Umpiring Errors In The Spotlight After First Ashes (Part 1)

By Dhanu Delphi on August 8, 2019

Umpiring errors in the first Ashes test show that cricket bettors can end up losing money at the sportsbooks due to human error. We subsequently look at potential solutions to these concerns in our two part series.

2019 World Cup Final Winner: Umpiring Error

The 2019 ICC World Cup final ended in controversy with Sri Lankan umpire Kumar Dharmasena drawing flak on social media. At the centre of complaints was his decision to award England six runs off a freak overthrow, when only five runs should have been given. After all, the batsmen did not complete the second run.

That decision cost New Zealand the World Cup. That’s because the scores were tied after a super over and England was declared the winner as they had hit more boundaries. However, if England were only given 5 runs, they would have fallen short. It’s not just New Zealand who suffered after losing the World Cup, though. Thousands of cricket bettors, too, lost a lot of money as they bet on New Zealand and lost out due to an umpiring error.

Dharmasena went on record to admit the error. However, he said he did not regret the decision as he did not have access to TV replays to help him see that the batsmen did no complete the second run.

Multiple Umpiring Errors In First Ashes Test

The spotlight was once again on the spree of umpiring errors in the first Ashes test. In fact, the ICC elite panel of umpires became the laughing stock on Twitter as numerous memes of umpire Joel Wilson did the rounds. The umpiring errors were so shocking that a number of ex-cricketers, as well as commentators, did not hold back on putting pressure on the ICC to do something to improve the quality of umpiring.

Needless to say, it is critical for umpires to get the majority of their decisions right. Especially, given the importance of an Ashes Test series and the pressure that players are under. However, Joel Wilson ended up getting the majority of his decisions wrong. This could have hurt both sides badly, along with thousands of bettors who put money on England and Australia.

Joel Wilson had a total of 15 decisions overturned during the first Ashes test. He had eight decisions which he gave not out overturned, and seven decisions which he gave out struck down. His partner at the other end, Aleem Dar also had a tough Ashes test having a total of five decisions overturned. Dar had two decisions which he gave not out overturned, and three decisions which he gave out struck down.

Are Umpiring Mistakes Part Of The Game?

England captain Joe Root played down the umpiring mistakes in the first test. He put it down to the fact that umpires, like the players, were human and so prone to make mistakes. Root’s statement comes across as compassionate. Still, the amount of errors in the first test cannot be accepted as part of the game of cricket.

Potential Solutions To Reduce Umpiring Errors

Cricket bettors have multiple matches to wager on in the coming weeks. This includes another four Ashes tests remaining; India’s tour of the West Indies; New Zealand’s tour of Sri Lanka; and the G20 Canada League and the Euro T20 Slam. Cricket punters are accustomed to the momentum shifting between the two sides during matches. They can also use data to make calculated decisions based on the conditions of the pitch and the players involved.

What they cannot quantify or factor in is when umpires can have a bad session, a bad day or worse still a bad test match. A prime example of this is Wilson in the first Ashes test. The umpire’s string of poor decisions on Day 1 subsequently affected his confidence. This made his umpiring get only worse as the match progressed.

In Part 2: We take a look at some of the factors and solutions that the ICC and players can rely on to reduce umpiring errors in the future.