Mahinda Wijesinghe, whose favours this title for his article “The Umpire who said ‘HURRAH! We won’,”
Those famous (or infamous?) words have been attributed to a prejudiced village umpire as he incorrectly ruled the last man out to give his favoured side a win! This memory was rekindled when Australian umpire (who was incidentally a member of the losing member of the 1996 World Cup team under Mark Taylor) ruled out last man Nuwan Pradeep lbw when there was an obvious snick, that was even spotted by the commentators. However, DRS saved Sri Lanka unlike the unfortunate village team of yore.
This was not the only misdemeanour committed by trigger-happy (aptly named) ‘Pistol’ Reiffel.
- He ruled Herath caught behind when he had one hand off the bat. The commentators immediately mentioned this point and, typically, after that no reference of this faux pas was made AT ALL. It speaks poorly of Herath’s knowledge of the laws of cricket after playing 52 Test matches and going by comments made by skipper Angelo Mathews at the end-of-the-match interview, hardly anyone in the Sri Lankan camp were aware of this law! Here’s Bradman on this issue who said that all players should read AND understand the laws. This is why The Don sat and passed the examination held by the NSW Cricket Umpires Association in 1933. Here’s The Don on this matter as stated in his autobiography “Farewell to cricket”: “As a player and captain I felt it is my duty to know as much as I could about the laws under which we played. I commend this idea to all players.” Angelo Mathews and our players please note.
Technology revealed only Herath’s decision but there was another ruling he made against a SL batsman if it was put to DRS would have been overturned. Coincidentally (?) all Reiffel’s errors was anti Sri Lanka. As an emotional fan asked “was he taking revenge for the 1996 World Cup loss when he was a member of the Aussie team?” Even when ruling wides it was against our bowlers but not against the Aussie bowlers. Sri Lankan authorities should not agree to Reiffels’ appointment to officiate in our matches in future.
2. The final (in every sense of the word) of Reiffel’s misdemeanours was ruling last man Nuwan Pradeep lbw when there was an obvious snick. Did I hear Reiffel thinking “Hurrah we’ve won” when lifting his finger?!!Thankfully Pradeep was saved by DRS.
It is best that Reiffel, to recall the lyrics of the chorus of that famous classic written way back in 1943 by Al Dexter, “Pistol Packing Mama”: “Lay that pistol down baby, lay that pistol down, pistol packing mama, lay that pistol down”.
All what needs done is to substitute the word ‘mama’ to you know who!