ICC’s main job is to reduce the teams in a World Cup, and to make sure players show no emotions during a match, or even after a match. Small things like continuously terrible umpiring ruining cricket matches generally don’t register on their radar.
To be fair to the ICC, it is difficult to focus on Umpires when you are scanning all the players to see if someone is smiling incorrectly or if someone has an untucked shirt or if someone has an insignia on the gloves etc.
West Indies players were left shocked and confused after the game yesterday as high class umpiring once again grabbed the headlines. Captain Holder and T20 Captain Brathwaite expressed their frustration with some of the decisions after the game and we are sure that they will be penalised by ICC, without doing anything about the cause of that frustration, the umpiring.
The umpires are rarely looking at front foot no-ball anymore. We saw during the India-Australia Test series where the front line was merely a suggestion, bowlers were free to cross it without the fear of getting called for no-ball. We see it so many times that umpires check for no-ball AFTER a wicket, to be sure that the batsman is out.
As Gayle’s wicket showed yesterday, just checking that ball is not enough, one must be checking the previous ball as well with the free-hit rule in place. Of course, if the umpires were doing their job, we won’t need to check anything afterwards.
There is an argument that umpires are focusing more on the other end, where the main action is going to take place, so they miss out on bowlers overstepping the mark at times. In that case, if only the ICC had a way of helping the umpires. If only they had a guy sitting in the pavilion with all the camera angles available to him who can look at the landing of the front foot on every ball. If only there was a guy who can whisper “No Ball” in on-field umpire’s ear after watching every ball from the square angle. Wait a minute, there is one such guy already sitting there, with the technology already available, with a direct line to the on-field umpire!
The umpires very obviously need help, ICC has the technology to help them, it will not slow down the game at all, it will improve decision making, it will avoid the farce like yesterday, it seems like the common sense thing to do, which is precisely why ICC will never did it.