THE EDITOR: By now most cricket fans would be aware of the colossal blunder made by umpire Patrick Gustard (Jamaica) in the last over of the first ODI between the West Indies and India in the ICC Women’s Championship played in Antigua on November 1. Gustard ruled “not out” on an appeal for run-out.
For the record, I’m normally sympathetic to umpires, recognising the pressure under which they operate, and the likelihood of making errors of judgment every once in a while. But not in this case, for two reasons. (Keep in mind that Gustard was very close to the action, no more than a few feet away.)
First, the run-out wasn’t even close. Now we’re not talking about the bat on the line and the umpire having to decide if it crossed the line or not. Here, the bat touched the ground at least a foot (30 cm) short.
Second, Gustard did not position himself properly to make the best decision. Instead of aligning himself with the batting (popping) crease, he chose to align more with the bowling crease (the one in line with the stumps). This would be bad umpiring in a fete match. At this level, it is unforgivable.
All’s well that ends well in that the West Indies won the match. But could you imagine the furore had we lost when, in reality, we should have won by three runs?
In all of this, a major concern arises. Given that this was an ICC Championship Series match, how come the umpires had no recourse to technology to, at least, check for run-outs? (Never mind LBWs and nicks which require more sophisticated equipment/technology.)
Who decided that this series is not important enough to warrant even minimal use of technology? Are they being penny wise, pound foolish?