Umpire Richard Illingworth had wrongly called a no-ball for the delivery that had Adam Voges bowled © Getty Images
Reviews of erroneous no-ball calls like that one that reprieved Adam Voges in Wellington have been debated and overruled by the ICC cricket committee, on the basis that the batsman should not be judged on how he played a ball that was ruled illegal before he did so.
The cricket committee debates emerged in the aftermath of Voges’ fortunate escape in the final over of the day, when he shouldered arms to Doug Bracewell only to be relieved to see the sight of Richard Illingworth‘s outstretched arm signalling an illegal delivery. Replays showed that Bracewell had not actually overstepped, but there is no recourse for players to ask that the on-field umpire’s call be checked.
Amid widespread dismay at the sequence of events, ESPNcricinfo has learned that the scenario was the subject of discussion at the cricket committee on more than one occasion. A consistent view was maintained that the batsman’s action in playing or not playing the ball has to be considered influenced by the call and thus “inadmissable” as a dismissal.
“It’s an illegal delivery from the moment the umpire calls it, and the batsman plays it under that assumption,” an ICC official said. “[We have] debated this scenario at cricket committee a number of times and each time it concluded that it is not reasonable to retrospectively tell the batsman he was facing a legal delivery, when it was an illegal delivery at the time he played it.”
This state of affairs has been complicated for some years by the advent of the front foot no-ball law, which reduced considerably the amount of time between the umpire’s no-ball call and the batsman having to play the delivery. Judging the batsman’s intent is thus very difficult, but the inability of the umpires to reverse a no-ball call is clear in the minds of the game’s custodians.
The ICC cricket committee is composed of a wide group of players and officials, including the chairman Anil Kumble, ICC chairman Shashank Manohar, chief executive David Richardson, Andrew Strauss, Mark Taylor, Kumar Sangakkara, L Sivaramakrishnan, Darren Lehmann, David White, Steve Davis, Ranjan Madugalle, Kevin O’Brien, Ravi Shastri, Clare Connor and the MCC’s John Stephenson.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo