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The respect for umpires is gone

  • Published at 09:19 pm December 24th, 2018
Brathwaite
The West Indies' Carlos Brathwaite calls for a review during their third T20I against Bangladesh in Mirpur Saturday Dhaka Tribune/Md Manik

What needs to be done is try to find out why such errors happened, and how the quality of the umpiring reached a level where it had to be scrutinised to the point of being called a controversy, and a turning point in the series-deciding match

What happened during the third T20I between Bangladesh and the West Indies in Mirpur when the umpire Tanvir Ahmed got two back-to-back deliveries called “no balls” even though replays showed otherwise can raise many questions. 

Everyone has varying responses and explanations for it, including calling the umpire corrupt, to sarcastic remarks of him being too patriotic, and in the month of victory, letting his patriotism get in the way of being neutral. 

What needs to be done though is try to find out why such errors happened, and how the quality of the umpiring reached a level where it had to be scrutinised to the point of being called a controversy, and a turning point in the series-deciding match.

The faults within the first-class system have been brought up where the cash rich clubs have always gotten the priority from the umpires as far as decisions go, but that couldn’t have made its way to an international match, could it? 

What many can find suspicious is how all three umpires were Bangladeshi, and how none of them seemed certain about the rules when the West Indies captain Carlos Brathwaite wanted to go for a review after seeing the replay in the giant screen, and then the umpire give Liton Das out.

The decision yet again had to be overturned with match referee Jeff Crowe coming in to explain the rules as a no-ball call could not have been reviewed after the Windies players wanted to review it after seeing a replay in the giant screen, and the 15-second time allowed to take a review had also passed.

It was chaos and the umpires were under the scanner. 

Brathwaite said after the match that all the 50-50 decisions went against them, and the umpire in question Tanvir also admitted later that it was human error that lead to the decisions. 

"In terms of a no-ball, there is always the issue of the foot and the line being close to each other. And if the bowler jumps quickly, there are occasions when it is difficult to spot it. I am new to international cricket, I made a mistake. If you look at my past, I don't have a bad history. It was one mistake. Inshallah, I will come back well. Every person has good days and bad days. I had a bad day. The match just ended. I am not focusing on anything else. I am thinking about my mistake,” explained Tanvir.

A closer look and query into the matter revealed that Tanvir is one of the most highly-rated umpires in the domestic circuit, as a result of which he got to make his debut in international umpiring through the recently concluded T20I series. 

We have fans that are always blaming the ICC or a more cash-rich and influential cricket board such as the BCCI when 50-50 decisions go against us as we have seen in the Asia Cup final this year, but it’s time we took a look at our system and the level of umpiring we have here.

Cricket, for the purists and traditionalists would always put the decision of the umpire above everything and that came from respecting the umpire as it is, as we all know, called the gentleman’s game. 

But with technology becoming more and more advanced, and with the human errors being more scrutinised, that respect has gradually diminished. 

So much so, that a Decision Review System has now been in place where players can challenge the umpiring human error. 

While that may lead to better and fairer decisions than ever before, the respect for the umpires in the game has dissipated to non-existence.

Perhaps it’s time that the BCB starts to focus on improving the umpiring in the domestic circuit, so that such blatant errors don’t happen it in future. 

Gone are the days of David Shepherd, Simon Taufel and Rudi Koertzen and with that, gone are the glory days for the umpires as well. 

That’s not to say that there weren’t umpiring errors before. 

There were the likes of Asoka de Silva that made headlines due to contentious decisions against Bangladesh in the Multan Test, but back then in 2003, there was no DRS or ball-tracking technology.

We live in an era where T20 and franchise cricket plays a big part in the game. 

And with more money, questions have been raised about the authenticity of the results with betting and gambling becoming more prevalent. 

There is a general lack of trust about which game is fixed, which has spot fixing, and which is not and the last things this game during such a fickle phase needs is poor quality umpiring.  

It might sound radical now, but we probably are not too far away from seeing the role of the on field umpires being completely taken away from the game and the entire thing being done by the third umpire.