Monday, July 15, 2019

What spoils the sport....

In the event of rain out, the trophy would be shared anyway. So, what is the harm in sharing the trophy when the regular game and the super overs are tied. Why try to arrive at a result based on boundaries scored by each team, when the game itself gave a signal that tie should be the impartial result. Such an iconic sporting event and such a lame finish.

Yes. Am talking about the game played between England Vs New Zealand in the Finals of ICC World Cup 2019.

NZ lost 8 wickets to reach 241 in 50 overs, while England lost all the wickets to reach 241 in 50 overs. Both teams played super over and even that tied. Eventually, England were awarded the trophy because they had hit more number of boundaries than NZ during the match. Now that don’t sound very fair.

Why not the wickets determine the winner? After all, this sport is all about runs and wickets. When the runs are tied why don’t you refer to the wicket column to arrive at the verdict?

Well, this boundary rule has been in existence for quite some time (possibly 10+ years since 2008). Only when the rules get executed, we are able to see the ugly side of it.

Tie is a common phenomenon in other sports too. Let us refer to soccer (most popular sport across the globe). Two 15 minutes of additional play time is awarded in playoff games, when the game is tied in the regular 90 minutes. Only when a result is not arrived at this point, the game goes to penalty shootout and it goes on loop until a result is arrived. Obviously, a fair proposal to cricket would be to play additional 5 overs a side game between the two tied teams before jumping to super over. Since cricket is a time-consuming sport, playing 5 overs a side could cost additional 45 minutes of play time. ODI itself a long game (7 hours of play approx.). It’s only reasonable we jump to super over right away when an ODI is tied. However, it is only fair Super overs stay in loop until a definitive result is arrived.

Could not digest the fact that the fate was sealed by the boundaries.

 That Overthrow...

Again, in the Final of WC 2019, Ben Stokes was trying to run the second. A Guptill throw from the deep, hit the bat of Ben Stokes, deviated and ran across the boundary line. In the end, England were awarded 6 runs (2 for the runs made and the 4 that resulted from ball crossing the boundary). Already there is a story floating that it should be 5 runs and not 6 (backed by umpire Simon Taufel). Well, am not getting to that. I’ve something else in mind. Generally, the batsman declines to take the runs (from deviations such as these) in spirit of the game. If the spirit of cricket is to avoid these runs, why the rule should even permit runs coming out of such deviations. After all it is not a genuine overthrow by the fielder that it reached the boundary on the other side. This is a freakish accident caused by the batsman that resulted in additional runs. How does the rules permit these additional runs? It was surely not fielding team's fault. In any case, if you look at the photo, one is forced to suspect as to why Stokes took a dive too early when there is still so much ground to cover. Did he obstruct the ball on purpose? I think not. Would like to give Ben Stokes the benefit of doubt here.

Those Ambiguous LBWs...
Again, in the Finals of WC 2019, Marias Erasmus adjudged Jason Roy NOT OUT for an LBW appeal by Boult. For most of us watching the game on the TV, the default reaction was OUT and were shocked by the decision of on-field umpire. NZ reviewed. On the review, it was found that the ball pitched in line, impact in line, and good percentage of the ball hit the stumps. The verdict from third umpire came out as on-field Umpire’s Call and the batsman remained NOT OUT. That was preposterous. Had the umpire given it OUT in the first place, it would have remained OUT even after referral. Similar thing happened in the Semi Final match btw India and New Zealand, except it was the other way. Virat Kohli was adjudged OUT by the on-field umpire. For, TV viewers the initial reaction was NOT OUT. Again, the referral took side of the on-field Umpire’s Call. Despite the DRS and review options, the verdict did not have solid justification.

The popular opinion is the umpiring standards were pretty ordinary during the entire world cup. For mega events like this, incorrect decisions are very embarrassing. And they tend to change fortune of the game. My point is, why even leave dubious decisions such as LBW to the on-field umpire. Let the third umpire or technology take the ownership right away and give the verdict based on the available information/evidence.

That one review per innings...
And one review per innings in ODI games are too low. In the Semi Finals game played btw Australia and England, Jason Roy was adjudged caught behind by umpire Dharamasena. Sadly England had lost all the reviews. Replays clearly showed that Roy did not nick the ball. He was very furious. He was even fined 30% of match fee for poor behavior. If there were enough reviews available, these horrors could be very much avoided. Luckily in that match that decision did not impact the result of the game. In any other match, such errors could potentially change the outcome. My point is, if the third umpire finds substantial evidence to overturn a decision, then he should do it without a referral. This way justice is done wherever possible.

That overstepping...
And those no-balls from overstepping by bowler. Usually these kinds of no balls are verified voluntarily by third umpire when there is a referral. My point is, why not overstepping is monitored every ball. This can be done independently by a technologist for each and every ball of the game and bring to the attention of umpires whenever overstepping is done by the bowler.

Per rule, “either batsman can be given out if they intentionally touch the ball with a hand that is not holding their bat”. My point is, if you are allowed to intentionally deviate the ball from hitting the stumps, how does it matter, if it is done with the hand that is holding the bat or not.

Its high time the game’s governing body review rules and put more efforts to avoid the on-field umpiring errors that spoil the sport. At the end of the day, justice denied is justice deprived.

The heart goes all the way for New Zealand.

Crazy Cricket Lover


  1. By all counts, this was a contrived result. Hope ICC can overturn their own arbitrary rule and declare NZ as the joint winner

  2. Yes agre with Karthik,a champion s trophy final was shared between India and Lanka on rain, guess India beat Lanka in group stage so plz.award the India now

  3. From next odi just hit sixes no need to take wickets match is determined by boundaries anyway

  4. Valid points...
    Umpires were the real men of the match and tournament...


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