Cameron Greene ended the world of cricket after scoring two extraordinary victories in the World Test Championship final at The Oval to take Australia a step closer to their maiden ICC Test title.
Diving low to the left at gully to edge India’s Shubman Gill, Greene’s action surprised a cacophony of Australians on social media appreciating the difficulty of moving a two-metre frame as quickly as he did.
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For Indian fans, Green committed a huge sin – he caught the ball as it hit the ground, and therefore cheated.
Indeed, Indian fans who watched the replay and saw the ball hit the ground chanted “cheating” when Green started bowling.
The on-field umpires gave the decision to Richard Kettleborough, who was in his 110th and 32nd Test as a TV umpire.
As a three-time ICC referee of the year, Kettleborough’s credentials and opinion should, in theory, be beyond reproach.
So much so that social media controversy erupted: Why was Green’s catch deemed fair and Shubman Gill sent packing?
To understand this, we have to refer to Law 33 of the Laws of Cricket – the catch law.
188.8.131.52 explains that “a catch is fair if the ball is caught in the fielder’s hand or hands, even if the hand holding the ball is touching the ground”, while 33.3 defines the starting and ending points of the catch.
33.3 states that “the act of catching begins when the ball first touches the fielder’s person and ends when the fielder has full control of both the ball and (his) movement”.
This means that for the purposes of the Laws of Cricket, the umpires must determine that Cameron Green (a) controlled the ball, (b) controlled his body and (c) touched the ground before the ball was played. that.
Australian Tester Ricky Ponting had his thoughts after playing at the ICC.
“When I saw him live, I knew he was fully delivered to him, but I didn’t know what the action was after all the replays we saw,” Ponting said.
“I think part of the ball hit the ground and that was the umpire’s interpretation that if the fielder had full control of the ball before it hit the ground, it would go out.”
“The referees must have interpreted it that way and I think that’s exactly what happened.
“Everybody in India thinks it doesn’t exist, and everybody in Australia thinks it doesn’t exist.”
But cricket being a funny game, that is not the end of the matter.
The ICC Rules of the Game, under which the World Test Championship (as well as all other Test matches and almost all international cricket) is played, supersedes the Laws (although they are based primarily on the Laws).
The playing conditions (as opposed to the laws) include rules on decisions made by third officials and the use of television replays, and until May this year, on-field officials announced that they would refer to them if they could not decide on a fair hold. sends it to the third umpire with an “indicative soft signal” that the third umpire needs clear replay evidence to overturn.
This was overturned in May, with ICC Cricket Committee Chairman and former India Test captain Sourav Ganguly concluding that the committee “concluded that soft signals are unnecessary and sometimes confusing as the catch instruction can appear ineffective in replays”.
The soft signal was scrutinized during the 2023 New Year’s Test between Australia and South Africa in Sydney, sparking controversy when the ICC recently changed the Rules to allow third umpires to rule out soft play on the field. signals that do not require conclusive evidence.
With the soft signal lost, the decision is now in the hands of the third umpire based on television replays.
The ICC’s advice to arbitrators on how to interpret and handle these situations is set out in a document called the ICC Almanac, an updated version of which is not readily available to non-umpires.
The previous edition of the Almanac (dating to 2021 before soft signal changes) stated: “If the field umpire initially indicates that he is not sure it is a fair catch and the third umpire says so. the replays are inconclusive, the shot should not be in doubt and the decision should not be made.”
It states that “if the TV umpire considers the replays to be inconclusive, the TV umpire shall overrule or overrule due to a soft signal.”
Greene himself insisted that he received the fish fairly.
“At the time I thought I had it. I think when it was hot, I thought it was clean,” Green told the media afterward.
“It was up to the third umpire and he agreed.”
Asked about the group, which was made up almost entirely of Indian supporters, Green said he understood the reaction.
“Obviously the Indian crowd is very passionate and one of the favorite guys, Shubman Gill, came out and I think they were looking forward to it, so that’s it and we’re moving on,” he said.
Gill, on the other hand, took to social media to express his displeasure, posting a picture of himself diving into green water with the ball touching the ground, along with a magnifying glass and a face emoji.
With Gill back in the pavilion, the onus will fall on talisman and former captain Virat Kohli to chase down what would be a world record 444 to secure the World Test Championship.
With India’s top three batsmen ruled out, they still need 280 runs on day five at the increasingly difficult Oval, and Kohli will need to add significantly to his 44 if India are to have any chance of victory.
Although it claimed the biggest chase in Test history as well as the highest fourth innings score at The Oval, this Indian side has been in form in breaking Australian hearts and so is the English soil.
The 2020/21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy saw India hit 97 runs on day five, then narrowly broke Australia’s 32-year unbeaten streak at the Gabba. a solid fourth-inning effort by debutant Washington Sundar.
Even as the ghosts of the Gabba hang over the Australians at The Oval, memories of Headingley in 2019 will also haunt them, with England scoring 135 not out from Ben Stokes thanks to a famous 1-wicket stand. This Australian team has the scars of not being able to beat teams on day five.
India will be buoyed by their recent memories and inspired by the history of the venue they will be leaving tonight – in 1979, Sunil Gavaskar batted for eight-and-a-half hours to take India to an improbable 429 for 8 after 438 runs. For a win at the Oval, and Virat Kohli will be hoping he can go on and write his name in the history books.
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