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News

Prospect of Chris Broad officiating over son Stuart raises West Indies' concerns

Richie Richardson and Joel Wilson could be flown in to dilute home-official focus for bio-secure series

George Dobell
George Dobell
21-May-2020
The prospect of Chris Broad officiating in a match involving his son, Stuart, could provoke a rethink at the ICC ahead of the resumption of international cricket in England.
The ICC cricket committee recently recommended a suspension in the use of neutral officials to cope with challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic. That means there is a real prospect of the Test series between England and West Indies being officiated by the four English umpires on the ICC's 12 strong elite panel: Nigel Long, Richard Illingworth, Richard Kettleborough and Michael Gough.
But Chris Broad is the only English representative on the ICC's elite panel of seven match referees. And while no one is questioning his impartiality as an official, it is understood there have been some raised eyebrows in the Caribbean at the prospect of the Test series against England taking place, not only with English match officials, but under the auspices of a match referee who is not only a former England player but the father of one of the current side's key players.
One option that is likely to be considered is inviting Richie Richardson, the former West Indies captain, to fulfil the role instead. Richardson is also a member of the ICC's elite panel and could be included on the charter flight paid for by the ECB which will accommodate the West Indies playing squad. Joel Wilson, the Trinidadian, could also be invited along with a view to filling one of the umpiring spots.
It is currently uncertain if Wilson or Richardson would be prepared to leave the relative safety of the Caribbean, where there have been few Covid-19 cases, to embark on a trip that would involve an extended period in isolation.
Another option - and probably the more likely at present - would be to refer any alleged Code of Conduct cases back to ICC Cricket Operations in Dubai. Any subsequent hearings would then be organised through them and run remotely.
The ICC are understood to be continuing to work through the appropriate checks and balances required in order to allow cricket to resume during the pandemic with as few compromises as possible.
Stuart Broad currently has one active demerit point on his ICC record, after been overheard using "inappropriate" language towards South Africa's captain, Faf du Plessis, during the Johannesburg Test in January.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo