|Ruling batsmen out LBW off the extended front leg is a joke
Appealing for leg before wicket decisions off a completely stretched front leg has been the latest fashion in international cricket and when such appeals are turned down by the umpires the bowler concerned acts with disgust.
Earlier such appeals were never tolerated and this writer who is a qualified umpire will recollect his superiors to name a few the late Dodwell Zoysa, Johnny Murray, Lucky Mayo, Clifford J. John, M. A. Jayasinghe, J. M. C. Jayasinghe and H. M. D. Jayasinghe) explain that such appeals couldnt be allowed at any cost if the batsmans front leg was completely stretched as the point of impact of the ball will be about 7 feet away from stumps (i.e.) the batting crease is 4 feet from the wickets and the outstretched batsmans leg will be another 3 feet away (a total of 7 ft).
In such an instance the head umpire concerned will have to be a genius to decide whether the ball will strike the wickets and rule the batsman out. Instead, the umpire should give the benefit of the doubt to the batsman on strike and just say not out.
But such an instance wouldnt apply in the case of a batsman playing a half cocked stroke by standing on the popping crease which is 4 feet away from the wickets. Then the umpire could decide for himself whether the ball would have hit the wickets or otherwise and make his decision. (whether it be either way).
In the first instance even if a batsman has deliberately padded the ball, it will be difficult for the umpire to decide if the ball would have hit the wickets. Even then the decision will be not out.
Such an incident was clearly seen by almost everyone when Indias skipper Ganguly while facing spinner Muralitharan had left his crease and walked down the pitch (a further 3ft) and padded the ball and the appeal for LBW made by the bowler was upheld by the umpire - a stupid decision made which even surprised the two TV Commentators. The batsman was so annoyed that he stayed his ground and stared at the umpire before finally leaving.
On the opening day of the Third and final Test an English station of ABC Radio in its 7.30 a.m. news broadcast announced that paceman Suresh Perera had been dropped and his place taken by the promising left handed batsman Michael Van Dort. Even the Daily of this newspaper had carried a bulletin that Van Dort will be wearing his test cap as confirmed by a high official of the Lankan team (who remained anonymous). But what happened? Van Dort was nowhere to be found as another off spinner Samaraweera and paceman Liyanage had been brought in.
It would have certainly been disappointing to young Van Dort who had earlier scored a fine century against the Indians in a Board Match and what was on everyones mind was that he would soon win his test cap as an opening batsman cum excellent fielder. All expected him to fit into the 2nd Test Team but the selectors had preferred an old horse instead.
It appears that Van Dort will have to become an allrounder if he is to be given the green light.
He stands well over 6 feet 8 inches and with his outstanding personality this writer would advise him to take up to spin bowling (presumably) with a variation and high loop as a leg spinner or even as an off spinner which with his height will bring to mind the tall South African off spinner Hugh Tayfield who performed with brilliance.
What many a cricket fan feels is that Jayasuriya is a brilliant opening batsman in the cowboy game but not so at Test level. His flashy approach will be suited to the fielding restrictions which have been introduced to Limited Overs matches as he possesses the ability to bash the ball around the ground. But his technique has been much to be desired as very often he attempts a stroke through the covers which results in the ball endind up at third man or square leg or bowling him. And when he attempts to pull on the leg side, very often the ball ends up on the off side.
Jayasuriya has been easy meet for any intelligent fast bowler and that factor was very visible against the South African pace battery.
Every good opening batsman will remember what his coach had taught him. The duty of opening batsmen at Test level or any other match (other than a limited overs match) is to see the sheen off the red cherry and graft their runs in the early stages and later increase the tempo once they have got a good sight of the ball.
On the 2nd day of the current Test Jayasuriya while facing off spinner Harbajan Singh was caught at silly mid off after the ball had gone off his bat and boot. But the fielders appeal was turned down by the umpire. Also why didnt the umpire clear all doubts by, referring to the third umpire?
Another important question many would ask is how many gentlemen are there in the game?
In that particular instance the batsman mention clearly knew that he was out and it would have been nice to see the captain of a team walking to the pavilion despite the error made by the umpire. If the batsman walked off it would have been an act par excellence and the whole world would have praised him. But it didnt happen. In comparison in the 2nd Test an Indian batsman well on the way to his century, had walked off after he was caught at silly mid off - off bat and pad (without waiting for the umpires decision). Its nice to see more gentlemen in the game.
Umpiring bloomers are continuing to haunt the cricket arena. Two errors have been mentioned earlier in this story and up to the time of writing this bulletin yet another bloomer was noted on the 2nd day when a Sri Lankan centurian was given out caught off his pad and chest. All three bloomers were made by one and the same umpire.
Does that umpire disregard the presence of a third umpire whose services are freely available. (R.L.F)
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