Ponting calls for cricket to ditch neutral umpires

SYDNEY • Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting yesterday called for cricket to ditch its requirement to have neutral umpires after a number of incorrect decisions in the first Test of the Ashes series in England.

Aleem Dar of Pakistan and West Indian Joel Wilson have drawn criticism after some of their calls were overturned by the review system during the opening days at Edgbaston. Australia were bowled out for 284, with England 10 for no loss at stumps. The hosts led by 90 runs after the first innings yesterday.

Ponting, who is part of the Marylebone Cricket Club's (MCC) influential cricket committee, said he would ensure the matter is discussed at its next meeting.

"It's already been spoken about a lot among the players. If it's not brought up (at that next MCC meeting), I'll make sure it's added to the agenda," he told the Cricket Australia website.

"I would like to think the game has come far enough now for the game to not have neutral umpires.

"People might say that with all the technology we've got now, it doesn't matter that much. But it's not a good spectacle when pretty obviously wrong decisions are made."

Umpiring standards were questioned after the World Cup final between England and New Zealand at Lord's last month, with Ben Stokes erroneously awarded an extra run by the standing umpires in the final over of the hosts' chase.

England went on to win the match by total boundaries scored after a tied super over.

The International Cricket Council mandated the use of neutral umpires in 2002.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 04, 2019, with the headline 'Ponting calls for cricket to ditch neutral umpires'. Print Edition | Subscribe