West Indies swashbuckling opening batsman Chris Gayle was given out on what should have been a free hit in one of several questionable decisions made by umpire Chris Gaffaney early on in the second innings of the tenth match in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
Chasing Australia’s first innings total of 288 at Trent Bridge, Gayle made an eventful 21 off 17 deliveries before he was given out leg before wicket to Mitchell Starc, whose yorker struck the southpaw low on the shin. Gayle reviewed for the third time in his short innings, but the replay showed the ball clipping leg stump on umpire’s call and Gayle was sent back to the pavilion.
But the TV replays showed that Starc had overstepped on the previous delivery – which, at 151.5kph, was close to being the fastest ball of the World Cup so far – and, if Gaffaney had correctly called the no-ball, the wicket delivery would have been a free hit.
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Gayle’s first review came in the third over, when he drove late at Starc and was given caught behind by Gaffaney. But, incredibly, the distinct sound of ball on the willow did not come from Gayle’s bat but from the ball kissing the stumps; it failed to dislodge the bails.
Two balls later, Gayle was given lbw to another Starc yorker, but the decision was overturned once again when the replays showed the ball pitching outside leg stump and going down leg side.
In a span of two overs, Gayle referred to the third umpire on three occasions before he got unlucky on the third attempt.
Well, this is not for the first time that such umpiring howlers have procured the unnecessary limelight. With ICC being the apex body of cricket, it is absolute disgrace that a global event, despite being played under such a greater influence of technology, is not able to rectify minimal human errors, which can cost any side a game.