Life as a cricket umpire has been tough in recent times. With every umpiring decision being scrutinised, courtesy technology, umpires cannot escape the wrath of fans and players who, unlike them, enjoy the benefit of replays from all angles. The addition of DRS and drone-cameras have only added to the woes of umpires, who are now being trolled and called-out for every small mistake, let alone big howlers. Reports from the recently concluded Australia vs Pakistan Test match revealed that as many as 21 no-balls went unnoticed by the on-field umpires. Meanwhile, in another instance of horrendous umpiring, an umpire not only turned down an LBW appeal but also shockingly called it wide, which resulted in the players breaking out into laughter. Simon Taufel’s Statement on Umpiring Blunder During CWC 2019 Final.
The video of which has since gone viral on social media, showing the batsman being clearly hit on the pads while attempting a reverse-hit. The fielding team, including the bowler, immediately appealed for an LBW (leg before wicket) in unison. But in a shocker, the umpire not only turned down the appeal (deeming it not-out) but also called the delivery a “wide.” While his decision of turning down the appeal for LBW was understandable – given the ball might have as well missed the stumps – calling it a wide, despite the ball hitting the pads was certainly a whammy. The video from the incident clearly shows that the ball had hit the pads before running away behind the stumps.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) November 25, 2019
While the fielding team was disappointed after their appeal for LBW was turned down, the umpire’s decision to call it wide left them shocked. The players immediately broke out into laughter while some covered their faces in disbelief. Even the batsmen, including the batter who was hit on the pads, also couldn’t hold back their smiles at such a horrendous decision. The batsman could be later seen telling the umpire that the ball had indeed hit his pads and that it was not wide.
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LBW and wide calls top cricket fans and players' list of grouses. Many have been left unsatisfied by the standards of umpiring in recent times. Just last season, Indian umpire S Ravi missed out on calling a huge “no ball” after Lasith Malinga over-stepped during the Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore match in 2018 Indian Premier League. This was in the final delivery of the match when Bangalore needed six runs to win from one delivery and had AB de Villiers at the non-striker’s end. RCB eventually lost the game and their captain Virat Kohli heavily criticised the umpiring standards in the tournament.
As a result, the IPL governing council decided to add one more TV umpire, who would check no balls, for the upcoming edition of the Twenty20 tournament. The ICC had also decided to hand-over the responsibility of checking front-foot no balls to the third umpire. The move would be the first experimented during the India vs West Indies T20I series.