Zimbabwe v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, Harare, 3rd day April 27, 2013

Poor umpiring mars Test

The umpiring in the Test has not been up to the mark, and the lack of technology to assist them had made it worse
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Sore losers blame the officials. Just think of the abuse football's Howard Webb and rugby's Bryce Lawrence get. Some of it is even justified.

Just like the anger fans on both sides of the Zimbabwe-Bangladesh contest will rightly feel when reflecting on the decisions made in this series. By day three, four glaringly incorrect decisions had been made. The only consolation was there were two on each side.

Regis Chakabva, Shingi Masakadza and Tamim Iqbal were incorrectly given out caught behind to balls they did not nick and Mohammad Ashraful was judged lbw to a Kyle Jarvis delivery that was clearly going down the leg side.

Four out of forty wickets amounts to 10%, which is a significant error rate. It does not even take into account the marginal calls or the fact that the match is not over yet. Mistakes happen but to have this many raises obvious questions about the level of seriousness that this contest is treated with.

We already know that Zimbabwe Cricket does not have the funds to cater for DRS but they also seem intent on making sure this is the Test series technology abandoned. They don't even have the means to secure a high-quality production. SuperSport, the broadcaster, have brought as many cameras as they use for a domestic match in South Africa to cover an international here. That's nine instead of 24 and the disadvantages of that have been on display.

The side-on camera angles have made judging no-balls and stumpings difficult to judge even on replay. In the first Test, Elton Chigumbura was bowled off a Rubel Hossain no-ball. The correct call was made after several minutes but the pictures were so fuzzy, they seemed to be coming out of the 1970s.

Other replays have been similarly hazy and they all call for one thing: that it would make sense for there to be a regulation on the minimum number of cameras that have to be used for every international. Like DRS, until someone other than the participating boards can pick up the cost, that is unlikely to be put in place.

But they are not to blame for the poor decision making. Even the creaking cameras in operation here could tell that bat had not touched ball in the Chakabva, Masakadza and Tamim cases. Rather, it seemed a case of the more and the louder the umpire was yelled at, the more convinced, or even intimidated, he was into raising the finger.

Perhaps in the DRS age, umpires have forgotten that even simple catches can be referred if they aren't entirely sure. That is all it would have taken for the correct decision to be made.

That's not asking for innovative technology, just accuracy. The most anyone can hope for is that when the reviews on performance are done, these and other grievances, will be brought up.

Before that can happen, people watching the series will continue to have reason to suspect theirs is the forgotten, neglected contest. On the evidence, they are not wrong.

It has been scheduled at a time of year when most of cricket watchers are either stuffing themselves with IPL or feeding their interest on the county circuit. Some don't even know these matches are happening, most don't care. The diehards remain interested but even they have been put off somewhat.

For that, the quality of cricket is to blame. If someone wanted to find a compilation of dropped catches and soft dismissals, they need not look further than this series. Both have occurred in abundance which makes a case for why these two teams need to play more Test cricket, against higher ranked countries as well as each other.

Then, they will be exposed to batsmen who place a high enough value on the wickets not to give it away and fielders who put their bodies on the line with far greater success. They will also have the advantage of better technology and it may result in better decision making, which will only serve to aid their progress in the longest format.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Markdal on April 28, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    Welcome to the past, fellas. After every series until firstly neutral umpires were introduced, and then when DRS was introduced, there was always an uproar about the umpiring. I'm a recently retired umpire of reasonably high standing in Australia, and I can tell you that probably 98% of umpires don't have the benefit of video referral. tHe problem is now that the 2% who do have become used to it as a sort-of crutch. Ian Gould is a top umpire, and Tony Hill obviously is well-regarded, but I think that the crutch for elite umpires affects their performance when it is taken away. Having said that, players are allowed to have the odd bad game, so how about the umpires, who are the only ones who are in the middle for the whole match? Perhaps the odd decision might affect the outcome of a Test, but on the whole, they go ok.

  • Reggaecricket on April 28, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    Umpiring is not an honorary job, it is one that is handsomely paid. Consistently bad umpires must not be allowed to officiate at this level. I know they removed Asoka De Silva, but far too many others have got away with it. Taufel, Dharmasena and Dar have shown that although umpires are human, they can maintain high standards.

  • on April 28, 2013, 15:08 GMT

    It's sad that umpiring was so poor in this test series. But let's face it, the umpires are as human as anyone around, and as such, are prone to making mistakes.

    Let's just hope there is no more of this in the rest of the series.

  • BanglaBandhu on April 28, 2013, 14:40 GMT

    Clearly Tamims reaction was not just a frustration of the decisiin against him but a decision against the many poor decisions given against Bangladesh over the years. The same thing happened in Sri Lanka where once again Bangladesh was on the wrong side of some poor decisions.

    It is true that Tamim should have not shown dissent but it is also true that the umpires should be qualified and trained to a high standard. In Tamims case, given the wide margin of clearance the ball from his bat, the umpire could have simply referred it to the third umpire but it seems that only ZIM are worthy of such luxury!

  • Ammo666 on April 28, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    I am tired & i don't get at all why BD has been very most the victim of poor umpiring & its showing up quite often since long i must say...what they just think of themselves, now as players are getting fined due to there reaction of wrong decisions then yes ofcourse umpires's must also be fined or should be suspended for atleast a year for there mean desire or else i am telling you they won't care rectify themselves enough but will keep on.. hellouuu its an international level of cricket prospect & they must be fair by a any means for both teams playing, they just can't just go against any team & let them win unfairly this way in big times & that is in this level !!

  • on April 28, 2013, 10:26 GMT

    I personally don't see that Zimbabwe has too much to complain about here. Neither Regis or Shingi are big wickets. Zimbabwe will most likely lose this match because they have dropped a whole bunch of pretty straight forward catches, sitters really. I have only watched probably 30-40 overs of them fielding in this match and I saw them drop at least 5 catches! I really love watching and supporting both of these teams and I have to say that the umpiring has played no role in this match, Bangladesh has simply played far better cricket. Zimbabwe really need Mawoyo back and having Vitori back to full fitness and keeping Price in the frame will help too. If only Tatenda was still around! I could almost cry for Zimbabwean cricket sometimes...

  • Meety on April 28, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    I'm neural & I thought Banga was harder done by in the 1st Test (not enuf to change the result), & are on the wrong end to a heavier effect in ths match too. Hopefully things will even themselves out (usually do).

  • on April 28, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    Very very poor umpiring indeed..unacceptable at this level of cricket

  • Baundele on April 28, 2013, 7:59 GMT

    Tamim gets fined reacting to wrong decision. What does the umpire get making that wrong decision?

  • sfarazi on April 28, 2013, 7:57 GMT

    Yep definitely not a 50/50 situation as Tamim and Ashraful are top order batsmen and they play a huge part in the Bangladeshi team. I think what's making it worse is the fact that no one seems to be taking this match up seriously! In my opinion, any match of test cricket is a hundred times better than IPL. I know IPL is a much shorter format and there's more high voltage action but IPL is just a business whereas test cricket is a real showcase of cricketing talent. Test cricket is cricket's version of 'survival of the fittest' and more and more cricket fans should be watching test cricket :) If people actually watched this match then they would see that both Zimbabwe and Bangladesh have quality players with talent but all they need is some appreciation and viewership from international audiences.

  • Markdal on April 28, 2013, 9:25 GMT

    Welcome to the past, fellas. After every series until firstly neutral umpires were introduced, and then when DRS was introduced, there was always an uproar about the umpiring. I'm a recently retired umpire of reasonably high standing in Australia, and I can tell you that probably 98% of umpires don't have the benefit of video referral. tHe problem is now that the 2% who do have become used to it as a sort-of crutch. Ian Gould is a top umpire, and Tony Hill obviously is well-regarded, but I think that the crutch for elite umpires affects their performance when it is taken away. Having said that, players are allowed to have the odd bad game, so how about the umpires, who are the only ones who are in the middle for the whole match? Perhaps the odd decision might affect the outcome of a Test, but on the whole, they go ok.

  • Reggaecricket on April 28, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    Umpiring is not an honorary job, it is one that is handsomely paid. Consistently bad umpires must not be allowed to officiate at this level. I know they removed Asoka De Silva, but far too many others have got away with it. Taufel, Dharmasena and Dar have shown that although umpires are human, they can maintain high standards.

  • on April 28, 2013, 15:08 GMT

    It's sad that umpiring was so poor in this test series. But let's face it, the umpires are as human as anyone around, and as such, are prone to making mistakes.

    Let's just hope there is no more of this in the rest of the series.

  • BanglaBandhu on April 28, 2013, 14:40 GMT

    Clearly Tamims reaction was not just a frustration of the decisiin against him but a decision against the many poor decisions given against Bangladesh over the years. The same thing happened in Sri Lanka where once again Bangladesh was on the wrong side of some poor decisions.

    It is true that Tamim should have not shown dissent but it is also true that the umpires should be qualified and trained to a high standard. In Tamims case, given the wide margin of clearance the ball from his bat, the umpire could have simply referred it to the third umpire but it seems that only ZIM are worthy of such luxury!

  • Ammo666 on April 28, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    I am tired & i don't get at all why BD has been very most the victim of poor umpiring & its showing up quite often since long i must say...what they just think of themselves, now as players are getting fined due to there reaction of wrong decisions then yes ofcourse umpires's must also be fined or should be suspended for atleast a year for there mean desire or else i am telling you they won't care rectify themselves enough but will keep on.. hellouuu its an international level of cricket prospect & they must be fair by a any means for both teams playing, they just can't just go against any team & let them win unfairly this way in big times & that is in this level !!

  • on April 28, 2013, 10:26 GMT

    I personally don't see that Zimbabwe has too much to complain about here. Neither Regis or Shingi are big wickets. Zimbabwe will most likely lose this match because they have dropped a whole bunch of pretty straight forward catches, sitters really. I have only watched probably 30-40 overs of them fielding in this match and I saw them drop at least 5 catches! I really love watching and supporting both of these teams and I have to say that the umpiring has played no role in this match, Bangladesh has simply played far better cricket. Zimbabwe really need Mawoyo back and having Vitori back to full fitness and keeping Price in the frame will help too. If only Tatenda was still around! I could almost cry for Zimbabwean cricket sometimes...

  • Meety on April 28, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    I'm neural & I thought Banga was harder done by in the 1st Test (not enuf to change the result), & are on the wrong end to a heavier effect in ths match too. Hopefully things will even themselves out (usually do).

  • on April 28, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    Very very poor umpiring indeed..unacceptable at this level of cricket

  • Baundele on April 28, 2013, 7:59 GMT

    Tamim gets fined reacting to wrong decision. What does the umpire get making that wrong decision?

  • sfarazi on April 28, 2013, 7:57 GMT

    Yep definitely not a 50/50 situation as Tamim and Ashraful are top order batsmen and they play a huge part in the Bangladeshi team. I think what's making it worse is the fact that no one seems to be taking this match up seriously! In my opinion, any match of test cricket is a hundred times better than IPL. I know IPL is a much shorter format and there's more high voltage action but IPL is just a business whereas test cricket is a real showcase of cricketing talent. Test cricket is cricket's version of 'survival of the fittest' and more and more cricket fans should be watching test cricket :) If people actually watched this match then they would see that both Zimbabwe and Bangladesh have quality players with talent but all they need is some appreciation and viewership from international audiences.

  • SayemAK on April 28, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    The Umpires gave 4 wrong decision and consolation is each team has got 2. Bangladesh lost 2 top order batsman like Tamim and Ashraful, and Zim got 1 top order batsman Chakabva and tail ender Shingi Masakadza...So it cant be treat as a consolation. The magnitude was different. Bangladesh was highly affected by those wrong decisions.

  • on April 28, 2013, 3:40 GMT

    Two lower order of Zim cannot be equivalent to two higher order batsman of BD

  • on April 28, 2013, 3:37 GMT

    accuracy - its got to be 4 out of 25, that increases to approx. 16%

  • SapnerJadukar on April 28, 2013, 3:18 GMT

    Tamim and Ashraful's out could cost the match and umpires should be fine heavily here and not to give any international match in future.

  • schumanth007 on April 28, 2013, 1:19 GMT

    According to Test Playing Conditions given on ICC official site, The ICC mandates the Broadcaster to use at least 9 cameras for the basic broadcast and the replays from 6 of them can be used by the Third umpire. So, i don't think Supersport has done anything wrong. Using sub-standard cameras can be said to be an offence and disrepectful to the game.

  • on April 28, 2013, 1:11 GMT

    i dont understand y this mr.isam does not report on every bd matches????bcoz everytime bd get some decisions which go against them.....i cant give u at least 20 examples....and y bd always get these 2nd class umpires?and y d players can't even protest against d wrong decision?which can cost d match??

  • on April 28, 2013, 0:42 GMT

    umpires are not taking serouse bcoz this bd vs zim

  • Chris_P on April 28, 2013, 0:35 GMT

    @Sajjo Jsq. You go by the umpire's decision, right or wrong. You cannot show dissent or you risk getting fined or worse, it is very simple to understand. He showed dissent, ergo he got fined. If he wants to umpire, then he should go ahead & get hos ticket & start umpiring. Apparently he thinks he will get all decisions correct as well.

  • cricfreeeeeak on April 28, 2013, 0:25 GMT

    Seriously you can't say this fifty fifty. With due respect to Chakava and Shingi had not the ability to change the game. But Tamim and Ashraful are two of the Bangladesh's best batsman. Though they are inconsistant, they can win a game single-handedly . Those decisions hurt Bangladesh most. It could cost them the match.

  • Mitcher on April 27, 2013, 23:45 GMT

    Poor umpiring; poor cricket. A match made in heaven.

  • cricfan66 on April 27, 2013, 23:30 GMT

    Thank you for finally writing this long overdue article. Sad that Tamim is fined, seems very unfair BUT Tamim should have just walked despite the wrong decision and then the team management should have lodged a complaint against the decision. ICC should impose a fine/penalty on the umpires for poor decisions! This is not the first time we see poor decisions from umpires against Bangladesh. Tamim is a huge wicket and a poor decision costs the team beyond repair. Surprised to see the consistency in the poor decisions against both Zim and BD. Its as though the umpires want to make amends for their earlier poor decisions to balance them out. DRS should be mandatory in this day and age. ICC should fund test playing nations if they are cash strapped. They can always work out a deferred payment schedule.

  • TheDoctor394 on April 27, 2013, 21:45 GMT

    Bad Tamim. You acted like a human being.

  • on April 27, 2013, 21:17 GMT

    how can a player still be fined even when replays show he had a bad decision???

  • on April 27, 2013, 20:34 GMT

    Here we go... At least we have a report about bad umpiring for Bangladesh series when Mr. Isam got a 50/50 way after both sides got 2 wrong decisions each. Why not every time we are getting this kind of report when Bangladesh gets wrong decisions match after match????

  • dulabhai on April 27, 2013, 19:34 GMT

    If the players are fined the umpires should be fined as well for making wrong decisions. The umpiring is so poor in this test.. this is just unacceptable...

  • AzAb12754 on April 27, 2013, 19:33 GMT

    Umpiring not just in this series but in the last year or so has been pretty poor. I remember last month when Zimbabwe played West Indies in an ODI game and one of the players Sarwan was run out early on but the umpire didn't report it to the third umpire and later in that match, Sarwan scored a 100 which cost Zimbabwe the match simply because of umpires not doing their job properly.

  • The_Ashes on April 27, 2013, 19:27 GMT

    Its funny when Tamim gets punished for an error the umpire made. I don't blame his reaction when that silly decision was made, it was clearly wrong and could cost Bangladesh the match.

  • on April 27, 2013, 19:21 GMT

    Umpires are not taking the game seriously thats the reason

  • on April 27, 2013, 19:21 GMT

    Umpires are not taking the game seriously thats the reason

  • The_Ashes on April 27, 2013, 19:27 GMT

    Its funny when Tamim gets punished for an error the umpire made. I don't blame his reaction when that silly decision was made, it was clearly wrong and could cost Bangladesh the match.

  • AzAb12754 on April 27, 2013, 19:33 GMT

    Umpiring not just in this series but in the last year or so has been pretty poor. I remember last month when Zimbabwe played West Indies in an ODI game and one of the players Sarwan was run out early on but the umpire didn't report it to the third umpire and later in that match, Sarwan scored a 100 which cost Zimbabwe the match simply because of umpires not doing their job properly.

  • dulabhai on April 27, 2013, 19:34 GMT

    If the players are fined the umpires should be fined as well for making wrong decisions. The umpiring is so poor in this test.. this is just unacceptable...

  • on April 27, 2013, 20:34 GMT

    Here we go... At least we have a report about bad umpiring for Bangladesh series when Mr. Isam got a 50/50 way after both sides got 2 wrong decisions each. Why not every time we are getting this kind of report when Bangladesh gets wrong decisions match after match????

  • on April 27, 2013, 21:17 GMT

    how can a player still be fined even when replays show he had a bad decision???

  • TheDoctor394 on April 27, 2013, 21:45 GMT

    Bad Tamim. You acted like a human being.

  • cricfan66 on April 27, 2013, 23:30 GMT

    Thank you for finally writing this long overdue article. Sad that Tamim is fined, seems very unfair BUT Tamim should have just walked despite the wrong decision and then the team management should have lodged a complaint against the decision. ICC should impose a fine/penalty on the umpires for poor decisions! This is not the first time we see poor decisions from umpires against Bangladesh. Tamim is a huge wicket and a poor decision costs the team beyond repair. Surprised to see the consistency in the poor decisions against both Zim and BD. Its as though the umpires want to make amends for their earlier poor decisions to balance them out. DRS should be mandatory in this day and age. ICC should fund test playing nations if they are cash strapped. They can always work out a deferred payment schedule.

  • Mitcher on April 27, 2013, 23:45 GMT

    Poor umpiring; poor cricket. A match made in heaven.

  • cricfreeeeeak on April 28, 2013, 0:25 GMT

    Seriously you can't say this fifty fifty. With due respect to Chakava and Shingi had not the ability to change the game. But Tamim and Ashraful are two of the Bangladesh's best batsman. Though they are inconsistant, they can win a game single-handedly . Those decisions hurt Bangladesh most. It could cost them the match.