"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:
- Don't even appeal: For anything. Not for bloody obvious bowleds, catches, stumpings, run outs etc.
- Appeal for everything: For bowleds, skied catches, stumpings/run outs with the batsman half-way down the pitch, etc.
Labels: australia, benson, bucknor, chandra, clarke, ind v aus 2008, india, sydney 2008, umpires, walking