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Series Editorial

Doull: Pope should be sanctioned for claiming he hit first-innings lbw

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Simon Doull, speaking on Sky Sports Cricket, suggested that Ollie Pope could be in trouble with match referee Chris Broad for his actions during his dismissal by Tim Southee in the first innings of the first England-New Zealand Test.

The England No.5 was given out lbw on review, with on-field umpire Michael Gough originally giving a ‘not out’ decision. Doull suggested Gough was influenced by Pope raising his bat towards him after being struck on the pad, in his opinion done to show that Pope had hit the ball.

“I don’t know if match referee Chris Broad will be taking a look at any of that afterwards,” the former New Zealand quick said during the fifth day’s play. “Ollie Pope’s shown his bat to umpire Michael Gough, who I’m sure has taken a little bit of that into consideration when he has said ‘not out’. He’s gestured up there: ‘No, I’ve shown you my bat, I’ve hit that’.”

Replays suggested Pope hadn’t hit the ball, with Hawk Eye projecting that the ball would have hit the stumps, and Pope was sent on his way.

“Fine him!” Doull continued. “Ban him from the next one! You’re not allowed to do it.”

While Doull’s suggestion that Pope should be banned from the next Test was made seemingly in jest, if the right-hander is to be charged under the ICC Code of Conduct, it would be under a serious offence. While ordinarily such a gesture, made after a decision, could be considered dissent, a minor misdemeanour incurring a level 1 or 2 penalty, given that Pope raised his bat before the umpire decision, that couldn’t apply.

Therefore, the only theoretical offence would be “Attempting to gain an unfair advantage during an international match”, which includes “deliberate attempts to deceive an umpire”. This is a level 3 offence, carrying an imposition of at least four suspension points, leading to a ban for two Test matches or four limited-overs internationals. The match referee would have to be satisfied that Pope’s gesture was an attempt to show he felt he had hit it, and that Pope knew he hadn’t hit it, something which DRS has shown isn’t always something batsmen are aware of.

Watch the moment at 3 minutes 34 seconds in the below highlights package.

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