Porterfield reprimanded for criticising umpire

Ireland captain William Porterfield has been officially reprimanded for criticising umpire Asoka de Silva’s decision to give Gary Wilson out lbw in Ireland’s loss to West Indies in Mohali last Friday. Porterfield’s statements were deemed to be in breach of the section of the ICC’s Code of Conduct that relates to “public criticism of, or inappropriate comment in relation to, an incident occurring in an international match or any player, player support personnel or match official”.

He was given the minimum penalty of a warning, but Roshan Mahanama, the match referee for the game, decided not to impose a fine in light of the fact that it was Porterfield’s first such offence. “Although it may not be unusual for a captain to feel aggrieved or frustrated by what he feels is a rough decision, it does not give him any right to criticise the umpire as William did,” Mahanama said in explanation of his decision.

Wilson, who was batting on 61, reviewed de Silva’s decision, and replays showed that the ball had hit the pad outside off stump. However, de Silva stuck to his original decision, even after protests from Wilson – who saw the replays on the big screen – asked for a second look at the decision. Porterfield said after the game that he did not understand why it had been given out.

“The feedback we have got so far is that the ball hit him outside the line and the umpire judged him [to be] not playing a shot. I don’t know how many people agree with that,” Porterfield had said. “The word we are getting at the minute is the umpire went back upstairs to check if he hit the ball before the impact on the pad and if it was pad first, or bat first. Surely if you are asking if it was pad first or bat first, you know he is playing a shot. In my opinion they got it wrong.”

The DRS rules state that when an ‘out’ decision is being reviewed, “the evidence provided by technology should show that no part of the ball at the moment of interception is between wicket and wicket,” in order for it to be judged to be hitting outside the line. This was the case with Wilson, which means de Silva’s only reason for giving it out could have been that Wilson was not playing a shot.

The ICC, however, have not given any confirmation of why de Silva refused to reverse his decision, with Mahanama instead citing the importance of respecting the on-field umpire’s decision. “The umpire’s decision is final and it is a long-standing pillar of our game that the match officials should receive absolute respect for their decisions,” he said.

de Silva has had to change several of his decisions in the tournament so far after teams have reviewed them. In the game between South Africa and Netherlands in Mohali, he got two seemingly simple decisions wrong. He initially gave Peter Borren not out and had to reverse the call when replays showed the balls was hitting middle stump, and he then failed to see an inside-edge onto the pad from Bas Zuiderent. Before that, in the game between Australia and Zimbabwe in Ahmedabad, he had to overturn two of his decisions: first when Brad Haddin was struck on the back foot in front of middle stump and he gave it not out, and then when Craig Ervine was apparently plumb and he again decided not to raise the finger.


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