New Zealand v Australia, 1st Test, Wellington February 16, 2016

Illingworth 'distraught' by wrong no-ball call


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

Umpire Richard Illingworth was "distraught" when he discovered that he had incorrectly called a no-ball that reprieved Adam Voges on the first day in Wellington, according to match referee Chris Broad.

Voges went on to score 239 in a match-defining innings; he was on 7 at the time when he left a delivery and was bowled off the Doug Bracewell no-ball, despite a significant part of the bowler's heel being behind the crease. Under the ICC playing conditions, a no-ball can be retrospectively called but not rescinded, so there was nothing that could be done about the call after Illingworth had made it.

"Unfortunately Richard was distraught afterwards when he realised that it wasn't a no ball," Broad told the Daily Telegraph. "… I think when anyone is proved wrong in any decision that they make it's clearly embarrassing at the time. But umpires, particularly on the elite panel have a great ability to be able to overcome that feeling and get on with the game.

"There can be nothing done about it. The problem is that when an umpire calls a no-ball, you can't change that decision because under the laws a batsman may change his shot when the no-ball is called. It was called - that's the end of the matter. Richard is a Yorkshireman, he shrugs his shoulders and gets on with it. I'm constantly amazed at how the umpires, when they do make their occasional errors, are able to recover from it."

The mistake has led to debate about whether the on-field umpire is the best person to call no-balls, and whether the job would be better placed in the hands of the TV umpire. Australia's coach Darren Lehmann, who sits on the ICC Cricket Committee which has discussed the matter in the past, said he would like to see the square-leg umpire take control of no-balls.

"It's a part of the game but I know it's not right," Lehmann said of Illingworth's error. "We all make mistakes, I make plenty as a coach, umpires are going to make some. It's heightened because he was on 7 and made 239 isn't it? The no-ball situation is getting tough for umpires. I'd have the square-leg umpire do the no balls, but that's me, that's my cricket hat on.

"Where do you go? How far do you go? How many no-balls are there in a game. How long will the day go, how many overs will we miss out on? All those questions have to be asked."

"It's something we've got to talk about at the ICC Cricket Committee. I sit on that so I have my views but there's a lot of views and a lot of good players who have played a lot of cricket on that. We've got to get the solution right for umpires as well, there's umpires on that commitee."

The incident occurred in the last over of the first day and was not replayed on the big screen at the Basin Reserve, so the New Zealand players did not realise the no-ball call was incorrect until they left the field at stumps. New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said he had spoken to Broad about the no-ball but the New Zealanders had moved on and tried to refocus on the match.

"I just discussed it with Chris Broad after the game, as you do, but it became fairly clear pretty quickly that there's not a lot that can be done about it, so you move on," Hesson said on Tuesday morning. The spirit [among the players] was fine, there's no doubt at the time we were disappointed, there's no doubt about that. We moved on pretty quickly."

After New Zealand's loss, captain Brendon McCullum indicated he would have no problem with taking no-ball calls out of the hands of the on-field umpires, and Hesson was also open to the possibility.

"The more decisions right the better," Hesson said. "If we can use more technology to do that then decisions like that become less influential. It's something the ICC are aware of and will discuss ... The game's about swings and roundabouts, sometimes you get a bit of fortune sometimes you don't. In this situation many batsmen get a reprieve but some are good enough to make the most of it and Adam Voges certainly made the most of it."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shane on February 18, 2016, 14:43 GMT

    @INDJACKOFF - did you just complain, again, about someone being given out LBW because the ball was hitting the stumps?

  • carl on February 18, 2016, 12:15 GMT

    So the Warner out of a no-ball, Smith out LBW of a miracle ball tracker that swerved in the air to touch the leg bail and Smith being caught by Williamson with half the ball on the ground were decisions in favour of the big 3. I think NZ got a couple of tough calls in the series in Australia and the Australians got a few themselves. Better team won 2-0 and lead 3-0 overall.

  • Rajeev on February 18, 2016, 9:20 GMT

    When technology available and being used then third umpire should intervene and correct the mistake. One decision changed whole complexion of the match. It is very unfair for a bowler, when a batsman gets out, field umpire checks no-ball but other way around not. I am surprised if it had happen to Australia, how Australia media would have reacted to that.

  • roger on February 18, 2016, 5:07 GMT

    As some of fellow fans mentioned plenty of technology available to make the right decisions. But the problem lies within the system. Most of the ICC officials are from Eng or Aus ( not only match officials but also many employees ). Naturally they favour their countries and nothing wrong with that, it is just a basic instinct. You can see that tendency in their decisions and impact of those decisions effecting ranking system. I am not saying all the decisions but crucial decisions that makes the difference. Example best batsman of a team saved by umpire and the #11 batsmen of opp team saved by the umpire in the same match. As per ICC just two decisions went wrong ( may be out of 100 decisions ---so 98% accuracy). One decision for each team so evened out. The reality is result of the match and on the series and the ranking system. I hardly see a series goes by...without criticising officials if Aus/ eng involved and pitches if Indian home series....Is int'l cricket still fun?

  • shashi on February 18, 2016, 2:31 GMT

  • Cricinfouser on February 18, 2016, 1:08 GMT

    Time to stop whinging - the problem is not the mistake, but the way no balls are called. Voges is not to blame, Aus not to blame, illingworth made an honest mistake. The rule is no ball called, you can't get out. Solution - technology to pick no ball as per tennis; Speakers at both ends of the wicket to loudly say "no ball" then continue as normal. A bigger issue is how you have to manage appeals - the one that stands out for me is Broad not out off a clear catch, but no DRS reviews available. May have swung the match and the series (or not). I could whinge forever, but England one the game & series: done & dusted. To those who say Aus always get the favoured decision, it's just you remember the ones tha hurt you the most. It would be interesting to have a ball by ball review, possibly from the TV commentators who get a look at non-appealed or challenged balls to see if there are any biases.

  • Phil on February 17, 2016, 23:59 GMT

    There is plenty of technology about used for athletics (long jump, javelin, etc), that makes a noise when the front foot lands over the line. Some adjustment mat be needed but it's certainly not cutting edge stuff!

  • roger on February 17, 2016, 23:28 GMT

    The umpire can check the no ball after he get bowled if he had doubt. It's quite common now a days as many decisions were reversed after seeing a no ball. The words "distraught" or "shrug off" are appropriate. But the bottom 0line the AUS got benefit and the result might have been changed and on their becoming # 1. Just one decision but of course within the laws of managing the decisions. ( I am aware that i can't be tough on columnists or ICC officials. If I am tough and express my mind it won't get publish.....At the same time we are not allowed to publish open letters of our mind as it is exclusively reserved for critic columnists)

    As we are spending enormous time on no balls, boundary line savings, borderline 6/4's, and almost all run outs / stumping; close catches, it may be better just review every decision so right decision can be made an human bias can be taken out of the system. Then everyone agree to DRS ( minus ball tracking as it still depends on broadcaster)

  • Lewis on February 17, 2016, 21:06 GMT

    @IMTIAZJALEEL totally agree, the benefit of the doubt should be given to the bowler in this instance so that the game can be more free flowing

  • Cricinfouser on February 17, 2016, 17:26 GMT

    When the umpires check the no ball whenever a batsman gets out then they should check the vice versa as well.

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