How Dharmasena’s Intervention reprieved the West Indies

The Island, 6 April 2016, with highlighting and Footnotes  being the Cricketique Editor’s additions

aa KUMAR d-IslandOn Sunday, the West Indies stunned the cricketing world with their come from behind victory against England in the finals of the ICC World T-20 at Eden Gardens in Calcutta . Barbadian Carlos Brathwaite and Jamaican Marlon Samuels were the stars in West Indies ’ win. However, victory wouldn’t have been possible for West Indies if not for Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena. West Indies had made dreadful start losing three wickets for just 11 runs and the game looked well beyond their reach when Samuels was given out caught behind by umpire Rod Tucker. Samuels walked off with the scoreboard reading 37 for four. However, Dharmasena the leg-umpire was suspicious given the way wicketkeeper Josh Buttler had collected the catch.Dharmasena, a member of Sri Lanka ’s 1996 World Cup winning team, had encouraged umpire Tucker to verify the catch, but Tucker had responded that he was positive that the catch was clean. As Dharmasena kept on insisting, third umpire Marias Erasmus too asked whether Tucker was absolutely sure. That made Tucker to ask for television assistance.[1] Television replays then clearly showed that the ball had bounced before the catch was taken and Samuels was called back.[2] Samuels went onto smash an unbeaten 85 and was named Man of the Match. Later, after the game, Dharmasena had come for high praise from ICC.

Dharmasena, nicknamed ‘unanduwa’ by former captain Arjuna Ranatunga for his untiring efforts takes his job very seriously and has been highly regarded at the ICC.

Dharmasena, a banker by profession, is employed at Hatton National Bank, with whom he began his career 26 years ago. After retiring from First Class cricket, Dharmasena tried his hand in both coaching and umpiring. Despite having Level 3 coaching certificate, he soon realized that coaching will not take him much far in the game. Then he opted to concentrate on umpiring, but received little support.

However, Dharmsena kept persevering. Despite efforts by then President of Board Arjuna Ranatunga to fast track Dharmasena as an international umpire, the opportunities he got at the top level were few and rare. Then former captain Sanath Jayasuriya introduced him to those running the Indian Premier League (IPL) and there Dharmasena got constant exposure. Soon there were international recognition as well for Dharmasena and he was drafted into the ICC Elite Panel of Umpires. In the year 2012, Dharmasena turned a corner as the ICC named him Umpire of the Year.

Today he is one of the finest umpires in the world and gets invited from places like Australia and England to give lectures on umpiring. [3] Apart from officiating in the recent World T-20 final, Dharmasena also officiated the final of the ICC World Cup last year between Australia and New Zealand at the MCG.


[1] While chatting on the telephone recently Russel Arnold was quite positive that the ball had touched the ground – so that there was ground (so to speak) for a reversal of the decision. In contrast he said Chandmal’s catch to dismiss a batsman in similar fashion should not have been overturned.

[2]  In opposition to the obdurate Indian cricket world of governance I am a firm supporter of Camera and video technology in the review of umpiring decisions. However, It the one area of uncertainty is is when fielders take catch just before or as a ball bounces. HERE, the camera tends to obfuscate the process and in my estimate accentuates doubt even when a fielder’s hands have been inserted BELOW the ball. There will be some technical terms for this effect. Thus in my reasoning the camera technicians’ (plural) should be consulted and the ICC Committee need to address the issue. When Nathan Lyon was reprieved by the Third Umpire (Nigel Lllong) at the Test match vs the Kiwis in Adelaide, the Technician in charge made some lucid comments after the event. If his voice was available to the Umpires that crucial error would not have occurred. One solution is for the head of the camera technical team to be linked to the Third Umpire so as to aid the final adjudication process. That bloke/gal will be a better judge than any of us.

[3] When Dharmasena gave a talk several years ago at the Hectorville CC in Adelaide  about the backroom preparations of umpires, he stressed that Simon Taufel was his touchstone in umpiring and was unstinted in his praise for Taufel’s work among the umpiring fraternity.

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Filed under close finsihes, cricket governance, International Cricket Council, performance, Russel Arnold, technology and cricket, television commentary, tower of strength, unusual people, West Indian Cricket, work ethic

One response to “How Dharmasena’s Intervention reprieved the West Indies

  1. Spot on. I certainly thought Samuel was out at the time of the appeal: and the persistence of Dh. was admirable. I also think that Buttler did think it was a fair catch: no suggestion he was trying a swifty…. which Wade, Haddin or other past animals (not Gilchrist or Nevill) would have done…..Michael Morley of Flinders University to Mike Roberts

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