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Harbhajan Singh Calls Out ‘Umpire’s Call’ Controversy in Pakistan’s Thrilling Defeat

The Debate Over DRS Rules and Umpiring Decisions Takes Center Stage in the World Cup 2023 Clash

Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh expressed displeasure with the ‘umpire’s call’ rule in the Decision Review System (DRS). He blamed ‘bad umpiring’ and ‘bad rules’ for Pakistan’s one-run defeat to South Africa in the World Cup 2023.

The controversial rule was spotlighted during the thrilling match at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Friday. Both teams faced some questionable decisions from the on-field and third umpires, which were influenced by the ‘umpire’s call’ rule.

What is the ‘umpire’s call’ rule?

The ‘umpire’s call’ rule is applied when the ball-tracking technology shows that the ball would have only clipped the stumps instead of hitting them fully. In such cases, the verdict depends on the on-field umpire’s call. This rule is meant to account for the margin of error in the technology.

However, this also means that the same ball can be ruled out or not out, depending on the on-field umpire’s decision. For example, if the on-field umpire gives it out, it will remain out even if the ball-tracking shows that it would have barely touched the stumps. On the other hand, if the on-field umpire gives it not out, then it will remain not out even if the ball-tracking shows that it would have clipped the stumps.

How did it affect the Pakistan vs South Africa match?

The ‘umpire’s call’ rule had a significant impact on the outcome of the match, which was decided by a single run. The third umpire gave out South Africa’s Rassie van der Dussen lbw after he reviewed the on-field decision. The ball-tracking showed that the ball was ‘umpire’s call’ on both impact and hitting. Since the on-field umpire gave him out, he had to return to the pavilion.

Pakistan also suffered a similar fate when they appealed for an LBW against South Africa’s Tabraiz Shamsi in the final over. The on-field umpire ruled it not out, and the ball-tracking showed that the ball was ‘umpire’s call’ on hitting. Since he was given not out by the on-field umpire, he survived and helped his team win by one run.

What did Harbhajan Singh say, and how did Graeme Smith respond?

Harbhajan Singh was not happy with the ‘umpire’s call’ rule and demanded that ICC should change it. He tweeted that if the ball hits the stump, it should be out regardless of what the umpire gave. He questioned the use of technology if it cannot give a clear verdict.

Harbhajan also argued with former South Africa captain Graeme Smith, who pointed out that van der Dussen was unlucky to be given out by the ‘umpire’s call’ rule. Harbhajan Singh replied that either technology or umpires should be used, not both. He said that in the same game, two balls hit the stump, but one was given out, and one was not. Harbhajan asked who was making mistakes, umpire or technology. He said they needed to decide which one to use.

Ankit Joshi

Ankit Joshi is a dedicated Sports Reporter at IndiaFocus with a deep passion for the world of sports and a commitment to delivering comprehensive and engaging coverage. With a keen… More »

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