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Watch: The viral Nasser Hussain explanation of why DRS needs umpire’s call

The viral Nasser Hussain explanation of umpire's call
by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

A 2021 video of Nasser Hussain explaining why the Decision Review System needs the umpire call has gone viral after Ben Stokes‘ recent comments suggesting that umpire’s call needs to be done away with.

Following England’s record 434-run defeat in the 2024 Rajkot Test, and referring to Zak Crawley’s lbw decision in the second innings, Stokes said the umpire’s call should be scrapped when reviewing lbw decisions, in order to create a “level playing field”.

Hussain’s explanation for Sky Sports, now doing the rounds on social media, had come days after Virat Kohli – during England’s 2021 tour of India – said that the umpires call causes a “lot of confusion”, indicating that the game could do without it and be made much simpler.

What Virat Kohli said about the umpire’s call in 2021

“Look, I have played a long time when then there was no DRS, right? If the umpire made a decision, whether the batsman liked it or not, it stayed like that; vice-versa if the umpire gave him not out and it was out it stayed like that whether it was marginal or not,” Kohli said ahead of the 2021 India-England ODI series.

Kohli was seen remonstrating with the umpires after an lbw call went England’s way during the second Test of the tour in Chennai.

“According to me, umpire’s call right now is creating a lot of confusion. When you get bowled, as a batsman you don’t expect the ball to hit more than 50 percent of the stumps to consider yourself bowled. So when the ball is shown as clipping the stumps, the bails are going to fall.

“So, from basic cricket common sense, I don’t think that there should be any debates on that. If the ball is clipping the stumps, it should be out – whether you like it or not you lose the review. And that is how simple the game has to be: if it hits the stumps or it misses the stumps, it doesn’t matter how much it is hitting and those kind of things. Because it is creating a lot of confusion.”

How Hussain explained the umpire’s call in response to Kohli

Speaking on Sky with footage clips from England’s tour of Sri Lanka earlier that year, Hussain explained the need for umpire’s call in an lbw decision.

Hussain explained: “Virat said: ‘If the ball is hitting the stumps, it is hitting the stumps’ … But actually, Virat, that ball has never hit the stumps. That is a prediction. The ball has hit the pad. The technology, with its range of error in there, is predicting that it might well hit the stumps. It never actually hits the stumps. That’s the difference, and that’s why you need the margin of error and that’s why you need the umpire’s call.

“It’s not there to back up the umpire, it’s to give the margin of error for technology. If it didn’t have that, and you had umpire’s call as out…”

Hussain went on to make impact points for the ball hitting the stumps an inch on each side of the actual impact. He explained how the margin of error would increase the area of expected impact on the stumps to be “higher and wider”.

“That is a massive target now for your pad. I am gonna, as a captain, when I see something like that I will have Stuart Broad appeal for everything, I am reviewing everything. And umpires will give virtually everything out because they think it will be clipping, and we will have more two-day Tests like we have recently seen.”

What Stokes said after the 2024 Rajkot Test

England captain Ben Stokes called for the umpire’s call to be scrapped in the aftermath of Zak Crawley’s contentious lbw dismissal during the Rajkot Test.

During England’s chase of 556, Crawley was given out lbw off Jasprit Bumrah by Kumar Dharmasena. Crawley reviewed, but Dharmasena’s decision stayed, even though the predicted path on the graphic seemingly suggested that the ball would have just missed the stumps, instead of just clipping.

He later clarified with match referee Jeff Crowe, who admitted that there was some error in the graphic, but the right decision had been relayed.

“I think you just want some kind of level playing field,” Stokes said. “The umpires have an incredibly hard job as it is, especially out in India where the ball is spinning and bouncing and sometimes not. My personal opinion is that if the ball’s hitting the stumps, the ball’s hitting the stumps.

“I think you should take away umpire’s call if I’m being perfectly honest, but I don’t want to get too much into it because then it sounds like we’re moaning about that as why we lost.”

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