England umpire Michael Gough has been banned for six days by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after breaching the bio-secure bubble in the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021.
Gough was appointed to follow his duties for the Sunday night fixture between India and New Zealand, but Marais Erasmus replaced him following confirmation that he had stepped outside of selected areas for officials at the tournament.
Gough had previously officiated the games between Australia vs South Africa and New Zealand vs Pakistan during the Super 12 stage of the multi-team tournament.
For the unversed, umpires, just like players, have to face an isolation period if they leave the bubble environments in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Moreover, anyone who tests positive at the tournament will have to isolate for 10 days, even if they have no symptoms whatsoever. Further, any close contacts – defined as being within two metres of the infected individual for over 15 minutes – will have to isolate for six days.
“The Bio-Security Advisory Committee has instructed Umpire Michael Gough to isolate for six days due to a breach of the event bio-security protocols,” said an ICC spokesperson as quoted by Mirror.
When it comes to Gough’s return, as long as he continues to test negative for Covid-19, he will be allowed to return to officiating later this week. However, the governing body is still to decide whether he may face any further sanction by the ICC.
Notably, Gough – the former Durham opening batsman – is regarded as one of the best umpires in the cricketing world. In April 2020, he was cited as the umpire with the highest percentage of on-field decisions upheld after a player review with 95.1 per cent correct.
Not only this, in June this year, Gough was also one of the on-field umpires for the iconic ICC World Test Championship (WTC) Final held between India and New Zealand.