The umpiring standards of the current India Vs West Indies matches are something of a benchmark of the slide in the standards that are lately plaguing the game. Billy Doctrove was more than once guilty of lapses. So is Asad Rauf. Let’s see two glaring mistakes they committed during this series.
Where are you buddy? Asad Rauf.
The second One-day International at Sabina Park, Jamaica. 9th over of West Indies Innings. Irfan Pathan bowls to Sarwan. He pushes on to the onside and goes for a quick single. Suresh Raina, who was fielding there collects the ball and throw down the stumps. Everyone turns to the Square Leg umpire to appeal, but, Umpire was not in his position. He was talking to someone on the boundary Line. The other Umpire, Asad Rauf, permitted to play without checking his counterpart is in position.
To decide or not to decide…
4th Day of 1st test between India & WI. Indian Keeper MS Dhoni’s swashbuckling stroke play left WI gasping for breath. After hitting three consecutive sixes off Mohammed, he went for another one. The skier went to Ganga who took a catch at the boundary line and Dhoni started walking. But Asad Rauf (Yes Him Again!!) stopped him and consulted the other field umpire, Simon Taufel. They referred it to Third Umpire. The Third Umpire, Billy Doctrov (Yep, it’s him), took some 10 minutes, since the TV replays were inconclusive. The question is whether Ganga touched the rope while taking the catch. In normal circumstances, the benefit of doubt is given the Batsman. But, strangely, Doctrov didn’t make a decision and gave the stick back to field umpires. This resulted in chaos, utter confusion and WI captain, Lara’s childish behavior.
Technology Vs Humans?
So is technology helping the umpires? Or it prevents them from taking a decision? Are these umpires being too indecisive, fearing backlashes in the event of a wrong decision? Remember the days of David Shepherd and Steve Bucknor. Those guys stood in the middle of some hostile crowd, yet they took decision which was not in favor of the home team. Now that is what called umpiring. In this series there are too many mistakes. Wrong Lbws when the ball kissed the bat, genuine outs were not given, no balls not called too many of them to be an occasional lapse. The ICC should look into the quality of the elite panel umpires.
Umpiring is all about taking the right decision, not appeasing the home team. If that’s the case, then how can one explain the decision to let off Brian Lara, who snatched the ball from umpire Asad Rauf, and ordered his players to field, though the umpires haven’t reached a decision? Virender Sehwag fined 20% of his mathc fee for excessive appealing. Jayawardhene of Sri Lanka, fined 20% for knocking off the stumps for getting out off a widish delivery. He was showing dissent to himself. Not to any official. Here, one of the prominent player of Cricket, wagging fingers at umpires, snatches the ball and bringing the game to disrepute, yet escapes without even a warning! Need anymore examples of bias?
A few years back, when Sachin Tendulkar, a god in this part of the world, was cleaning dirt from the seam of a ball and he was fined heavily by the match referee. Now Lara’s antics aren’t a serious charge? When Akhtar bowls 150+ Kmph missiles, it’s chucking. But When Bret Lee is doing it, its fast bowling. When Harbhajan & Muralitharan bowls mystic doosras, their arms are bending more than the permissible limit. But when an Australian or English player does it, they change the Law to admit them. This despite the fact that 80% of the total revenue of ICC is generated from Asia.
Read this together with Steve Bucknor’s allegations that the Production Crew doctor footage and the third umpire not always get the correct delivery footage. He, from the beginning, was not at all happy with the advent of technology into the jurisdiction of Umpires. This kind of incidents further underlines the need of the maximum use of human brain. Anyway, our brain is more powerful than any other computer, our eyes are more fast (fast lens means more power to gather light) than any sophisticated lens then why should we needlessly depend on technology? Before the advent of Computers, anyone can do a simple math in their mind. Now even for calculating the total of your vegetable purchase, one takes out the calculator. Technology helps, but not always.