Dharmasena doesn’t regret the decision

Umpire Kumar Dharmasena has hit the headlines once again after he said that he never regrets the decision where he granted six runs for England instead of 5 in the wake of a Martin Guptill’s overthrow in the last over of the World Cup final.

Dharmasena doesn't regret the decision
Kumar Dharmasena

There was quite a discussion on the field as Kumar Dharmasena had consulted with square leg umpire Marais Erasmus, an open conversation that was audible to all match officials during the final. Though Dharmasena admitted to the ‘error’ but highlighted that he would “never regret” the decision. It is well-known that Kumar Dharmasena’s controversial decision that too in the final is going to be a subject of debate for a long time to come

“It’s easy for people to comment after seeing TV replays,” umpire Kumar Dharmasena told Sri Lankan publication the Sunday Times. “I agree that there was a judgmental error when I see it on TV replays now. But we did not have the luxury of TV replays at the ground and I will never regret the decision I made. Besides, the ICC praised me for the decision I made at that time.”

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Law 19.8 of the playing conditions clearly describe that the batsmen at the crease – Ben Stokes and Adil Rashid – should have already crossed before Martin Guptill started to throw for the second run to add in the final tally. TV replays clearly suggested this was not the case at all as Guptill’s throw rebounded off Stokes’ bat after which the ball raised away to the boundary behind the wicketkeeper. From 9 off 3 balls to 3 off 2 balls, the game just tilted in England’s favour with Stokes retaining strike, it should have been 4 off 2 balls with Rashid on strike.

Dharmasena, who came under fire recently for the incorrect caught-behind decision of Jason Roy during the semi-final, came in for one more criticism after the final. While the cricket players had no major issue with either the on-field umpires’ decision or the laws, public opinion was rather hostile about the way in which England eventually won the maiden ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

“There is no provision in the law to refer this to the third umpire as no dismissal was involved,” Dharmasena said. “So, I did consult the leg umpire through the communication system which is heard by all other umpires and the match referee. And, while they cannot check TV replays, they all confirmed that the batsmen have completed the run. This is when I made my decision.”

“One must understand that there were too many things on our plate,” Dharamasena said. “We had to watch the batsmen complete the first run, the ball being fielded, how it was handled by the fielder and whether the batsmen completed the second run. And where the throw would come from, the striker’s end or non-striker’s end. In this case, we were all happy that the batsmen had completed the second run because the ball ricocheted off Stokes’s bat at the time of him completing the second run.

“So, we assumed that they had crossed each other at the time of fielder releasing the ball. These are things that happen in a cricket field,” he said. “For instance, an umpire can call a wide or a no-ball wrongly and just because the TV replays show otherwise, we cannot go back and reverse the match. This is one such incident.”

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