West Indies’ Twenty20 International captain Carlos Brathwaite reacted strongly to on-field umpire Tanvir Ahmed erroneously calling a no-ball off Oshane Thomas and even said that he was prepared to risk sanctions for protesting against it and holding up play for eight minutes.
The incident occurred in the fourth over of Bangladesh’s 191 chase, when Tanvir wrongly pulled up Thomas for overstepping. Replays later confirmed that Thomas had some part of his foot behind the line.
After Liton Das miscued the ball to mid-off, West Indies wanted to review the on-field not-out decision, only to be told by match referee Jeff Crowe that they couldn’t opt for it, as it was confirmed that the delivery wasn’t a no-ball only after they had heard from their dressing room.
The laws about reviewing state-:
• 3.1.1 A player may request a review of any decision taken by the on-field umpires concerning whether or not a batsman is dismissed, with the exception of ‘Timed Out’ (Player Review)
• 3.1.2 No other decisions made by the umpires are eligible for a Player Review with the exception of Fair Catch/Bump Ball (even after the third umpire has been consulted and the decision communicated).
The incident came minutes after Tanvir had called another no-ball off Thomas erroneously, off the fifth delivery in the fourth over. The free-hits of both no-balls were hit for sixes.
“Sanctions may come and go, but if you don’t stand for something, you fall for everything,” Brathwaite said at the post-match press conference. “If the sanctions are to be handed, I would gladly take it. My team-mates need to be stood up for and as the captain of the ship, I will stand up for them.”
Brathwaite said that he had already informed Crowe about the dubious umpiring decisions during the series after the second Twenty20 International on Thursday December 20th 2018.
During that game, umpire Tanvir and Gazi Sohel had given one lbw decision each, though both were off inside edges. West Indies managed to overturn the on-field calls successfully both times after opting for reviews.
“I went to the match referee after the second game. I didn’t think the 50-50 decisions were going in our favour,” Brathwaite said. “Those decisions went for Bangladesh. I never ever want to accuse someone of cheating. I will stop short of that. They are professionals as well. I don’t think they would go out there to be biased or, for lack of a better word, cheat.
“I didn’t accuse them of cheating but I made my point clear to the match referee that every 50-50 decision in the ODI series and T20I series up to that point went against us. Traditionally, we haven’t played the best cricket, whether red or white ball. But I found that every time I have been playing for the West Indies, the decisions have hampered us. It happened earlier in the fourth over, so a point needed to be made.”
Brathwaite explained that he was asking Crowe about what the laws say about reviewing in that intense discussion and said that he had to take the responsibility by taking a stand for his team.
“Everyone saw that it was not a no-ball,” he said. “For a young man who is inexperienced, Oshane Thomas was under the pump. To finally get a dismissal but the ball has gone to your name as free-hit, to bowl the extra ball with an extra run, obviously it messed his mindset. As captain I had to take fall for the team. I had to make a stance not just for myself or the team but for West Indies cricket.”
Brathwaite also clarified that he had not planned to take his team off the field and had instead asked Crowe for five minutes to allow his team to regroup. “I must commend the match referee,” he said. “After we had some stern words, it was resolved. We worked too hard for my team to walk off the field or forfeit the game or series. The decision was to stay on, fight on and finish the game.
“But I also asked the match referee for five minutes that our team can get their head around playing a cricket game, forget the debacle that has just happened, get past the event and let us just finish the remaining 16 overs. Thankfully it was allowed.”
While Brathwaite said that making the third umpire check every delivery for a no-ball will “hamper the pace of play”, this incident in Mirpur has reopened the debate about laws.
“I think the pace of play is important. As teams we often take longer to finish the overs,” he said. “I haven’t given it a serious thought but off the top of my mind, if we check every single ball, it may hamper the pace of play. There must be more strategic ways to do these things.
“I don’t know what all the rules are pertaining to reviews so I don’t want to tell them how to do their job. But it can be looked at. The laws may be put into question after this incident.”