Neutral umpires to be re-introduced soon, confirms ICC chairman

Umpires from host countries have been used since 2020 when the pandemic posed travel restrictions.

Marais Erasmus and Adrian Holdstock were recently accused of biased umpiring | GettyThe International Cricket Council (ICC) will soon get back to the route of neutral umpires even though the Covid-19 pandemic is providing exposure to home umpires, chairman Greg Barclay confirmed on Monday (May 23).

“There were some benefits (of Covid) for cricket,” Barclay told reporters in Dhaka, as quoted by AFP.

“One of them was the chance to use umpires at home. It has given home umpires some exposure to international cricket.

“I think that’s good. It spread the base a little bit wider. But, we are at the other side of Covid. So we are reintroducing neutral umpire arrangement... You will see neutral umpires back up and running again,” he said.

The idea of employing home umpires came into effect in 2020 when the pandemic led to worldwide travel restrictions.

The arrangement drew criticism during Bangladesh’s recent tour of South Africa when the visitors accused the local umpires of being biased.

South Africa’s Marais Erasmus and Adrian Holdstock were the two on-field umpires in the Test series, where Bangladesh had been at the receiving end of several close calls.

Subsequently, Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) said it would lodge official complaints to ICC match referee manager over claims of biased umpiring and "unbearable" sledging.

Bangladesh partially restored neutral umpiring in the country's ongoing Test series against Sri Lanka as it appointed England's Richard Kettleborough and West Indies’ Joel Wilson alongside local umpire Sharfuddoula.

(With AFP inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 24 May, 2022

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