Sky Sports Cricket commentator Michael Holding defended the umpires after England and West Indies were forced to leave the field on the second day of the first Test between the sides at the Ageas Bowl due to bad light.
The decision was lambasted by fans on social media, and Holding’s fellow commentator Nasser Hussain suggested it was something the ICC should have a look at, especially at grounds where floodlights are in operation.
“To the letter of the law I don’t blame these umpires at all because they’re just following the ICC protocol that’s been in place for years,” said Hussain. “You take a [light] reading, obviously a red ball you view slightly differently under lights. But put all of that behind you and just turn up to a cricket ground, the light goes poor, you turn the lights on, and then you walk off for bad lights. Just try and explain that to someone sat at home. It just makes no sense at all.
“Everything that’s gone into this Test series, players going in a bio-secure bubble, West Indies coming over for quarantine, hand sanitisers all over the place, no saliva on the ball, extra DRS, home umpires, everything else that they’ve been flexible on and that they’ve put in place, the one thing they can’t be flexible on is the lights are on, please stay on. We’ve missed enough sport, we’ve missed enough cricket. It makes no sense at all ICC. Just have a little bit of common sense that we’ve waited a long time for this, just stay on when the lights come on.”
Holding however cited the safety concerns posed, citing the extra pace of England fast bowlers Jofra Archer and Mark Wood as a reason to be especially cautious about the dangers of poor visibility.
“It’s a difficult situation,” Holding said. “It’s good to say you want to have cricket, but what you’ve got to remember is Archer and Wood, these guys have got serious pace, and if the umpires think, ‘Oh it’s a little bit dicey but we want to get as much cricket as possible’, and they stay out there and somebody gets hit, somebody gets a blow and they say it was a little bit dim and they could not pick the ball up, that’s going to create a bit of controversy. It’s all a matter of people being too litigious, of libel cases and people calling lawyers. That’s the world we are living in. You just have to live in it and accept it.”