MCC offers soft signal for Test umpire shake-up
Influential World Cricket committee says more elite umpires the answer rather than using current top officials in home series
13 August 2019, 12:31 PM AEST
The Marylebone Cricket Club insist neutral Test umpiring is still the best way forward for cricket despite calls to the contrary from former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting.
Ponting, who sits on the MCC's influential World Cricket committee, told cricket.com.au after the opening day of the Ashes Test was dominated by a number of woeful decisions that the use of DRS should see the best umpires officiate in the biggest series regardless of their nationality.
Last week's Test at Edgbaston saw rookie West Indian umpire Joel Wilson and Pakistan's Aleem Dar have 10 decisions between them overturned by DRS.
Wilson, in only his 13th Test, equalled the record for reversals when eight out his decisions were successfully appealed by the players.
Wilson will be third umpire for the second Ashes Test at Lord's starting Wednesday night, while Aleem Dar will again have an on-field position, joined by New Zealander Chris Gaffaney. Wilson is due to return to the field for the third match at Headingley.
However, after a meeting at Lord's on Monday between MCC chairman Mike Gatting, assistant secretary John Stephenson and panel members Shane Warne and Kumar Sangakkara, it was agreed that increasing the numbers of elite level umpires across the world was the best way forward.
Seven of the 12 elite level panel are from Australia and England meaning they ineligible to stand in the Ashes and Stephenson believes that lop-sided membership needs to be addressed.
"It was obviously a bit of a focus after the last match," said Stephenson.
"Ricky Ponting mentioned the prospect of bringing back non-neutral umpires and it is something being discussed by the ICC Cricket Committee as well.
"But the feeling is neutrality still works.
"Unfortunately, there is quite an imbalance with ICC elite-level umpiring panel where you have certain umpires adjudicating in certain series.
"But we think it's time for the base to be broadened and to train up more umpires to get to the elite levels.
"Overall we think neutrality does work. But with DRS and technology maybe it's something we need look at in the future.
"In one-day cricket we have one non-neutral umpire standing and in Twenty20 we have it as well. Maybe further down the line it can be a thing."
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Olly Stone, Chris Woakes.
First Test: Australia beat England by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Second Test: August 14-18,Lord's
Third Test: August 22-26, Headingley
Tour match: Australians v Derbyshire, August 29-31
Fourth Test: September 4-8, Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval