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ICC Cricket World Cup-2019: When The Umpire Wanted Gayle Out!
The headline above is not an accusation, it is merely an observation based on hard facts. However, this observation reflects poorly on the standards of umpiring in the world’s biggest cricket event. Recently we have seen the ridiculous mistakes of referees in Indian Premiere League-2019. The ICC Cricket World Cup can hardly be compared to the first one and we fervently hope that the standards will improve as it was only the first week of the tournament.
It all happened in the 10th match of ICC Cricket World Cup-2019 at Trent Bridge, England between Australia and West Indies. A toss win for West Indies brought Australia into bat, reducing them to 79 for 5 thanks to fiery spells from Thomas and Cortrell that reminded us of the likes of Malcolm Marshall & Co back in the day, and reluctantly West Indies let it go. allowing the Aussies to pile up 288. Still, it wasn’t an impossible target and the West Indies looked to be cruising well with Hope and Heitmyer driving brilliantly. Again, with the old Caribbean customs dying hard, the batsmen took defeat from victory and preferred to just go for the big shots without any pressure. And they lost by just 15 runs. Now back to our point of interest.
It was only in the third over of the match that Australian pacer Starc appealed for caught behind against Chris Gayle and the umpire upheld it. Gayle was never known to show disrespect or distrust of the umpire in his conspicuously aggressive career and was never one to sulk after adverse decisions. Therefore, when he shook his head indicating that nothing was happening and asked for DRS, it was very believable and genuine. Scrutiny showed that the ball never touched the bat and was actually allowed to rest on the stumps without clearing the bails. Gayle won the DRS. In the same, Starc again appealed for LBW and the umpire immediately upheld it, while this writer, watching live on TV, could clearly see the ball deflecting away from the leg stump. Gayle raised his eyebrows in astonishment and asked for a second DRS. The review showed the ball missing leg stump by a wide margin. Gayle won his second DRS and also opened his breathtaking shots. Maybe some people who mattered were sulking.
Umpire and Starc reunited. The appeal was for LBW, with the umpire immediately raising his finger. This time Gayle looked a bit confused and asked for the third DRS. Again the rating was not lost, but as the ball was in line and appeared to hit the top edge of the off-stump, the umpire’s decision had to be upheld. And Gayle left. He was allowed to score only 20 runs.
And then came the real explosion. Later records showed that the ball before the one that got Gayle out was a big no-ball bounce, but the same umpire never noticed. So the ball that eventually got Gayle out was a free delivery that no batsman could get out of.
The above observations are not intended to take credit away from Starc, who took five wickets thanks to consistent pace, line and length, and Australian captain Finch, who displayed a consummate professional approach that saw West Indies play into their plans.
Other highlights of the first week, on a positive note, included England, Bangladesh and India beating a beleaguered South Africa in their openers, where mention must be made of Bangladesh’s aggression and quality of batting and bowling; West Indies routed Pakistan and then Pakistan beat the hot favorites England displaying precision batting, bowling and fielding and the fact that no one mentioned why England offered the opportunity to bat Pakistan on a platter as the pitch was full of runs and the hosts were full of confidence; a valiant Bangladesh lost a close match to New Zealand and Sri Lanka managed to register their first win over Afghanistan by a narrow margin.
With a league running between the two participants, the ICC Cricket World Cup-2019 promises to be a fierce battle between the nations who uphold their national pride and faith. Each of the ten teams is capable of making history – South Africa and Sri Lanka cannot be written off yet. We just hope that no cricketer will suffer like Chris Gayle in the exciting days of the tournament ahead. India have big matches against Australia on June 9, New Zealand on June 13 and the last against Pakistan on June 16.
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