A no-ball that created room for error and furore

A no-ball that created room for error and furore

A no-ball that created room for error and furore

Indian skipper M S Dhoni was given out on a no-ball, caught at mid-on by Shivanarine Chanderpaul off an express delivery from pacer Fidel Edwards. On-field umpire Ian Gould was not sure if Edwards’ delivery was legal as he thought the bowler had overstepped. But since Dhoni was caught off that delivery, the umpire referred to the third umpire, Greg Brathwaite, for review and confirmation.

The first thing a third umpire does in such circumstances is to review the televisi­on replays to see if the de­l­ivery is legal and if the bowler has overstepped or not. The footages are provided by host broadcasters for the series, in this case IMG Media.

The TV footages showed the bowler had his front foot well inside the crease and it was a legal delivery. And, since there was no doubt that the catch was taken cleanly, the third umpire conveyed to the on-field umpire that Dhoni was out.

It transpired on Thursday that Dhoni was actually not out and Edwards’ delivery in question was, indeed, a no-ball.

The replay footage was a wrong one, of a previous legal delivery that the bowler had bowled. It has since transpired that the on-field umpire’s initial judgment that Edwards had actually bowled a no-ball was  correct, but undone by the wrong TV footage used for the replay.

The end of Dhoni’s tenure sparked an Indian collapse as the visitors slumped to 201 all out from a relatively comfortable 167 for five. “We knew something was not correct even when we were watching the replays. But then we didn’t have any proof to substantiate our doubts as we were also receiving the sa­me footage as the TV replays,” a source in the Indian team said, adding: Normally, we get a feed within 3-10 seconds, but that particular feed took nearly 40 seconds to reach us.”

India has been extremely reluctant to reinforce the use of technology under the Umpire Decision Referral System on the plea that the technology employed was not conclusive. India has also entertained doubts that technology could be manipulated.

What happened at Kensington Oval is now being treated as an error and not a case of manipulating technology. Match referee Chris Broad acknowledged the technical error through a mail from the ICC. “IMG Media has acknowledged the mistake and has apologised. Having looked into the situation, I am satisfied it was an unfortunate but honest mistake. It is worth pointing out that the umpires followed the correct procedures and are without blame in this matter,” Broad said. “Seeing as the game has continued, clearly there is no opportunity to reverse the decision,” he added.

An IMG spokesman too admitted to the mistake. “IMG Media takes its responsibilities on this matter very seriously. This was a case of human error, compounded by a senior replay operative having to return home at very short notice.”