Home umpires’ mistakes are more likely to be seen as ‘favoritism’
The current system of playing international matches only with the home umpires leaves a heavy burden on the umpires, according to former Pakistani captain Asif Iqbal.
Aimed at mitigating the risks posed by the COVID-19 virus and protecting the safety of players and match officials and owing to the current logistical challenges with international travel the International Cricket Council (ICC) has temporarily removed from playing conditions the appointment of third country umpires.
Barring England’s Richard Illingworth, who has travelled to Bangladesh to join with Sharfuddoula (local) to officiate in the Test between Bangladesh and the West Indies, the ongoing two Test matches between India and England in Chennai and Pakistan vs. South Africa in Rawalpindi have home umpires officiating.
“Home umpires are seen to do their work under obvious pressure that their mistakes are more likely to be seen as ‘favouritism’ rather than the same decision being given by the umpire of a neutral country,” Asif Iqbal, speaking exclusively over the telephone from England, said.
“During the recent Test match in Sri Lanka, England opener Dom Sibley may well have been the beneficiary of this factor when three umpire’s calls went in his favour during a single innings.”
“In fact this aspect is tacit in the decision to allow these Test matches to be given three referrals instead of the normal two,” Asif believes.
Arguing further, Asif Iqbal adds, “If for some reason Elite Umpires are considered to be too precious to be asked to do their job, then at least have the third umpire and the match referee from neural countries.”
“If players, coaches, medical staff, managers and physios can be required to do their job under these admittedly difficult circumstances, why not regular match officials,” he asked.