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England v West Indies

Michael Holding: DRS saved umpires from accusations of cheating

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Speaking on Sky Sports Cricket, commentator Michael Holding discussed the string of mistakes made by the on-field umpires on the second day of the first Test between England and West Indies at the Ageas Bowl.

There were five decisions overturned on review, and all eventually went in favour of West Indies. Three lbw decisions were changed from ‘not out’ to ‘out’ by Jason Holder’s use of the referral system during England’s innings, while West Indies opener John Campbell was twice reprieved after being given ‘out’ before his eventual dismissal.

This is the first Test for which non-neutral umpires are standing since the ICC changed the regulations to allow home match officials to officiate to help mitigate the need for overseas travel during the Covid-19 pandemic. With non-elite panel umpires also allowed to stand, the number of unsuccessful DRS reviews allowed by each team per innings was upped to three to help make up for the lack of experience, and Holding said it was that move that saved Richard Illingworth and Richard Kettleborough from accusations of bias.

“A lot of what we saw yesterday shows us why DRS is so important and also why independent umpires are so important,” he said. “The perception that everyone would have had if we did not have DRS and we had these English umpires making bad decisions was that they were cheating. No one can tell me that those two umpires out there were deliberately making mistakes, it happens, but you want to get rid of the perception. People say, ‘Oh, two English umpires against the West Indies, they are deliberately biased.’”

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