Melinda Farrell in ESPNcricinfo, 6 June 2019, where the title is “West Indies’ fury at ‘dodgy’ decisions as Australia get rub of the green”
Michael Holding has slammed the umpiring during West Indies’ loss to Australia as “atrocious”, while Carlos Brathwaite described some decisions as “frustrating” and “dodgy” and suggested that West Indies players are on the wrong end of decisions more often than their opponents. He denied, however, that the decisions had cost them the match in a hard-fought 15-run defeat to Australia at Trent Bridge.
The umpires, Chris Gaffaney and Ruchira Palliyaguruge, had four decisions overturned between them and Gaffaney also missed a blatant front foot no-ball from Mitchell Starc that preceded the delivery that claimed the wicket of Chris Gayle. If the no-ball had been called, Gayle would have had a free hit on what was ultimately the wicket-ball.
“I don’t know if I’ll be fined for saying it but I just think that the umpiring was a bit frustrating,” said Brathwaite. “Even when we were bowling we thought a few balls close to head height were called wides. And obviously three decisions in one over as far as I can remember being dodgy, it was frustrating and sent ripples through the dressing room.
“To lose Chris in a chase of 280, who can probably get 180 of them himself obviously, broke the start that we wanted to have. But the umpires do their job, they try to do it to the best of their ability, we as players go out there to do our job as well, so there was no confrontation between the players and the umpires.”
Holding, commentating on the ICC’s world television feed, was even more scathing, extending his criticism to the umpires’ handling of the Australian bowlers’ appeals for wickets.
“The umpiring in this game has been atrocious,” Holding said. “For one, even when I was playing and you were not as strict as they are now, you were allowed one appeal. You don’t appeal two, three, four times to the umpire. They are being intimidated which means they are weak.This has been an atrocious bit of umpiring by both [Gaffaney and Palliyaguruge].”
In all, Gayle reviewed three decisions – two in one over and all off the bowling of Starc – and had the first two overturned. On the first occasion, Gaffaney gave him out caught behind only for the replay to show the audible sound of ball on wood had come from the ball shaving the stumps but somehow not dislodging the bails. Gayle reviewed twice more, both for lbw decisions by Gaffaney, before being given out. But it wasn’t until the ball preceding the wicket was replayed on television that the West Indies players realised that Starc had overstepped by a considerable margin.
“I saw it on the screen in the dressing room, and I just laughed, man,” said captain Jason Holder. “I couldn’t believe it. But again, I guess things didn’t go our way today.”
Palliyaguruge had two on-field decisions overturned later in the innings. The first was reviewed by Holder when he was given out lbw sweeping to Glenn Maxwell, the ball just pitching outside leg. Holder successfully reviewed once more, attempting to sweep Adam Zampa, with ball-tracker showing the ball would have comfortably missed leg stump.
“I think I’ll just say I just found ourselves a bit unlucky to be on the other end of all the decisions,” said Holder. “I guess honest mistakes from the umpires, I don’t want to get into the officiating part, but it’s just ironic. I don’t even know what to say about it, but it is a funny situation where all of them went against us, and then we had to review them, but I guess that’s part of the game again.”
Brathwaite suggested it was not unusual for umpiring decisions to go against West Indies players and this match was just the latest example.
“I just think I’d like that for West Indies, we don’t have to use all our reviews and that some of the other teams get a chance to use theirs because every time we get hit on our pad the finger goes up. When we hit the opposition on their pad, the finger stays down.
“So we have to use our reviews and it’s always missing and then we have to use our reviews when we’re batting as well and it’s always clipping. I’m not a technology person, I don’t know why that happens, I can just say what I have seen happen over the past few years.”
While Gayle’s wicket may have been a huge blow early on in the West Indies’ chase, Braithwaite didn’t blame the missed no-ball for the eventual 15-run loss to Australia.
“No, I wouldn’t say that, we had eight other wickets after that and it was incumbent on us to go out there and deliver a performance which we didn’t, for whatever reasons we will discuss and try to rectify for the next game,” said Brathwaite. “Did it hamper the start? It definitely did but it didn’t cost us the game.”
“Whatever is to be done will be done, whatever is to be seen will be seen. But as players we just need to get on with it. Obviously we were frustrated but the message in the dressing room was ‘let the frustration end here and concentrate on the next ball’, which we tried to do and evidently Australia came out on top.”