Former England captain Nasser Hussain said he agrees with Ben Stokes’s take on Zak Crawley’s controversial LBW call in the 3rd Test against India, but does not back the England skipper’s take on doing away with umpire’s call in cricket. Hussain’s comments came after Stokes expressed his disappointment with how Crawley was given out in England’s final innings in Rajkot as the ball-tracking visuals seemingly showed the ball missing the stumps in the 9th over.
The Decision Review System (DRS) has been a topic of debate, particularly concerning the controversial ‘umpire’s call’. Stokes’s critique wasn’t just a fleeting comment; it was a firm stance against what he perceived as an inconsistency within the game’s rules that could potentially affect the fairness of the outcome.
Crawley was given out on the field and the DRS review upheld the on-field call. The umpire’s call stood, but replays suggested that the ball was missing the stumps by the barest of margins. Stokes later explained that the match referee told him that the ball was hitting the stumps based on DRS calculations even though the visual did not suggest so.
Stokes argued that if the ball is shown hitting the stumps, regardless of the percentage, it should conclusively result in the batsman being given out.
“Technology can be fallible but I’ve always been very strong on the fact I like the DRS and I also like the umpire’s call. Look at the shemozzle with VAR in football. It’s just not like that in cricket. Stokes and others like Virat Kohli may want to get rid of it but umpire’s call is not there to protect the officials it’s there because of the margin of error in the technology,” Nasser Hussain said in his Daily Mail column.
“Bear in mind, also, there have been a couple of changes in the system and the ball can now clip the top of the bails. The lbws for Ollie Pope and Zak Crawley in the third Test did look high but they have increased the height by 1.3 centimetres. One thing I will agree on with Ben. He said the visual of Crawley’s dismissal showed the ball missing the stumps. If that’s the case you can’t have that,” he added.
Notably, the sentiment was echoed by former India captain Virat Kohli, who had previously criticized the umpire’s call for creating confusion among players. Kohli’s argument centered around the logic that if a ball is shown to be clipping the stumps, it should be enough to consider the bails dislodged, thereby simplifying the decision-making process.
England were bundled out for just 122 in the final innings of the Rajkot Test after hometown hero Ravindra Jadeja picked up a 5-wicket haul. The visitors lost by 434 runs, their biggest margin of defeat by runs since World War II.
However, England have remained upbeat about fighting back in the series and producing a favourable result in the 4th Test, starting February 23 in Ranchi.