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Let’s Dive into some of the cricket world’s most Controversial umpiring decisions in history, giving rise to heated debates and influencing match outcomes. Ranging from controversies involving ball-tampering to disputed player dismissals, these decisions have significantly shaped the course of the sport. Delve into the specific matches, controversies, and repercussions associated with these contentious calls.
Cricket is a sport characterized by skill, strategy, and tactics, and it is widely acknowledged that the decisions made by umpires can profoundly influence the course of a match. Throughout the sport’s history, there have been several instances in which umpires have rendered decisions that sparked intense debates and conversations among fans, players, and experts. These contentious calls have not only shaped the outcomes of matches but have also left a lasting impact on the careers of the players affected. This article delves into some of the most disputed umpiring decisions in cricket, analyzing the matches, the associated controversies, and the consequences that ensued.
Top 10 Controversial Umpiring Decisions
Oval Test, 2006: England vs Pakistan
During the Oval Test of 2006, umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove granted five penalty runs to England, alleging ball-tampering by the Pakistan team. This ruling ignited a significant controversy, leading to the Pakistan team declining to participate in the second innings and ultimately forfeiting the match.
Sydney Test, 2008: Australia vs India
During the second test of the 2008 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, umpire Steve Bucknor faced significant backlash for several controversial decisions that favored Australia and adversely impacted India, such as the contentious dismissal of Sourav Ganguly. These decisions drew widespread criticism, leading to Bucknor being excluded from officiating in the remaining tests of the series.
Adelaide Test, 2012: Australia vs South Africa
During the second match of the 2012 series featuring Australia and South Africa, umpire Asad Rauf generated controversy by ruling Proteas batsman Faf du Plessis as not out. This decision sparked widespread criticism, as it seemed that du Plessis had edged the ball to the wicketkeeper. The fallout from the decision was significant, as it ultimately allowed South Africa to secure a draw in the match.
Mumbai Test, 2012: India vs England
During the second match of the 2012 series between India and England, umpire Aleem Dar sparked controversy by adjudging English batsman Kevin Pietersen as not out. This decision raised eyebrows as Pietersen seemed to have nicked the ball to the wicketkeeper. The Indian team and their supporters criticized the decision, considering it a pivotal moment that influenced the outcome of the match.
Trent Bridge Test, 2013: England vs Australia
During the 2013 series featuring England and Australia, there was a contentious moment when umpire Marais Erasmus ruled English batsman Stuart Broad not out, despite apparent evidence of him edging the ball to the wicketkeeper. The Australian team and their supporters criticized this decision, considering it a pivotal moment in the match.
Bangalore Test, 2017: India vs Australia
During the second match of the 2017 series between India and Australia, umpire Chris Gaffaney faced scrutiny for a contentious call that led to the dismissal of Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara. The controversy arose when Pujara was deemed out, even though the ball had struck his thigh pad rather than the bat. This decision drew widespread criticism from both the Indian team and their supporters, given Pujara’s pivotal role as a batsman and the consequential impact on the match’s final result.
Headingley Test, 2019: England vs Australia
During the third test of the 2019 Ashes series, umpire Joel Wilson made a contentious call in favor of English batsman Joe Root. Despite the apparent nick to the wicketkeeper, Root was deemed not out. This decision faced criticism from the Australian team and their supporters, as it ultimately proved pivotal in the match. Root capitalized on the opportunity, scoring a century and guiding England to an impressive victory.
World Cup Final, 2019: England vs New Zealand
The 2019 Cricket World Cup final, featuring England and New Zealand, emerged as one of the most exhilarating contests in the history of the sport. Nevertheless, a contentious moment unfolded during the final when umpire Kumar Dharmasena granted England six runs, as opposed to five, for a ball that deflected to the boundary. This decision sparked extensive debate, with numerous individuals questioning its accuracy.
Hardik Pandya’s Dismissal in 1st ODI against NZ in 2023
During the initial One Day International (ODI) encounter between India and New Zealand, a contentious ruling by the third umpire resulted in the removal of Hardik Pandya. Pandya failed to connect with a delivery from Daryl Mitchell, resulting in the dislodging of the bails. While the New Zealand team marked the dismissal with jubilation, Tom Latham, the captain and wicketkeeper for the Kiwi side, called for a review. Latham harbored suspicions that Pandya had made contact with the bails using his gloves.
After reviewing the replays, which included the UltraEdge technology, it became evident that the ball did not make contact with the stumps, and the bails fell only after Latham had gathered the ball. Despite this, the third umpire made a decision in favor of New Zealand, announcing Pandya as out. This ruling caught everyone off guard, including the New Zealand players and commentators. Ravi Shastri, a former Indian cricketer and coach, conveyed his astonishment at the unexpected decision.
Controversial Catch by Cameron Green Dismisses Shubman Gill in WTC Final, 2023
Shubman Gill faced elimination after scoring 18 runs in Scott Boland’s over, with Cameron Green successfully taking the catch by flicking his left hand. Despite referring the decision to the third umpire for a thorough review, the initial ruling of Gill being out was maintained. Upon closer scrutiny, the catch sparked controversy as frame-by-frame analysis uncovered that the ball was wedged between two fingers but made contact with the grass without support from the fingers beneath it.
Here are some of the most disputed umpiring decisions in the annals of cricket, accompanied by numerous other occurrences of debatable calls and uncertain judgments throughout the years. Umpires, being fallible human beings, are susceptible to errors, yet their rulings wield significant influence over match results and players’ careers. It falls upon cricketing authorities to guarantee that umpires undergo thorough training and possess the necessary tools to render accurate decisions, thereby minimizing controversies to the greatest extent possible.