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SA vs Ban 2022 – 1st Test – ‘Might be chasing 180 instead of 270’

Bangladesh team director Khaled Mahmud called the umpiring in the Durban Test “inconsistent”, adding that Bangladesh could have been “chasing 180 instead of 270” had the decisions gone their way.

Following Shakib Al Hasan‘s tweet, which called for the ICC to reinstate neutral umpires – home-side umpires have been officiating since the Covid-19 pandemic began – Bangladesh selector Habibul Bashar also joined the criticism chorus, pointing out that many umpiring decisions over the course of the game had not gone in their favour.

Bangladesh made lbw appeals on multiple occasions during South Africa’s second innings, especially in the first two sessions. They opted for a review when Dean Elgar was given not out on the field by umpire Marais Erasmus in the fifth over after being hit on his back leg. But he survived on umpire’s call as ball-tracking showed that the ball was only clipping off stump.

Then, in the 19th over of the innings, Bangladesh successfully overturned Adrian Holdstock’s not-out decision for an lbw against Sarel Erwee. According to ESPNcricinfo’s ball-by-ball commentary, it “looked so out to the naked eye and it was a surprise that the on-field call was not given despite a screeching appeal”.

In the 26th over, Khaled Ahmed was denied an lbw decision against Keegan Petersen. Bangladesh didn’t take that review but replays showed that it would have hit the stumps and would have been out had the review been taken.

“There was no hiding from the [poor] umpiring in today’s play,” Mahmud said. “A number of decisions went against us. We also missed out on a wicket when the boys seemed scared of taking a review. If we got those decisions, we might be chasing 180 instead of 270. To be really honest, I have seen such inconsistency in umpiring after a long time. But the umpires are the best judge on the field. We have to accept the decisions.”

Shakib, currently not with the team because of personal reasons, had tweeted during the match saying that ICC should bring back neutral umpires since the Covid-19 situation had improved in many cricket-playing countries.

“I totally agree with Shakib,” Bashar said. “Since Covid protocols are all but over, we should go back to neutral umpires. Umpires make mistakes but definitely neutral umpires ensure everyone gets the advantage. We have seen that on and off in this series. The DRS is certainly helpful but the umpire’s call isn’t really going in our favour.

“When you have a neutral umpire in the middle, even if he makes a mistake, you don’t think it is deliberate. We have seen many decisions in this series which could have gone our way, but didn’t.”

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