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WTC Final: Review Against Virat Kohli Leaves Sehwag and Fans Confused, but Umpires Were Perfectly Right

Photo: AP

Photo: AP

An umpire's review of a caught behind appeal against Virat Kohli left fans, and some former cricketers including Virender Sehwag, confused

An umpire’s review of a caught behind appeal against Virat Kohli left fans, and some former cricketers including Virender Sehwag, confused on social media in the ICC World Test Championship final between India and New Zealand in Southampton. The incident happened in the last ball of the 41st over when Trent Boult appealed for a caught behind decision down leg side off Kohli.

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The bowling end umpire Richard Illingworth was unsure whether the wicketkeeper BJ Watling had taken the catch cleanly, and thus consulted with the striker end umpire Michael Gough. As per due process, they then took an umpire’s review, checking with the third umpire. An umpire’s review is different from a player’s review, as the name suggests.

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The third umpire then saw replays and used technology to find that Kohli had not even edged the ball, thus it remained not out. While Indian fans would have breathed a sigh of relief, they were also wondering if the umpire review helped New Zealand save up one of their player reviews. Had the umpires not checked upstairs, NZ would have opted for DRS (player review) and thus ended up losing a review.

In specific, questions were raised as to how the third umpire can check if the batsman had nicked the ball. However, the playing conditions of the game clearly says that there was nothing wrong in what the umpires did.

Here’s an excerpt from the relevant part of the playing conditions:

“2.2.2 Should both on-field umpires require assistance from the third umpire to make a decision, the bowler’s end umpire shall firstly take a decision on-field after consulting with the striker’s end umpire, before consulting by two-way radio with the third umpire. Such consultation shall be initiated by the bowler’s end umpire to the third umpire by making the shape of a TV screen with his/her hands, followed by a Soft Signal of Out or Not out made with the hands close to the chest at chest height. If the third umpire advises that the replay evidence is inconclusive, the on-field decision communicated at the start of the consultation process shall stand.

2.2.3 The third umpire shall determine whether the batsman has been caught, whether the delivery was a Bump Ball, or if the batsman obstructed the field. However, in reviewing the television replay(s), the third umpireshall first check the fairness of the delivery for all decisions involving a catch (all modes of No ball except for (i) in respect of the front foot, which shall already have been checked in accordance with clause 21.5;

and 82(ii) the bowler using an Illegal Bowling Action, subject to the proviso that the third umpire may review whether the bowler has used a prohibited Specific Variation under Article 6.2 of the Illegal Bowling Regulations) and whether the batsman has hit the ball."

Thus, it’s clear that due process was followed.

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first published:June 19, 2021, 19:18 IST