Watch: On-field umpiring in the 2020/21 BBL was under the spotlight once again after Usman Khawaja survived a seemingly plumb LBW call during the knockout game between Sydney Thunder and Brisbane Heat in Canberra on Sunday.
The incident occurred in the very first over of Thunder’s innings, who were put in to bat by Heat. Khawaja, opening alongside Alex Hales, was facing Xavier Barlett when the fifth delivery pitched on the off and middle stump and shaped slightly back in, missing his bat and hitting him on the front pad. The Heat fielders appealed, but the umpire turned it down.
Like several others, Adam Gilchrist, the on-air commentator, couldn’t quite believe that Khawaja had survived the call. “Front on and live, I thought (that it was) definitely out,” he was heard saying.
Ball-tracking by the broadcasters also showed that the ball would have comfortably crashed into the top half of the middle stump. “Wow, you don’t get much out than that,” Ricky Ponting was quoted as saying by 7Cricket. On a tweet of the video posted by 7Cricket, Luke Wright commented: “not again”.
The Big Bash League has been widely panned for not employing the DRS [Decision Review System] for the two-month-long tournament that has been fraught with umpiring inconsistencies. On Saturday, Mitchell Marsh was fined $5000 for dissent after appearing to yell in frustration at the on-field umpire, following a dubious caught-behind decision.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) January 31, 2021