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Old March 22, 2010, 03:43 AM
1137moiz 1137moiz is offline
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Default Dodgy decisions leave Tigers in a tailspin

Salam mates, I'm a Pakistan fan but I also support Bangladesh. The umpiring in this series has been terrible and I wrote this article about it, please comment

Dodgy decisions leaves Tigers in a tailspin
by Ibrahim Moiz on March 22, 2010 at 3:28 am
Say what you like about that favourite old foe of every formerly colonized country, but many of the British do retain an aspect of fair play. It’s not an exclusive or national trait, of course–but for a nation that is constantly demonized for pomposity and one-eyed arrogance, England do have a refreshing number of fair-minded, unbiased spokesmen.

Michael Atherton, the former opener, and Bob Willis, an old paceman, are two such Brits. Atherton is a widely respected, thoroughly decent analyst who remains as objective as he can in his commentary, while Willis’ dreary, funereal and unfortunately unpopular tones belie an earnest honesty and keen eye during his own stints on air. Commentating during Bangladesh’s second Test against England at Dhaka, neither held back from criticizing the poor umpiring that left Bangladesh sweating as England slowly but surely approached their first-innings 419 on the third afternoon.

Not, of course, that the umpiring gaffes were difficult to spot. Whippy left-arm seamer Rubel Hossain was particularly unfortunate in this regard. Having trapped Kevin Pietersen (45) yesterday only to have the appeal turned down, he then reverse-swung a plumb lbw into Matt Prior this morning. Everybody except the umpire realized it was out, and Prior went on to flash a fluent, momentum-seizing 62. Ian Bell, en route to an otherwise magnificent century, was caught in the crease by an otherwise wayward Abdur Razzak, but a half-hearted appeal went ignored, leaving coach Jamie Siddons fuming. Shakib al Hasan, too, should have had lower-order batsman Tim Bresnan early, but yet another lbw call went against the hosts. Nor was it a one-off incident–the entire tour has featured a disproportionate number of decisions against Bangladesh, including a crucial one against matchwinning centurion Eoin Morgan in the second one-day, and although Bangladesh didn’t help themselves today with flaccid fielding and curious decisions, the flagging is understandable.

Long gone are the days when home umpires–many of them, lest we forget, in the subcontinent–gleefully and with perceived unaccountability added themselves as unofficial members of the home side. The concept of neutral, and third umpires has meant that poor decisions are almost certainly diminished from the old days, and yet, unforgivingly for the unfortunates in the middle, that very rareness provokes even more outrage for the gaffes.

Why, Atherton wondered, did umpiring decisions tend to favour the stronger side? Admittedly, the umpire’s job is a difficult one, only to be exacerbated by the humid conditions of Bangladesh, but the ratio that has favoured not only England on this tour but weaker sides in general (read a myriad tours of Australia, among others) is too heavy to simply put down to bad conditions. The matter is only worsened considering that weak sides often have less close appealing opportunities as well, making gaffes far more damaging than they would be in the stronger team’s favour.

Is there an unconscious tendency to take the side of the apparently more “probable winner” in the round? After all, no matter how hard one tries to keep focus, natural human fallibility means that the senses occasionally lapse. Consider yourself an umpire in steaming Dhaka, surrounded by a roaring crowd (the Bangladesh Test crowds are refreshingly large and boisterous) and beset by a myriad of appeals, not all of them particularly close. The mind is likely to wander, the eyelids likely to droop. Suddenly another appeal comes your way; in a brief stupor, you’ve altogether missed it, and shake your head, unaware, at best only half-aware, that it was almost certainly out. Even the best umpires, like Simon Taufel, Ian Gould and Aleem Dar, occasionally make mistakes.

It’s certainly not intentional, and yet it begs the question why TV umpiring is not used more often. Of course, that’s no guarantee, as a chastened Mark Benson will testify. In the end, there will be mistakes, some more costly than others.

The concern is that so many of them favour a particular side.

blog.cricdb.com/archives/46

this is on blog.cricdb.com
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