Umpiring and the Decision Review System [DRS] came under the scanner yet again, when Aleem Dar, the third umpire in the Australia-New Zealand Boxing Day Test, drew the ire of former cricketers after a questionable decision on day three at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The point of contention was a caught-behind, off Mitchell Santner’s glove, after the all-rounder had attempted to fend away a Mitchell Starc bouncer to leg slip in the 37th over. The Australians appealed, believing that the glove, or the wristband attached to it, was in contact when the ball pinged Santner, but on-field umpire Marais Erasmus withheld the appeal. Paine took little time to refer it to Aleem Dar, the third umpire.
Slow-motion replays showed the ball to be seemingly hitting the wristband before gliding over the arm guard – the wristband distinctly moved and tugged upwards upon impact – but Dar thought otherwise, retaining Erasmus’ decision. Santner, then on 0 off 2 balls, hung around for another 30 balls.
'Gloved or not gloved' is the question…
— ICC (@ICC) December 28, 2019
Dar’s umpiring did not go down well with Ricky Ponting, who was serving as the broadcaster’s commentator. “That has been missed by the third umpire, absolutely as plain as day … if you can’t get that right, then you shouldn’t be doing it,” he said.
“[The sweatband] clearly moves before it goes into the forearm guard. That, in my opinion, is conclusive evidence.”
Ponting’s former teammate, Mark Waugh, also took to Twitter to denounce the call. “That is a very poor decision by the third umpire”, Waugh’s tweets read. “You can clearly see the band on the top of the glove moving after the ball brushed it. That type of decision is exactly why DRS is used in the game.”
That is a very poor decision by the third umpire. You can clearly see the band on the top of the glove moving after the ball brushed it. That type of decision is exactly why DRS is used in the game.
— Mark Waugh (@juniorwaugh349) December 28, 2019
Shane Warne, too, joined the debate, stressing that the third umpire should have taken his time and analysed other angles before making the final call. “The sweatband clearly moved and it should have been overturned,” Warne was quoted as saying by foxsports.com.au. “Sometimes, the umpires get it wrong, but I don’t think Dar sees enough of the vision either. He should have asked for more angles before making his decision, and I believe he got it wrong.”
Dar’s umpiring howler came just a day after Australia captain Tim Paine panned the DRS system for its inconsistencies, having been at the receiving end of a disputable call that halted him on 79 in the first innings.
As for Dar, who broke the record for most matches as a Test umpire earlier this week, it has been two difficult days of unbridled criticism.