String of wrong calls puts pressure on umpires in IPL 2018 

The decision review system (DRS) is in place for the first time this year, but that hasn't prevented the list of embarrassing errors from growing.

Umpires are increasingly under the scanner because of technological innovations

Against Mumbai Indians at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Tom Curran’s legal delivery was adjudged a no-ball by on-field umpire K.N. Ananthapadmanabhan when nearly half his foot was behind the crease.

We saw evidence of some poor umpiring again when Chennai Super Kings pacer Shardul Thakur’s above-waist-height full toss to Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Kane Williamson was not signalled a no-ball by Vineet Kulkarni.

These are just two of the many umpiring howlers that have infested the action in this year’s Indian Premier League, which saw the introduction of the decision review system (DRS) for the first time since the tournament’s inception in 2008.

But that hasn’t prevented the list of embarrassing errors – a seven-ball over, dodgy leg-before and caught-behind decisions – from growing.

READ: Umpiring error gifts Mumbai Indians extra run, free hit

Former international umpire Shavir Tarapore told Sportstar, “To err is human. You have to be strong in your mind and heart. See, when a decision is overturned, it is bound to remain in the back of your mind because that’s the human tendency. But the game must go on. Likewise, there are so many instances when an on-field call stays with the umpire. These things are part and parcel of the game; you just got to take them in the stride and move on.”

Tarapore believes the addition of DRS “has made the game much fairer for everyone.”

“The players have started accepting decisions; they too have the right to challenge an on-field call now. With the game expanding in a manner hitherto unknown, the DRS is proving to be an excellent innovation,” he added.

ALSO READ: Umpiring howlers - the story of the season

B.S. Jaykumar, a level 1 umpire with the Board of Control for Cricket in India, offers a different perspective. “While technology has helped us identify mistakes, it has made us more lethargic also. If everything is carried out by technology, the human element will soon be gone,” he said.

“You see Tendulkar dropping a catch and put it down to him ‘being a human’ whereas you expect an umpire to be 100 per cent error-free. “The umpire also has to cope with technology. For a club umpire who has been promoted to the Karnataka Premier League, it’s quite a leap. In a club match, a dismissal which looked not-out to the naked eye will be out on a big screen in KPL. So, there’s that thing about adaptability as well,” Jaykumar added.

Diverging views:

Tarapore: "DRS has made the game much fairer for everyone. The players have started accepting decisions; they too have the right to challenge an on-field call now. With the game expanding in a manner hitherto unknown, the DRS is proving to be an excellent innovation."Jaykumar: "While technology has helped us identify mistakes, it has made us more lethargic also. If everything is carried out by technology, the human element will soon be gone."

 

Narrating an incident from last year’s T20I series between India and England, he said, “During a T20I between India and England in Nagpur, Joe Root was incorrectly given out in the last over of a chase and India won the match. So England skipper Eoin Morgan lodged a complaint against C. Shamshuddin, who was the on-field umpire at the time.”

“Shamshuddin, in fact, was going to stand for the Bangalore T20 international – it was announced 15 days in advance – along with Anil Chaudhary. But Shamshuddin, in the next match, came to the ground at 5pm, inspected everything and informed both captains about the toss. But at 6 in the evening, he withdrew himself and Nitin Menon umpired that game. This is how the decisions affect you.”

Take the case of former umpire Mark Benson, a member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) elite panel of umpires and twice nominated as ICC Umpire of the Year. 

Benson made history when he became the first international umpire to have a decision overturned – Tillakaratne Dilshan appealed successfully after being given out by Benson in a Test between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo in 2008 – under the DRS.

The 59-year-old had expressed his inhibitions about the “system and its procedures,” which were still in their infancy at the time. But Jaykumar is of the opinion that technology puts an individual’s mental tenacity to the sword. “In a game between India and Australia, Asad Rauf was the umpire. He gave Rahul Dravid out; the next ball, Asad was completely out of the game and the square-leg umpire had to help him regain his focus. So, it ultimately boils down to the personality and whether you’re strong enough to withstand the pressure,” he said.

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