Ricky Ponting expresses his displeasure over umpire's inability to call front foot no-balls

Ricky Ponting expresses his displeasure over umpire’s inability to call front foot no-balls

The inability of the umpires not calling the front foot no-ball has been a burning topic of discussion in the past few years.

Former Australian Captain Ricky Ponting (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

One of the biggest talking points in world cricket, apart from the fear of the imminent death of Test cricket, is regarding the on-field umpires and their inability to spot a lot of no-balls in the present era. It has been talked to the hilt during the ongoing Test match between Pakistan and Australia at the Gabba in Brisbane.

Rookie fast-bowler Naseem Shah could have got David Warner as his maiden Test wicket on the second day before a reply showing that the bowler had stepped over the line, cut-short his celebrations. That was just one of the 21 uncalled no-balls on the second day of the Gabba Test.

The inability of the umpires not calling the front foot no-ball has been a burning topic of discussion in the past few years. Earlier this year, during an IPL game between the Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore, the official did not call what was a legitimate no-ball from Lasith Malinga; one that served as a crucial moment in the eventual outcome of the game.

Ricky Ponting has his say on the no-ball saga

Former Australian captain and now a commentator, Ricky Ponting has expressed his displeasure at the umpires not spotting a lot of no-balls. Only three no-balls were called on the second day of the Gabba Test where Australia racked up 312 runs in reply to Pakistan’s 240. According to Ponting, this has been a trend for some time now. Punter cited the example of last summer where according to him, Ishant Sharma bowled a plethora of no-balls without being called-up by the on-field officials, and what bothers the former captain is that the umpires aren’t even watching the front line.

“It was exactly the same with the first Test of last summer – Ishant Sharma, I think it was 30-odd for the day or for the innings that he bowled by himself. They’re just not being called. If you look at some of the footage and stuff that we’ve seen today, it’s not like they’re just over the line or on the line. There are some that are four or five inches over the front line; it just goes to show – or it says to me – that the umpires aren’t even looking at the front line.” Ponting was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

This is not the first time that the no-ball issue has racked up in the ongoing Test between Australia and Pakistan. On an opening day, Pakistan wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan was given out when it was clearly evident that Pat Cummins had clearly overstepped the line. Ponting admitted that the umpires do not call a lot of the no-balls, purely because if it turns to not be a no-ball and the batsman is out, the umpires can’t change their decision, but also asserted that 21 incorrect decisions in a day were unacceptable.

‘I understand the reason they’re not calling a lot of them. Obviously, if they call a no-ball and a wicket falls that’s shown not to be a no-ball, they can’t change it. I know they’re under pressure with that and I’m not blaming the umpires at all because if they had it their way, I’m sure they wouldn’t want to be making 21 incorrect decisions a day, which is what they’ve done. I put it to them on air today; I think they’re marked on every decision that they make. A no-ball decision is still a decision. If you look at it that way, they’ve made 21 incorrect decisions today and that’s not good enough, as far as I am concerned,”

In the past, it has been argued that the third umpire should step in whenever he feels that the on-field umpire has missed the no-ball, something Ponting also echoed.

“I’ve said that forever because the cameras are actually set up side-on anyway – they’re set up for stumpings and runout decisions anyway, so the camera’s there. You can’t tell me it’s going to take any amount of time. It will take half a second to have it relayed straight to the on-field umpire. But who knows? I know they’ve tried it. It would be interesting to hear what the umpires’ feedback from it was, but you’d think that would have to make the on-field umpire’s job easier as well if the no-ball front-foot was taken out of their hands.” Ponting said.

It is something that the IPL may implement from the upcoming season where a special umpire would be employed for adjudging the front-foot no-ball.