The Umpire’s call segment of cricket has time and again, ignited a lot of heated debates and controversies. It primarily uplifts the status of the on-field umpires as their decision is of paramount importance. The Umpire’s call states that, if in a case of benefit of doubt, the umpire’s decision stands. The Umpire’s call which was introduced in 2016 has been a harbinger of controversies. The recent most addition to the list of controversies took place in the second Test match between India and England.
Team India's review incident in second Test
Joe Root while playing against left-arm spinner Axar Patel, missed the ball and it went on to hit his inner pads. It was dead-out but ICC elite panel umpire, Nitin Menon declared it not out. Team India along with their skipper Virat Kohli went upstairs for the review. All the factors were red except the fact that the ball tracker showed that the ball was going to hit the middle stump initially. This meant that more than 50% of the ball hit the outside zone of the impact. Thus, the third umpire stuck with Nitin Menon’s decision. This sparked a surprise and uneasiness among the Indian players. Virat Kohli was involved in a heated and animated conversation with Menon post this delivery.
The Umpire’s call rule also states that the reviewing team shall not lose their review. Matches during these extraordinary times have local umpires (along with the presence of 1 umpire of the ICC Elite panel). Each team has 3 reviews under their belt.
MCC to present a variety of opinions to the ICC Cricket Committee
The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the primary custodian of cricket laws, met on Monday. One of the agendas of their meeting was the ban of Umpire’s call. The much-famed MCC is headed by Mike Gatting and consists of former stalwarts of the game like Sourav Ganguly, Ricky Ponting and Kumar Sangakkara. However, a lot of the members of the MCC were happy with the umpire’s call and specified that the human element of the game should be preserved. Technology has been enveloping us quite rapidly and in such advanced times, a tinge of human element would do good.
“The committee debated the use of ‘Umpire’s Call’ for LBW decisions made via the Decision Review System, which some members felt was confusing to the watching public, particularly when the same ball could either be Out or Not Out depending on the on-field umpire’s original decision. They felt it would be simpler if the original decision was disregarded on review, and that there was a simple Out or Not out, with no Umpire’s Call,” said the MCC in their released statement.