‘No ball’ controversy hits cricket again; umpires under the spotlight
In the recent past, there have been mutterings in the ICC about empowering the third umpire to call out no balls as it would minimize the error quotient.
Published - Dec 23, 2018 1:44 pm | Updated - Jan 6, 2019 5:55 pm
Windies won the match against Bangladesh and in the process sealed the series as well. However, the match was headlined not by the performance of the players, but by few major errors made by the umpires. An incident, which took place in the fourth over of the innings, marred the proceedings as on-field umpire Tanvir Ahmed wrongly called up Oshane Thomas for overstepping. Replays later confirmed that the big fast-bowler had some part of his foot behind the line.
Liton Das tried to play the ball towards the off side, but could only miscue it to mid-off and West Indies wanted to review the on-field decision. However, match referee Jeff Crowe turned down this appeal as he said that the Windies side couldn’t opt for it, as it was confirmed that the delivery wasn’t a no ball only after they had heard from their dressing room.
This happened moments after Tanvir once again called another no ball off Thomas erroneously, off the fifth delivery in the fourth over. Both the free-hits were belted out of the park for sixes.
So what does the rule say?
3.1.1 “A player may request a review of any decision taken by the on-field umpires concerning whether or not a batsman is dismissed, with the exception of ‘Timed Out’ (Player Review)”
3.1.2 “No other decisions made by the umpires are eligible for a Player Review with the exception of Fair Catch/Bump Ball (even after the third umpire has been consulted and the decision communicated)”
A fuming Windies captain Carlos Brathwaite pulled no punches in the post-match presser and nailed home the point that as a captain he had to stand up for his side and make the point across to the umpires that they were in the wrong and his side had to pay the price for their mistakes.
“Sanctions may come and go, but if you don’t stand for something, you fall for everything,” Brathwaite said at the post-match press conference. “If the sanctions are to be handed, I would gladly take it. My team-mates need to be stood up for and as the captain of the ship, I will stand up for them,” he added.
The skipper also informed that he had asked Match Referee Jeff Crowe about the specific rules of the game as far as reviews are concerned since it had to do with Oshane Thomas, a young man who was trying to bolster his career and had to bear the brunt of two dubious decisions.
“Everyone saw that it was not a no-ball,” he said. “For a young man who is inexperienced, Oshane Thomas was under the pump. To finally get a dismissal but the ball has gone to your name as free-hit, to bowl the extra ball with an extra run, obviously it messed his mindset. As captain I had to take fall for the team. I had to make a stance not just for myself or the team but for West Indies cricket.”
In the recent past, there have been mutterings in the ICC about empowering the third umpire to call out no balls as it would minimize the error quotient. Even in the ongoing India-Australia series, the front foot no -balls have been a bone of contention and the umpires have time and again missed out on spotting infringements.
However, there is another school of thought which does not the third umpires to step in as it would impede the flow of the game and Brathwaite took cognizance of this very fact.
“I think the pace of play is important. As teams we often take longer to finish the overs,” he said. “I haven’t given it a serious thought but off the top of my mind, if we check every single ball, it may hamper the pace of play. There must be more strategic ways to do these things.
“I don’t know what all the rules are pertaining to reviews so I don’t want to tell them how to do their job. But it can be looked at. The laws may be put into question after this incident.”
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