What about the umpires and umpiring?


Mark Benson and Steve Bucknor’s umpiring in the game has the covered the spectrum of honest mistakes, incompetency to deliberate intent. Wherein lies the truth? While, the Harbhajan episode takes its toll on the game, the umpiring issue should not die a natural death especially if the latter two causes are probable or likely. There seems to be bunch of ancedotal and material evidence floating on the web that Steve Bucknor may have strong prejudices against the Indian team. If that is case, why cannot it be investigated. Past cricketers seem to have raised Bucknor’s integrity/intelligence time and again. Isn’t that enough evidence to investigate.  I believe deliberate intent to harm the course of the game is as serious a crime as match fixing and should not be tolerated. I am sure there is enough video footage to prove Mark Benson’s incompetency. How does the ICC propose to deal with incompetencies? Incompetent cricketers face their outcomes by getting dropped from sides. What about umpires? Is the ICC telling us that all they are having great difficulties in producing elite umpires that they have to hold on some of these idiots? Hell, we are producing Phds dime a dozen, is it that difficult produce an honest quality umpire?

While we spend time on discussing dealing with, in the overall scheme of things, petty issues like over rates to death, pathetic umpiring seems to be passed over as “acceptable”.  Where does the ICC stand on this?

– Srikanth

P.S: Does anyone know what corporate India intends to do with the contracts signed with Aussie cricketers?

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17 responses to “What about the umpires and umpiring?

  1. Excellent point Srikanth: I feel that the transparency officials is the greatest challenge and treat to professional sport.

    As John McEnroe is alleged to have said to a lines judges – “I train for hours each day. What do you do?”

    The administrators of any game, with aspirations of administering a global game, with a professional playing element must ensure that officials are as good as the players they officiate. and that the process of appointment and certification is as open as possible.

    I remember the contraversies when NZ started playing Australia in one-day matches in the 70’s and 80’s. things got so bad that the NZ prime minister actually said ‘that it is appropriate that Australia wore yellow’!

    In the abscemce of the ICC doing something, maybe fans can do something. Enough people watch each delivery to provide a fairly unbaised set of adjudicators – use the Internet to provide a ratings system for cricket umpires.

  2. If Steve Bucknor is really biased against India, BCCI should have asked for a change before the series. Now in the middle of the series, it becomes difficult, since if a team that does not get the calls, will ask for replacement.

    I am puzzled that the third umpire watching TV replays ruled Symonds was not out for the stumping. He should be fired from his job. On field umpires atleast are under pressure.

    I remember in a recent Aus – WI series, Brian Lara was dismissed 3 times, by faulty decisions.

    Bob Woolmer was one of the best observers of the game and if he felt that umpiring decisions favoured Australia there is an something to that.

    In the 1980s, when Dennis Lillee did not get the umpiring calls in Pakistan tour, he threatened to walk out.

  3. I dont know what corporate India plans on doing with the lucrative contracts Aussie players have signed with a variety of Indian firms.

    I can tell you that there will be serious repercussions if they continue to use Aussies as endorses. It will be interesting to see how they react, I am hoping that all Aussies are dropped from their contracts.

    In fact, India should seriously consider a temporary dissolution of cricketing contact between the two countries. It wont hurt India’s pocketbook much but it will really pinch the Aussies.

    Hit em where it hurts.

  4. There is no doubt that the umpires are over worked. As I had mentioned earlier, why not dispense with the leg umpire, who is redundant. There can still be two umpires alternating between sessions.

  5. How the wheel turns. I certainly remember many, many decisions going against the aussies, in tours of India in the past.

    I agree that the Indian team got the rough end of the stick in the SCG test match, but to suggest that the umpires deliberately set out to rob India is ridiculous.

    The umpires made some terrible decisions that influenced the outcome of the match. They should have to face the consequences of that and be stood down. But really, what’s new? This has happened before and will happen again. Like I said look back to some of the tours of India.

    I don’t like the way that Ponting had a sook to the match referee and reported Harbhajan. I can tell you that most Aussie cricket fans do not like it either. There is a poll on the Age newspaper website and 77% of voters were against it.

  6. David,

    Two wrongs don’t make a right!

  7. Palambrugge,

    If the umpires are overworked, get more umpires. But if the umpires are incompetent or deliberately negligent, develop a mechanism to deal with it. Don’t sit on it and accept it as part of the beauty of the game or some crap like that…Remember, sometimes players livelihoods may be dictated by umpiring decisions.

  8. @ David

    If two wrongs did indeed make a right, Indians could claim rights to indulge in racist abuse for the next two centuries. Having said that, I am not saying that they should indulge in racism just because Indians may have been at the receiving end in days gone by.

    India has had genuine concerns with Steve Bucknor. And this is not just today. India raised concerns initially in 1992! Harsha Bhogle comments about this in his ABC Interview this morning. I am not sure what it is, but he has this “thing” against the Indian team.

  9. Mohankaus,

    Could you please explain what you mean by

    “I am not saying that they should indulge in racism just because Indians may have been at the receiving end in days gone by”

    Is this really what the issue is all about? If so, I would like to understand your comment.

  10. @ David

    This association with Bucknor and Indian cricket goes way beyond his shocking decisions against India — not least, his efforts in the 2003 instalment of the SCG Aus v Ind Test match (Steve Waugh’s last Test). It goes way beyond his school-teacher-like reprimand of Parthiv Patels’ appeals on that day. It goes way beyond his mocking of Rahul Dravid, a match after Rahul Dravid has chewing gum stuck on one side of the cricket ball — something for which he was exonerated! There is something going on there that we do not quite know.

  11. ICC insists on appointing Steve Bucknor as one of the umpires for the Perth Test.
    A fool is one who tries the same thing twice expecting different results.

  12. Steve Bukcnor refused to ask for the third umpire when India had SA at about 100/5 and Jonty Rhodes was caught out of his crease back in 1992. This was the first test match that 3rd umpires were being tested. In the very next game, he called for the third umpire when Sachin was similarly out of his crease and as we all know, Sachin was the first batsman to be given out by the third umpire.

    Starting from this incident, Bucknor has been involved in numerous decisions against India and this issue is not coming to the fore only after this game – Indians have been talking about Bucknor for almost 8 years now. In a recent test match between India and Pakistan (a couple of years back), Bucknor declared Sachin out caught behind even when the wicket-keeper did not appeal with the bat far far away from the bat.

    I wish somebody would collect Bucknor’s decision against Sachin over teh years and post it online.

  13. I am not defending Bucknor. No one can. This incompetent umpire’s misdeeds are now well documented for any repetition. What all I am saying is that even the best of umpires can and will go wrong because of mental fatigue arising from overwork.

  14. Smangalam, Mohankaus

    Fair point guys. You are of course right when you say that two wrongs don’t make a right.

    I guess my main point was that it’s not the first, nor will it be the last time that umpiring decisions have influenced the course of a match. To be honest I was unaware of this supposed issue between Bucknor and the Indian cricket team.

    I can understand the anger at the level of umpiring displayed, but I cannot see why so much anger has been directed towards the Australian cricket team.

  15. Palambrugge,

    If you really had meant what you said, you would not have made a comment on another thread calling Indians as cry babies and asking to carry on with the game and win at Perth and Adelaide.

  16. Please, can someone explain to me, Australia is a tiny nation of around 20 million, substantially less than the population of our cricketing rivals, (excepting New Zealand and (maybe)the West Indies). Cricket is quite popular in Australia, however there are other sports that share equal or greater popularity. The ACB is not in the same revenue league as English, Indian, Pakistan etc cricket. How is it that Australia can dominate the game, Bully all these other greater cricketing nations teams, and apparently adopt umpires to their cause? Please explain this to me, is it perhaps some form of affirmative action?

  17. Srikanth, RE:

    “P.S: Does anyone know what corporate India intends to do with the contracts signed with Aussie cricketers?”
    Way back in the eighties, Australia invested money in sports academy’s and not call centers and that is why it takes a quality player, of the Hussey ilk, 30+ years to get a game in the first eleven in this country, when he would have a walk up start anywhere else in the cricket playing world.

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