Saturday, March 12, 2011


A lot of people believe that Ashoka de Silva is the least elite amongst the ICC's Elite Panel of umpires. How he is deemed to be competent enough to officiate in a tournament as prestigious as a World Cup remains a mystery to many. In today's Ireland v. West Indies game at Mohali, he gave a howler (despite having used DRS) so large that it would have made Billy Bowden look a genius!

At 41.3 overs, Ireland were 199 for 5, requiring another 77 runs to beat the West Indians off 51 balls. Gary Wilson, batting on 61 off 61 balls was on strike, accompanied by a newly-in Alex Cusack. Despite having lost a couple of quick wickets, Ireland were in with more than a decent shot at the victory target. West Indian captain Darren Sammy was bowling... and on his next ball, Ashoka de Silva virtually decided the game in favour of West Indies.

A back-of-a-length off-cutter struck Wilson on his front pad as he was late in getting his bat down to guide the ball towards third man. When the ball struck his pad, his bat was behind the pad and came down later to meet the ball as it rolled to the left of the point fielder. As Wilson set for a single, Sammy appealed for an LBW decision and saw Ashoka de Silva raise his finger. Wilson immediately called for a review. Now have a look at the sequence of images below:

One look at just the three images, and any person who knows a little bit about the UDRS and the laws of LBW will immediately say that the umpire should reverse his decision. However, Ashoka de Silva decided to go with his original decision because allegedly, he believed that the batsman had not offered a shot to that delivery. What rubbish!

How does a man who is batting on 61 with a strike rate of 100 play a non-shot when his team needs more than 8 runs an over to win the game! Forget the situation of the match. Just read what the Irish skipper William Porterfield had to say about this: "The word we are getting at the minute is the umpire went back upstairs to check if he hit the ball before the impact on the pad and if it was pad first, or bat first. Surely if you are asking if it was pad first or bat first, you know he is playing a shot. In my opinion they got it wrong."

Simple logic that puts the argument to rest! If the umpire wants to see three replays to determine whether it is pad first or bat first, then there should be no doubt that a shot was attempted. Forget the fact that it was clearly a shot being attempted as Wilson tried to run it down to the third man... just ask yourself when do you say that no shot has been attempted. In my opinion, where the bat makes no deliberate attempt to make contact with the ball and does not make contact with the ball, one can say that no shot was attempted.

With the images, over the video footage and by Porterfield's crystal clear logic, I think it is very easy to conclude that a shot was clearly attempted on that ball. Yet when the umpire decided to rule it out with the commentators claiming that it must have been because of a non-attempt at a shot, my mind wandered off in search of some other explanation. And this is what it came up with...

I believe that the moment Ashoka de Silva saw the yellow light saying "Wickets: On Field Call", he presumed that his call will stand. He didn't bother to use his brain and see that when there is a clear green light saying "Impact: Outside", it should be Not Out regardless of the original decision. I believe that he had trained his mind into thinking that every time a yellow light saying "On Field Call" is displayed, he will not be required to reverse his decision, irrespective of whether there are other red or green lights!

I purposely placed three images up there in this post. I'll explain why. In my view, if the ball is pitched outside the line of leg stump, the review should stop there and the path of the ball should not be shown further ahead by the broadcaster to make it absolutely clear that it is a Not Out call.

Where it pitches in line or outside off, but the impact is not within line, again the broadcaster should stop right there (like in the first image). Now here, if the umpire feels that the batsman has not offered a shot, then he should request the broadcaster to continue with the projection... or else, the decision is made. At least, this will ensure that the viewers will know for certain that the umpire was genuinely in doubt of a shot being offered rather than some other reason!

I have a feeling that had the broadcaster restricted his projection till the first image instead of going on till the second image, Gary Wilson may well have survived. I know I am questioning the aptitude of Ashoka de Silva and might even be a bit biased against him, but then I cannot help it for a man who has had all 4 DRS reviews against him (before this match) in this tournament overturned and then comes up with this shocker deserves no less, in my opinion!

And if you look at the third image, you might well say that the decision should have been "Not Out" even with the naked eye. That ball is barely clipping the outside of the off stump as per Hawk Eye! Even if it were striking in line, most umpires would have given that Not Out and called right for their decision. How he gave this to the bowler casts a doubt over his umpiring abilities!


Dean @ Cricket Betting Blog said...

The reporter on BBC 5 Live said that everybody in the press box thought the decision should be overturned.

They were also of the opinion that you wrote, that he could only have decided that 'no shot' was offered.

As you eluded too Shridhar, De Silva might not even fully understand DRS.

In deciding on the 'no shot' view as a possible reason for the decision, we are assuming that De Silva is competent with the rules of the DRS.

For all we know he might not totally understand the implementation of the DRS, it wouldn't surprise me if he didn't.

Unknown said...

Hello Dean! Seeing you on the blog after a long time!

I didn't think I would find many takers for my theory of Ashoka de Silva's incompetency, or even those who deem it to be a plausible explanation. I'm surprised that the first comment itself is from someone who says "it wouldn't surprise me if he didn't".

More than anything else, it shows the lack of confidence most cricket watchers have in his umpiring. I wonder where does ICC's confidence in him stem from!

Nishant said...

I did not watch the incident happen. But from what I have read this is they type of blunder the DRS was trying to correct. Not wrong with the DRS but the interpretation of it by Ashoka de Silva has to be questioned. The irish were seriously hard done be this decision though.

Unknown said...

You are right, Nishant! The DRS cannot be blamed for this as it provided all the information possibly needed for a correct decision. That is why I said that I have often felt Ashoka de Silva is unworthy of his place in the Elite Panel of umpires.

Govind Raj said...

Without mincing words, De Silva is CRAP !

I saw the whole thing and felt really bad for the Irish !

If there is an International Umpire worse than Billy and the West Indian blind bat, it has to be Ashoka De Silva !

Dean @ Cricket Betting Blog said...

Hi Shridhar, I'm very happy to be back.

In England he is known as A Shocker De Silva by most fans and media, he is well known for being of sub standard.

Along with Daryl Harper and for me, Rod Tucker.

To take this on a bit further, I'm not too sure if I understand DRS either, let alone the umpires.

I don't know if any of you watched England V South Africa, but there was an incident when JP Duminy was given out caught down the leg side, I think the umpire was Taufel.

Duminy called a review, the review didn't conclusively show if he had hit the ball.

It also didn't conclude that he didn't hit the ball, it was too close too call.

If Taufel heard a noise and it wasn't his bat, then in most instances the ball has usually hit the thigh pad.

The DRS replays showed it didn't hit the thigh pad.

The decision was overturned. Why?

Maybe I'm missing something here, but I thought that if the on-field decision was to be overturned, then the replay had to show some conclusive proof that the on-field decision was wrong.

If it doesn't show conclusive proof, then doesn't the on-field decision stand?

No one in the commentary box picked up on it, but I couldn't see why the decision was changed with any conclusive proof.

Dean @ Cricket Betting Blog said...

that was meant to say 'but I couldn't see why the decision was changed without any conclusive proof'.

Unknown said...

Hi Dean!

First about A Shocker De Silva... yes, he is definitely sub-standard, and for me, he lines up along with Daryl Harper, Kumar Dharmasena and our very own Amiesh Saheba. I don't like Bruce Oxenford much either, but he seems to have improved of late.

About the DRS, I am sure Dean that you and I understand more of DRS than A Shocker De Silva can ever hope to! On a serious note, we as observers of the game will always have some doubts regarding rules and laws. But as umpires, they are expected to know it all and uphold it all. Don't be an umpire if you cannot do it well.

About the Duminy dismissal that you talked about, no I didn't see that particular dismissal as there was an India v. Netherlands match going on simultaneously when he was batting!

I'm searching online for a video footage, but haven't found it yet. If what you say is right, then that is an incorrect decision. Whenever DRS is used, the benefit of the doubt should go to the umpire, not the bowler or batsman! His decision should stand.

Just like you said, if there is no conclusive evidence of an edge as well as no conclusive proof that there was 'no edge', it should stay with the ground umpire!

In the India v. South Africa match today, there was one occasion during the 2nd innings when India called for DRS on an LBW appeal against Kallis turned down off Zaheer Khan. The 2.5 m rule came into action again, and because the ball was not hitting any part of the middle stump (despite three reds), the decision remained Not Out!

I don't know if you have read it, but I had posted a previous blog on this issue of the 2.5 m rule... where I had suggested a way that the debate over the 2.5 m distance can be eradicated. Here is the link if you'd like to read it.

Freehit said...

Hey Shridhar,

Wonderful post(as usual :)). I also agree to what your opinion is. Quite a stupid blunder.
As Govind puts it, Asoka De Silva sure is crap.

BTW, where did u get these images from ?? Wonderful use of Hawkeye images :)

Unknown said...

Hi Mayank! Thank you!

I saw the video highlights of that match on ESPN Star website. While watching the highlights, I took the image captures from the video!

Freehit said...

And yes, I must tell you, both your posts on FreehitCricket have been the top 2 viewed posts on the site.

Must thank you and congratulate you :)


Unknown said...

Well, in that case, thank you once again Mayank! :)

Dean @ Cricket Betting Blog said...


I have read your article about the 2.5M rule, it is a great article by the way.

I agree it makes no sense. I've left a reply on the post.

But to simplyfy it, is there any rule or reason why Billy couldn't have changed his decision on the evidence the TV umpire gave him?

Because if he could change it, then he should have.

Soulberry said...

A point very well made. I agree with your suggestion about broadcaster's role.

As far as Ashocker or Assoka is concerned, he is one and the same de Silva.

Unknown said...

SB, glad you agree with the suggestion!

In the match between Bangladesh and Netherlands at Chittagong, during the second innings when Bangladesh was batting, the Dutch appealed for LBW against Junaid Siddique on the bowling of Ryan ten Doeschate (13th over). He was ruled Not Out and the Dutch asked for DRS.

In that replay, the ball was deemed to have pitched outside the leg stump. The broadcaster did not go further and show the entire ball path... they stopped when it was pitched outside. Done and decided!

Not that I think Aleem Dar would have been as stupid as Ashoka De Silva, but more of such pro-action from the broadcaster might be very beneficial.