The International Cricket Council has written to commentators contracted for the 2019 World Cup world feed to be fair while criticising umpiring decisions after West Indies great Michael Holding tore into the officials for their errors during the match between Australia and Windies, Mumbai Mirror reported on Saturday.
According to the paper, ICC wrote an email to all commentators on Friday asking them to use restraint while making such comments.
During the match, umpire Chris Gaffaney did not notice a Mitchell Starc no-ball and West Indies opener Chris Gayle was out leg before on the very next delivery. Had the no-ball been called, the batsman would have got a free hit. West Indies also managed to successfully overturn four decisions by opting for the Decision Review System.
“I am sorry but the umpiring in this game has been atrocious,” Holding had said on air then, adding that the umpires were “weak” as they were being intimidated by Australia’s appealing.
While West Indies captain Jason Holder was subdued in his criticism, all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite had blasted the umpiring standard during the team’s 15-run loss.
The report said no ICC official was willing to comment on record about the reasons behind the email but had unofficially insisted that the email was not an attempted gag order to the commentators and just want them to be fair to the umpires and even praise their good work.
It will be interesting to see how the commentators react and if and when they spot another howler of this proportion in the course of the tournament.