, following an incorrect and match-changing call on the first day in Wellington. Australia won the first Test by an innings and 52 runs on the fourth day, but it was hard not to wonder what might have been but for umpire Richard Illingworth's mistake in the last over of day one.

Australia batsman Adam Voges was on 7 when he shouldered arms and was bowled by Doug Bracewell, but was reprieved by Illingworth's no-ball call. Replays showed that a significant part of Bracewell's heel was behind the crease but while the ICC's regulations allow for a no-ball to be retrospectively called, they do not allow for one to be rescinded. Voges batted on, scored 239 and was Man of the Match.

It was not the only such mistake in this Test. During New Zealand's second innings, Illingworth again called a clearly incorrect no-ball, this time off the bowling of Jackson Bird, but the delivery was safely negotiated by Martin Guptill. After the match, McCullum indicated his support for handing the third umpire the responsibility for calling no-balls rather than the on-field officials.

"Maybe that's something that needs to be looked at, just to make sure you get the right decision all the time," McCullum said. "I'm guessing it's probably a bit easier as well for an umpire to look at the other end rather than having to look down and then look back up. But other people will make those decisions."

It was the second time in consecutive Tests against Australia that New Zealand were on the wrong end of an umpiring error that arguably turned the match. In the day-night Test in Adelaide in November, the TV umpire Nigel Llong wrongly gave Nathan Lyon not out caught upon a New Zealand review, despite Hot Spot clearly showing a mark on his bat. It would have left Australia at 9 for 118; they went on to make 224 and win the Test.

"I haven't brought it up with them," McCullum said when asked if he had discussed the no-ball call with the umpires or match referee Chris Broad. "Richard Illingworth would be pretty disappointed with it, I'm guessing. It's a bit of a shame but I've said all the way along that you've got to take the rough with the smooth in this game as well. Credit to Voges for making it count.

"Everyone makes mistakes. Richard Illingworth is a fine umpire as I said about Nigel Llong in Adelaide and they're allowed to make one mistake. It's unfortunate for him that it probably had a bit of a bearing on the game. But we had our opportunities to rectify it and we didn't do it. That [the no-ball call] is certainly not what we're focusing on."

Had Voges been dismissed from that delivery in the last over of the first day, Australia would have been wobbling at 4 for 146 in reply to New Zealand's 183, with a new batsman at the crease first thing on day two. Instead, Voges and Usman Khawaja added a further 153 during their partnership before Voges went on to post his second Test double-century of the summer.

"We want to see the right decision made as much as possible," Australia's captain Steven Smith said. "Everyone makes mistakes, whether you're a player or an umpire. Hopefully they can find a way to resolve that so that those sort of mistakes don't happen too much in the future."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Neil on February 17, 2016, 0:40 GMT

    It is refreshing and admirable to read Brendon McCullum's philosophical views on this subject. I agree that no ball calls should be left to the third umpire as incorrect calls will always disadvantage the bowling side in these situations.

  • David on February 16, 2016, 17:55 GMT

    Make no-ball a free hit in all cricket formats. Virtually eliminated them from limited overs matches. Bowlers end umpire is in best position to call a NB, make them accountable for any stuff ups like they should be for other decisions.

  • carl on February 16, 2016, 16:52 GMT

    For all the talk regarding the Lyon "dismissal" brought up over and over again by the T's, I find it amusing they forget that the Australians were the victims of a couple of howlers in their second innings but still won the match comfortably.

  • David on February 16, 2016, 5:40 GMT

    @ Sebastian Templeton Perhaps what Hickman should have said is the NZ press and public and excluded the players. Certainly everything McCullum said is NOT how the Kiwi nation is responding as they carry on as if the Voges no ball decision was the difference when clearly both sides of the no ball they were vastly outplayed.

  • Beau on February 16, 2016, 5:29 GMT

    Sensible. We've all seen no-balls go by uncalled. Now we're starting to see them called incorrectly. Forget about whether it had an impact on the outcome. This is a good idea, and seems like it will result in more correct decisions, as Baz said.

  • Girdhar on February 16, 2016, 5:28 GMT

    how about a tennis style beep immediately after a foot fault??

  • David on February 16, 2016, 5:22 GMT

    On a related note, it has always struck me as a bit tough on the bowler that umpires will tend to not call (or refer) close no-balls until the bowler takes a wicket. If they were more scrupulous about calling *all* no-balls, the bowler would have an opportunity to alter their run-up. Having the 3rd umpire or some sort of electronic system check every delivery seems to me would make it a fairer game for both batsman and bowler.

  • Unni on February 16, 2016, 4:07 GMT

    True Gentleman, Mccullum is. Any other country would have felt so distraught after been at the receiving end of not one but two horrible howlers that would have an impact on a series' final outcome.

  • rob on February 16, 2016, 3:32 GMT

    @ JMCILHINNEY: First of all, greetings. Your boys are going pretty well I see. We'll have to do something abut that in due course :) .. With the no-balls, there is a suggestion by @Johnathon Josephs on another related article that solves the problem nicely imo. He says they should just simply wait until the batsmen has completed his shot, leave or whatever before calling the no-ball. That immediately takes out this malarky about the batsman changing his mind due to the call. That's the only reason they can't rescind a no-ball so eliminating that eliminates the problem as far as I can see. It's a beautiful thing Johnathon has come up with.

  •   Sebastian Templeton on February 16, 2016, 1:50 GMT

    @Arvind Hickman: how can you possibly say "if NZ wants to keep focusing on the umpiring rather than their complete ineptitude at Test level..." etc? McCullum explicitly says NZ is NOT focusing on the umpiring decision.

    Read the article:

    - "That [the no-ball call] is certainly not what we're focusing on."

    - "I haven't brought it up with them [the umpires or match referee]"

    - "I've said all the way along that you've got to take the rough with the smooth in this game as well."

    - "Credit to Voges for making it count."

    - "But we had our opportunities to rectify it and we didn't do it."

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