Table of Contents
Cricket, the “gentleman’s game,” thrives on fair play and sportsmanship. But what happens when the very ones entrusted to uphold these values falter? Umpires, the men in white, wield immense power, their decisions shaping the fate of matches and careers. Yet, history is littered with umpires whose blunders have left fans fuming and players heartbroken. Let’s have a look at the top 10 worst umpires in cricket history, based on the gravity and frequency of their errors, their impact on the game, and the outrage they generated.
Top 10 Worst Umpires in Cricket History
|Name of the umpire
The man who “gave Sachin out,” as many in India still remember. Bucknor’s dubious LBW call against Sachin Tendulkar in the 2003 Brisbane Test, with the ball clearly missing the off stump, remains etched in infamy. This, coupled with several other questionable decisions throughout his career, cemented his place as a legend – of cricketing infamy.
Notorious for the infamous “Muttiah Muralitharan ball-tampering” no-ball in 2006, Hair’s decision sparked outrage and controversy. Despite video evidence suggesting otherwise, Hair stuck to his guns, leading to a bitter fallout between him and the cricketing world.
While statistically one of the most accurate umpires, Taufel finds himself on this list due to his tendency to make crucial errors at the biggest moments. The 2009 Ashes series, where he missed several crucial edges, is prime example.
A South African umpire known for his laid-back style, Koertzen’s laid-backness sometimes bordered on carelessness. His failure to spot a clear run-out of Chris Gayle in the 2003 World Cup final, and his bizarre leg-before decision against Ricky Ponting in 2008, left fans and players bewildered.
The Pakistani umpire with a hawk-eye for lbws, Dar’s accuracy often tipped over into over-zealousness. His penchant for giving batsmen out even on the slightest hint of pad contact, especially against spinners, earned him the dubious nickname “Ali Out Dar.”
The Australian umpire known for his unpredictable and often baffling decisions. From giving out batsmen on non-existent lbws to awarding boundaries for clear nicks, Oxenford’s tenure was a rollercoaster of confusion and frustration.
An umpire whose career was tragically cut short due to match-fixing allegations; Rauf’s on-field decisions weren’t exactly confidence-inspiring either. His questionable calls in the 2009 IPL, especially those favoring the Chennai Super Kings, raised eyebrows and fueled speculation.
Ian Gould, a former member of England’s World Cup squad in 1983, transitioned to become an umpire at both first-class and international levels. Known as “Gunner” Gould, he was a relatable and down-to-earth character for the players. However, there were instances where he made questionable decisions, which led to criticism on Twitter for his handling of an India vs. West Indies test in 2016. Additionally, he had previously displeased Indian fans two years prior. One such incident involved a delivery from Josh Hazlewood, where it was evident that Cheteshwar Pujara‘s gloves were not involved, but the umpire mistakenly believed otherwise.
A promising umpire whose career took a nosedive after a series of howlers in the 2019 Ashes series. From giving Ben Stokes a reprieve despite a clear edge to awarding a boundary for a clear catch, Wilson’s blunders had a significant impact on the series outcome and his own reputation.
The Sri Lankan umpire with a knack for making headlines for the wrong reasons. His controversial decisions, often favoring Indian players, led to accusations of bias and umpiring with an agenda. His inconsistent application of the rules and tendency to get flustered under pressure made him a liability on the field.
These umpires, while not intentionally malicious, have left an indelible mark on cricket history for their errors in judgment. Their blunders highlight the immense pressure umpires face and the need for technology to complement their decision-making. As cricket evolves, one can only hope that the days of the “worst umpires” lists become a distant memory, paving the way for an era of fair play, accurate calls, and unwavering respect for the game.
Note: This list is subjective and based on various factors like the gravity of errors, impact on the game, and fan outrage. It’s not intended to be a personal attack on any individual but rather a critical reflection on moments that have tarnished the game’s image.