Howlers from umpires mar play

Plethora of errors drive home the need for Decision Review System

Howlers from umpires mar play

Coincidentally, three-quarters of the four poor decisions that hurt the Indians came from home umpire Kumar Dharmasena, a former international player who, one would assume, would be better placed than most others when it comes to decision-making.

Umpiring errors are often accepted by teams as being part of the game, and that is how it should be, too. Whether that can exonerate a repeat-offending umpire is another matter, altogether.

India were outclassed and outplayed on Sunday by a charged up Sri Lanka, of that there is little doubt. But when four of the top five batsmen are victims of obvious mistakes, it does take some gloss of the final result, however comprehensive that might be.

Dharmasena was culpable of wrongly ruling openers Virender Sehwag and Dinesh Kaarthick, as well as Suresh Raina out; Asad Rauf later accounted for the top-scorer of the match, Yuvraj Singh to a shocking decision, the batsman struck on his pad some six inches outside off trying to whip Lasith Malinga to leg.

In the interim, Rauf adjudged Raina not out when it appeared as if the middle-order batsman had nicked Angelo Mathews to the wicket-keeper, rounding off a horror day for the officiating team that has been under scrutiny right through the tournament.

The ICC takes great pleasure in toting up figures for percentage success of umpiring decisions, but what steps it takes to eradicate obvious errors such as those on offer on Sunday is open to question.

The ICC has introduced the Umpire Decision Review System, but India in particular have been unwilling to play with the UDRS in use. Consequently, they have little reason to complain. Saying that, the UDRS is to be a part of the playing conditions at next year’s World Cup, but till now, it hasn’t been used in even a single one-day international!

Kumar Sangakkara has been a staunch advocate of the UDRS, and he wasted little opportunity in driving his point home. “Even before the Test series, we were for the referrals. The only reason I believe we didn't have referrals was because India didn't want the referrals,” the Sri Lankan skipper observed. “Sometimes it works for you, sometimes against you, but if everything has to be fair, use technology and make it even.

The ICC should make technology compulsory because if some sides are using it and we are playing some series without it, I don't think that’s right. Everyone should use technology, it’s a must, it’s a must.”

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