Monday, 30 April 2007

Sagging umpiring standards, is ICC listening?

ICC CEO Malcolm Speed ruled out blacklisting the erring match officials of the cricket World Cup final.

But what came to the fore is that Rudi Koertzen is the architect of the farce that was 2007 World Cup final, at least Match Referee Jeff Crowe wants us to believe.

According to Crowe, it was Koertzen – who has officiated in more ODIs than any other umpire –who initiated the bungling process which eventually resulted in the chaotic end to the game’s greatest extravaganza.

"Sometimes you get a stronger voice which says 'I know the rules - this is how it works'," was Crowe’s effort to explain the inexplicable.

"Then you get a bit of confusion in the group itself, and no one wants to overrule the other… Rudi was talking about the allowances and talking about the possibility of tomorrow. I don't think it's Rudi's mistake, it's a collective mistake.

This was well nigh a cricketing felony from Koertzen, who had just overtaken David Shepherd's record of 172 matches with the World Cup match between England and West Indies at Barbados.

Crowe, for once, sounds sane when he says on-field umpires Steve Bucknor and Aleem Dar could have overruled Koertzen.

"The fact Rudi might maybe have suggested it early doesn't mean the other umpires couldn't have over-ruled him. The two on-field umpires are the ones who control the match."

For records, Bucknor was standing in his record fifth World Cup final along with Dar, voted second best umpire of the years 2005, 2006.

Both Bucknor and Koertzen are two of the just three umpires from the original elite panel who have maintained their place but an asinine ICC just fails to realize that umpires are not spinners who get better with ages. Cricket would be better off with younger Men in White with better sight and faster reflex.

Bucknor’s on-field antics and endearing smile may have earned him friends but his decision-making has not. At times, he seems giving the verdict for a dismissal that took in the previous match.

I don’t find any fashion statement in Koertzen’s slow-death finger either. It has more to do with old age, probably.

I’ve no problem with human error. It rather makes the game more and more unpredictable and hence, exciting. I’m not the one to believe that they have not read the rule book. Reality is, they have either forgotten it or just could not cope up with the pressure there. Counting marbles in a pressure-cooker scenario, they just lost it.

(Photo: Rudi Koertze, the architect of farce?)

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