Umpiring in international cricket has been embarrassing over the last several months. Starting from the Indian Premier League and the World Cup besides bilateral series, the on-field officials have allowed teams to suffer because of dubious decisions. Even in the most high-profile game in world cricket which is the final of the ICC World Cup, umpiring goof-ups saw New Zealand losing the crown to England. Another moment of umpiring low came in the third Ashes Test at Leeds last Sunday when the umpire turned down a genuine LBW appeal against Ben Stokes to allow England run away with a miraculous win.
It was Joel Wilson who erred in giving the right decision at the climax of the thriller to see the hosts win the match by a wicket. Australia found themselves helpless since they had no review left to challenge Wilson either. His partner Chris Gaffaney from New Zealand did no better as seven of his decisions were overturned during the match. Wilson had eight decisions overturned in the first Test in Edgbaston.
Erasmus, Palliyaguruge in for Wilson, Gaffaney
Wilson and Gaffaney will be replaced by South African Marais Erasmus and Sri Lankan Ruchira Palliyaguruge for the fourth Test starting in Manchester on September 4. Kumar Dharmasena, who also came under criticism for awarding six runs to England in that epic World Cup final owing to a deflected overthrow and not five, will be the third umpire in the game.
Wilson, 52, was elevated to the ICC’s Elite Umpire panel in July. However, he had a tough time officiating the first Ashes Test which also marked the beginning of the two-year-long World Test Championship.
Australia skipper Tim Paine though refused to blame Wilson for his not-out verdict on Stokes even as he disagreed with the latter. Paine himself came under heavy criticism for having exhausted all of Australia’s review calls with former great Ian Chappell even blasting the wicket-keeper as one who had lost his brain.
Stokes, on the other hand, blamed the DRS saying it was “broken” and that the technology got it “completely wrong”. In the first three Ashes Tests, as many as 50 decisions were reviewed out of which 19 were overturned by the TV umpire.
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