What’s the story?
International Cricket Council (ICC) match referee Chris Broad who came under a lot of fire recently has been replaced for the last two India-Australia Tests by former West Indies skipper Richie Richardson. However, the body has revealed that the decision was as per schedule and not taken suddenly.
"There is no sudden change. Chris (Broad) was always supposed to referee in the first two Tests, while Richie Richardson was appointed for the last two Tests," an ICC spokesperson said.
In case you did not know
Chris Broad was acting as the match referee for the first two Tests between India and Australia. After losing the first Test in Pune, India bounced back strongly in the second game at Bengaluru. Chasing a target of 188, the Australians were struggling at 74/3 in their second innings when a Umesh Yadav delivery kept low and struck Aussie captain Steve Smith right in front of the stumps.
But Smith instead of consulting his partner Peter Handscomb for the review chose to turn around and look at the dressing room to pick up hints, however, the onfield umpires egged on by Indian captain Virat Kohli intervened and sent Smith on his way.
It was expected that Broad being the match referee would take a stern action against Smith but that wasn’t to be. He, therefore, drew a lot of criticism from the media and legends of the game like Sunil Gavaskar who said sarcastically that Broad didn’t see anything wrong with Smith’s behaviour.
The heart of the matter
Not only Broad has been replaced, the umpires for the remaining two matches have also been changed. The new umpires are England's Ian Gould and New Zealand's Chris Gaffaney. However, Nigel Llong who was a field umpire in Pune and Bangalore will officiate as a TV umpire in Ranchi.
The Third Test match will start in Ranchi on Thursday after a week-long gap during which the players took some much-needed rest and celebrated Holi.
Since it is turning out to be quite a high voltage series, it remains to be seen how both umpires and the other officials go about their business in such a pressure cooker situation. In such times mistakes are bound to happen, so we cannot expect errorless umpiring in the upcoming games.
Even if the ICC have named the new officials as per their plans, it was a necessary step as the officials from the first two Test matches too needed a break after some rough times in harsh conditions.