Improve umpiring standards: Dhoni

In Ahmedabad, on the eve of the first Test, the Indian captain had urged the umpires to ‘step up and do as well as possible’. On Thursday, he was even more damning and forthright, saying the standard of umpiring needed to be improved.

So upset with the standards are the Indians that, for the first time, Dhoni conceded that India might be forced to agree to the use of the Umpire Decision Review System if umpiring errors weren’t minimised.

The provocation for this outburst came following the events of the first Test, when a clear nick by Kane Williamson, then 56 out of 263 for four, was overlooked by Kumar Dharmasena. Then, on day five, Aussie Steve Davis came up with two howlers off successive deliveries, missing clear inside-edges and handing out leg before decisions, one of which cost VVS Laxman a hugely deserving 17th Test hundred.

“We have two umpires who are supposed to take good decisions on the field,” Dhoni averred, not necessarily referring to messers Dharmasena and Davis but to the umpiring fraternity in general. “I really don’t know what to say of Laxman’s dismissal.

“We need to improve the standard of umpiring, that should be the first concern,” he went on. “The umpires have too much pressure about the over rate and the behaviour on the field, the logos and everything else apart from giving decisions, which is the most important part, because the decisions depend on them.

“Still, the way things are going, if they keep on committing the kind of mistakes they are making, whether we are winning or not winning, we will have go with the review system. But I feel that more significantly, there should be strong measures to improve the standard of umpiring.”

Strong words, admittedly, but there is plenty of merit too in those words. The availability of the UDRS doesn’t in any way offer the umpires the license to make such obvious, amateurish mistakes. India will find little sympathy at finding fault with decision-making, given their reluctance to use the UDRS. That doesn’t mean the men in the middle who have made it a habit of erring repeatedly should be allowed to walk away scot-free.

Comments (+)