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“I doubt if the 2019 World Cup final officials ever gave a test on Cricket laws” – Daryl Harper

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Daryl Harper

Former ICC Elite Panel Umpire from Australia, and one of Cricket’s most recognized faced of the yester-generation, Daryl Harper joined The Sports Doyen for an exclusive conversation. In a discussion wherein a lot of subjects were touched upon, Mr. Harper went on to take a harsh dig at the officials who were in charge of the 2019 World Cup Final.

In the final over of the second innings during the 2019 World Cup, a throw from deep deflected off Ben Stokes’ bat and ran away towards the boundary. Stokes, who was on his way to complete a second run, was awarded six runs and as a result, England’s required equation shortened from “9 needed in 3 balls” to “3 needed in 2 balls”.

Plenty of former umpires and referees went on to state that only five runs should’ve been awarded in that scenario, as the second run wasn’t yet completed. Adding to it, ideally, Ben Stokes should not have been on strike for the fifth delivery of that over.

“I have a very strong opinion on this. The problem came with the throw coming in from the outfield and the time at which the ball was thrown. I don’t believe any of the umpires or the referee involved in that match (2019 World Cup final) had probably ever sat for a test on the Laws of Cricket,” Harper said.

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“Cricketers-turned-umpires don’t necessarily go through all the Tests”

Harper went on to add that former cricketers who picked up umpiring as a profession might not have the same pathway towards the top level as he did during his early days.

“I’ve always called myself a garden variety umpire because I picked it (umpiring) and went to the courses, I had an exam on the laws every season for 20 years. So my knowledge of the laws just had to be sharp. 

But players that have played Test Cricket or First-class Cricket who come into the umpiring scene, they don’t necessarily have to go through the same pathway. Nothing against them, they had wonderful careers as players, you can’t just dump someone into a job and expect them to know the laws intricately. That is one law, I’m sure, none of them knew,” Harper added.

“Third umpire or referee should’ve intervened”

Kumar Dharmasena signalling “six runs” for the overthrow during the final over of the 2019 World Cup final. (Image Source: Twitter)

He also went on to add that in a situation like these, the officials should act as a group and help each other out, which did not happen during such a crunch moment of the game.

“There was a suggestion that the referee or the third umpire could not intervene because they hadn’t been called upon. Well, any umpire worth his salt that once the game starts, you’re in it as a group. You’re there to help each other out at every opportunity. 

So a fact that they weren’t asked for support or advice on that crucial issue, I think, is absolute nonsense. It is a matter of fact that all the officials were former First-class or Test players, they did not know that law. They can challenge me on that one but it seems so obvious to millions of umpires around the world that it was a lack of knowledge. 

Unfortunately for New Zealand, they almost certainly missed out on winning the World Cup. We don’t know what was going to happen but Stokes wouldn’t have been on strike and I think it would’ve been a different result,” he said.

Watch the full interview here: 

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