The cricket world has been buzzing ever since retired Australian umpire Simon Taufel revealed that Kumar Dharmasena and Marais Erasmus – the two on-field officials during the World Cup final – had made a huge mistake that, probably, cost the Black Caps the World Cup.
In the final over, Martin Guptill tried to run out Ben Stokes at the striker's end by throwing the ball from deep midwicket to wicketkeeper Tom Latham as Stokes was hurrying back for the second run. The ball hit the bat of the diving English batsman and got deflected to the boundary.
Taufel, on the very next day, said, in an interview, that, as per the rules, in the situation of a throw getting deflected off the bat and bringing runs to the batting team, that run, which the batsmen were looking to complete will only be counted if the two batsmen have crossed before the throw commenced. As Stokes and Adil Rashid, his batting partner, had not crossed when Guptill threw the ball, the second run should not have been given to England and Ben Stokes not kept on strike.
This comment spread like wildfire on social media and led to even more criticism of ICC and the match officials. International cricket's chief governing body had been quiet on this matter till now but has finally broken its silence.
However, its response, far from providing closure, is bound to make the debate even more intense. The council has put out an evasive statement saying that, as per their policy, they do not comment on the decisions umpire make in the middle.
"It was against the policy to comment on any decisions (made by the umpires). The umpires take decisions on the field with their interpretation of the rules and we don't comment on any decisions as a matter of policy," a spokesperson of ICC told foxsports.com.au.
This strange reply suggests that the governing body wants to keep its hands off this debate. However, four years ago, when there was a controversy in the second match of the 2015 World Cup between hosts Australia and England regarding a decision that cost James Taylor of England his hundred, the council had accepted that a wrong decision was made.
That decision, though, had no bigger effect than denying the batsman a personal milestone and didn't have much bearing on the match, and certainly not the tournament. But this time, the stakes were as high as they could be. As a result, ICC has decided to stay mum. It would further damage their already-scarred reputation.