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    January 06, 2008

    "I know he's bowled, but is he out?"

    There's this apocryphal story of BS Chandrasekhar getting frustrated with the umpiring on a tour (there're many accounts of this tale, with the umpire nationality varying from Australian to English to Kiwi). He had 4-5 plumb lbws turned down. Then he clean bowled the batsman and appealed "Howzzaaaat?" The umpire was surprised and told him the batsman was bowled. Chandra apparently replied "I know he's bowled, but is he out?"

    Seeing the umpiring standards at the Sydney test, I'm fairly sure bowlers will start asking similar questions. Ricky Ponting was first wrongly given not out (caught down the legside). Then he was wrongly given out lbw (inside edge). Andrew Symonds was wrongly given not out (caught behind off a thick outside edge). Some time later, he again benefitted by the third umpire getting a stumping decision wrong. After he was well past 100, Steve Bucknor didn't even refer a stumping appeal to the third umpire, despite there being considerable doubt on if he did have his foot grounded behind the line.

    I don't recall any shocker during India's first innings, but today, Hussey was not given out caught when he'd obviously edged the ball down legside. But what took the biscuit was Michael Clarke's reaction after he'd so obviously edged Kumble to Dravid at slip. Clarke was, in Hayden's words, waiting for the umpire's finger to go up.

    To me, this is as damning an indictment of the quality of umpiring in this test as it can get. A batsman lingers around at the crease after edging to first slip, because he hopes that the umpire will get another decision wrong. Chances are he'd hope for a favourable decision even if he'd hit one to mid-wicket or got bowled.

    I won't blame Clarke for it at all. He is well within his rights to stand his ground since it is the bowling team's right/duty to appeal and the umpire's duty to give the decision.

    More technology is possibly one solution. Better umpires is usually a better solution. The third umpire, with the TV replays at his disposal, got Symonds' stumping wrong. So technology clearly wouldn't have helped.

    Umpiring standards has been a pet theme in this blog. As pointed out earlier here, Steve Bucknor has been poor for a while now and Mark Benson didn't even know that a ball which hit the fielding team helmet placed on the ground was not a dead ball!

    Bucknor isn't quite done with this series though! He's scheduled to follow both teams to Perth.

    I can think of two extreme ways to register a protest against poor umpiring:

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 1:56 AM |
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    6 sledge(s):

    We know that technology is going to take foreve to play a role in umpiring decisions.
    Now at least we know that 16 consecutive wins does not really mean 16 consecutive wins :-) Its part of history now. This will ever be remembered.

    By Blogger Barathi (06-Jan-2008, 2:14:00 PM)  

    Gentlemen, we have been right royally screwed by the umpires.

    By Blogger Ottayan (06-Jan-2008, 3:04:00 PM)  

    It seems Ponting was too desperate to win the 16th match. so was the australian board it seems as they have yet to say a thing about the wrong umpiring. who is the chief of the ICC at the moment ?
    Malcolm Speed if i am not forgetting he is very much an australian
    "maiite ".
    As for Symonds he is too hung up on his "looks" LOL.

    By Blogger k (06-Jan-2008, 6:06:00 PM)  

    "I know he's bowled, but is he out"
    Oh man, that doozy just gets funnier with time, one of the best.

    What can you say about the "umps", 3 blind mice. The thing is it happens in all sports, around the world. And it just gets worse instead of better. Even the NBA which improved a lot in recent years, had a case where a ref was shown to be a gambler and made bets in games he was involved in. The system needs to be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up!!

    By Blogger Daniel @ Garanhuns (06-Jan-2008, 7:58:00 PM)  

    India were certainly very harshly dealt with in this match. The Symonds and Dravid decisions were enough to change the result.

    But there seems to be a serious double standard at work here, judging by the criticism Australians come under whenever this happens to us and we dare complain or mention an un-just decision, and what now passes for acceptable from pages like this and Kumble's reaction.

    Don't forget, even after the favourable decisions, the best side in the world still won, and India lost their other 9 wickets (Dravid aside), in effectively two sessions!

    By Blogger Stu (07-Jan-2008, 4:47:00 AM)  

    stu, even the best side in the world needed men from england and westindies to get their 16th win. its a shame for australia to win in such a way.

    definitely, india is a side that even the best team fear. no one might ever accept this fact.

    i know india is capable of losing ridiculously, but this time, they were done in by blindson and blindnor!

    By Blogger Ganesh (07-Jan-2008, 2:18:00 PM)  


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