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Sunil Gavaskar mocks Ben Stokes without taking England captain’s name on Ben Duckett’s DRS in IND vs ENG 4th Test

India vs England 4th Test: Gavaskar did not take any names but that former India cricketer was referring to Ben Stokes’ views on ‘umpire’s call’ was evident.

Legendary India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar mocked those wanting the ‘umpire’s call’ rule to be abolished from the Decision Review System (DRS). England captain Ben Stokes was the latest to advocate against the ‘umpire’s call’ rule after they found themselves on the wrong side of it at least twice in the third Test against India in Rajkot. Stokes said if any part of the ball is hitting the stumps, then it should be given out irrespective of the decision on-field.

Sunil Gavaskar and Ben Stokes

“My personal opinion is if the ball is hitting the stumps, it is hitting the stumps. They should take away ‘umpire’s call’ if I’m being perfectly honest,” Stokes told TalkSPORT after the Rajkot Test, which India won by 434 runs.

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On the first morning of the fourth Test, England opener Ben Duckett was the beneficiary of the umpire’s call rule. In the 9th over of England’s innings, India left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja got one bounce a bit more than Duckett’s expectation to hit the left-hander’s pads. There were early indications that sweep was not going to be an easy option on this track and Duckett learnt it the hard way.

There was a huge appeal but the umpire shook his head. After a brief discussion, India skipper Rohit Sharma sent it upstairs. Replays showed ‘umpire’s call’ on impact and wickets hitting. Under the current rules, when umpire’s call flashes on the screen, the on-field decision stays. As it was not out, Duckett survived. But if Stokes had his way then it would have out as the third umpire would have overturned the decision based on the wickets clipping fact.

Gavaskar, who was in the commentary box at that time, decided to share his views.

“Those wanting umpire’s call to be abolished, this is for them. If the umpire’s call wasn’t there then it would have been bye-bye Duckett. If every ball clipping the stumps was declared out then more Test matches would end in three days,” said Gavaskar on commentary without taking any names. But that former India cricketer was referring to Stokes’ demands was evident.

Stokes was not the first high-profile cricket captain to speak up against the ‘umpire’s call’. Former India captain Virat Kohli also openly criticised it during India’s tour of England.

Why umpire’s call is needed

Umpire’s call is needed because there is a 2% margin for error in the ball-tracking technology. Because it is a projection of the ball’s path, hawk-eye doesn’t claim to be 100% accurate. So far, no technology can. In such cases, it takes a margin for error into account for impact and wickets hitting. When it shows clipping, it doesn’t necessarily mean the ball would definitely go on to clip the stumps. The stumps become wider and higher for the ball’s projection. And hence, the umpire’s call comes into play. If there was no umpire’s call then bowlers would have had a much bigger target than the actual stumps to aim at.


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