The umpires in the Sydney Test match have been scrutinised, criticised, condemned and ridiculed, both for the flawed decisions and for the general conduct of the game, but neither Steve Bucknor nor Mark Benson have had a chance to explain their position or rationale because of the ICC’s code of conduct.
M.R. SURESH, a qualified State umpire from Karnataka, better known to the cricketing world as “Robin“, says three cardinal principles of the “Spirt of the Game” were violated during the match. But he is not at all surprised with the dodgy decisions, especially those from Bucknor.
“At least 60 of Shane Warne‘s 708 victims are courtesy of Bucknor. Bucknor gave many front-foot LBW decisions off Warne, although Warne was never so accurate as Anil Kumble with his flippers and striaght ones. Muttiah Muralitharan never got such decisions from Bucknor.”
In the Laws of Cricket, and it is easy to forget that cricket is the one game which has “laws” not rules, the preamble talks of “The Spirit of Cricket”.
“The major responsibility for ensuring the spirit of fair play rests with the captains,“ but I saw only one captain who had understood the spirit of the game.
“The responsibility for the team’s conduct firmly on the captain,” but Ricky Ponting was seen clearly violating this.
It is against the Spirit of the Game to “appeal knowing the batsman is not out“ but the Aussies did this even though they knew better, more so Ponting declared Saurav Ganguly out.
The umpires’ decision should always be accepted without dissent. This was what the Indians did. But were the umpires right all the time? Even on the first day of the match, their concentration left much to be desired.
And on the final day, Benson had no business to ask Michael Clarke if he had made the catch when he could have gone to the third umpire. The need is for more umpires in the elite panel, particularly from Test-playing nations where there is a culture of spin bowling, or for more umpires from subcontinent.
As an umpire, I would have stood by one or two of the decisions as I may feel I should also be in such situations, like Wasim Jaffer being bowled off a no-ball off Brett Lee or Andrew Symonds being caught behind off Ishant Sharma. But I will never make Benson’s mistake of asking the fielder and of not hearing what Harbhajan Singh told Symonds.