England to raise umpiring standards with match referee

Umpire Shamshuddin upheld an lbw decision against Joe Root despite the batsman getting a thick inside edge before the ball rapped into the pads. It came in the first ball of the 20th over and it eventually cost England the game against India.

Joe Root

Joe Root's wicket in the last over proved costly for England in the end.   -  Reuters

As much as the second T20I between England will be remembered for K.L. Rahul’s stunning knock and bowlers from both the sides showing their prowess in challenging conditions, with the dew making the ball wet right through the game, it will also be remembered for a mistake made by umpire C. Shamshuddin which had a severe impact on the outcome of the game.

At the start of the last over, England required eight runs to win. Joe Root, who had anchored the England innings till then, was the key to the visiting side, especially with Jasprit Bumrah posing questions to him and the others consistently during the last over. First ball of the over came in sharply after pitching just short of good length. Root somehow managed to get a thick inside edge before the ball rapped into the pads. To the batsman’s bemusement, Shamshuddin held up the lbw appeal.

Stunned by the decision, England wilted under Bumrah’s onslaught with the ball, scoring just two runs off the last over. “There is extreme frustration, absolutely,” Morgan said, referring to the umpiring mistake. “It shifted momentum. First ball of the 20th over, losing a batsman who’s faced (almost) 40 balls on a wicket that's not that easy to time, it is quite a hammer blow. It’s proved very costly all things considered. A couple of decisions didn’t go our way and we still should have won the game and that’s a big positive for us. That we didn’t is disappointing.”

That wasn’t the only error by Shamshuddin, considered to be one of the better umpires in domestic cricket. In the third over of India’s batting essay, Chris Jordan had found Virat Kohli plumb in front of the wickets but Shamshuddin inexplicably didn’t raise his finger. He even turned down a close lbw shout against Eoin Morgan off Suresh Raina in England’s chase.

Morgan stressed that England will “absolutely” raise the issue of umpiring standards with the match referee. “We have an opportunity to do that before the next game. There’s always feedback given through the match referee on our report,” he said.

Despite S. Ravi’s commendable rise into the ICC Elite Panel of umpires, the overall standard of Indian umpires have been questionable. Even in the recent Irani Cup tie between Ranji Trophy champion Gujarat and Rest of India, umpire Virender Sharma’s howlers made Gujarat captain Parthiv Patel question the appointment of “those who keep committing mistakes” for big games. Hopefully, the BCCI will address the issue on an emergent basis.

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