The decision of the umpires to award England six runs instead of five when the World Cup final was poised on a knife’s edge has been termed erroneous by multiple-time former ICC Umpire of the Year Simon Taufel. The Australian has also said he stands by Kumar Dharmasena and Marais Erasmus, considering the heat of the moment and complexities surrounding the rule.
Neither does the ICC blame the officials. On principle, it refrains from commenting on umpiring decisions. “The umpires take decisions on the field with their interpretation of the rules and we don’t comment on any decision as a matter of policy,” said an ICC spokesperson on Monday. So far so good, but the matter doesn’t end there. It leads to a new question.
Dharmasena had made an error in the England-Australia semifinal as well. He had ruled Jason Roy caught behind when the batsman had not touched the ball. Normally when an umpire makes a clear mistake, he doesn’t get a posting for the next big match. In this case, the Sri Lankan was asked to stand in the very next one, that too the final. According to sources, this is against usual practice. It was Dharmasena who signaled ‘six runs’ in the 50th over of the England innings.
Not that there was nobody else. Even after leaving out the umpires from the participating countries --- England and New Zealand --- there were Aleem Dar of Pakistan and Australia’s Rod Tucker. That the ICC still went for Dharmasena despite his ‘wrong one’ in the previous match is a question without an answer. Why him again? The ICC may not come up with an explanation.
The posting of umpires is done by the ICC’s Cricket Operations team. It comes under Geoff Allardice, the world body’s General Manager of Cricket. The matter of who stands in which match is handled by Adrian Griffith, the former West Indies opener, who holds the post of Referees and Umpires Administration Manager. This is unlikely to come under scanner immediately, because the review of umpires July onwards will be done in June next year.