Umpiring Errors In The Spotlight After First Ashes (Part 2)

By Dhanu Delphi on August 9, 2019

In Part 1, we looked at the recent spree of umpiring mistakes in the 2019 ICC World Cup and the first Ashes Test match. These subsequently caused cricket bettors no end of frustration at the bookies. In Part 2, we look at potential solutions that the ICC can implement to significantly reduce the number of umpiring errors.

Potential Solutions To Reduce Umpiring Mistakes

The Ashes and India’s tour of West Indies are currently in progress. Meanwhile, New Zealand (2.06) are the favourites to win the first test against Sri Lanka (2.49) with odds of a draw set at (6.40) at sportsbooks, such as Betway and Bet365.

With so much cricket to be played in the coming months, sports bettors are naturally very keen to see umpires make better decisions. Here are five potential solutions that could help reduce umpiring errors:

More DRS Reviews

There were multiple umpiring mistakes in the first Ashes test. Nevertheless, it turned out to be a great test match for both fans and players alike. That’s largely thanks to both sides making the most of the DRS to save them from umpires Joel Wilson and Aleem Dar. The problem with the current DRS setup in test matches is that sides only get two DRS reviews per innings.

The ICC might have to rethink the number of reviews each side gets. After all, the idea of the DRS system is to reduce umpiring mistakes. The biggest problem with more DRS reviews per innings is time consumption – an issue that the ICC needs to address.

Better Usage of DRS

The ICC recently announced that it was going to trial the DRS with the front foot no ball. This will put the onus on the third umpire or the TV umpire for calling all front foot no balls. It will mean less pressure on the on field umpires. Furthermore, it will hopefully allow them to concentrate better on other aspects of the game.

The DRS front foot trail will be carried out for the next six months on ODI games. Based on the success of the trial, the ICC will decide if it can be made a permanent fixture.

Better Training For ICC Elite Panel

Umpire Joel Wilson, who received a lot of flak for his poor umpiring in the first test, decided to review his umpiring of the first Ashes test with his umpiring coach. This is a good sign as Wilson needs to work on both the technical and mental aspects of his umpiring.

The ICC does have an ICC umpiring mentor in David Levens, who is the one mentoring Wilson. The ICC should come out with a better review and coaching program that analyse umpiring mistakes each quarter and run the same across its elite ICC umpire panel.

Bring In More ex-Test Players

The ICC should work at bringing in more ex-test or even former ODI players and get them into the ICC elite umpiring panel. Ex-players have the experience of playing under pressure in international matches. The shift into umpiring in high pressure games will subsequently be a lot easier on them than an umpire who has never played in an international game.

Paul Reiffel (Australia) and Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka) are former players in the ICC elite panel as of now. The ideal scenario is to have more than 50 percent of the ICC panel comprised of ex-players. They can then be the ideal mentor for umpires who have never played cricket at the highest level.

Don’t Allow Home Umpires

The ICC does not allow neutral umpires at this point in time. This means that an Australian umpire cannot umpire any matches in Australia or in any matches involving Australia. There is pressure to bring back neutral umpires from England and Australia.

However, the ICC umpire panel has stated that they do not want to umpire in home games. They say it puts more pressure on them. The ICC should continue with its neutral umpiring policy and not given into the push to allow home umpires.

As a whole, the solutions discussed in this article series should help the ICC elite panel of umpires make better decisions in all formats of the game.