Billy Doctrove, the 50-year-old from Dominica and the
only West Indian umpire apart from veteran Steve
Bucknor (Jamaica) on the ICC's Elite Panel of 10, has
a 'rap sheet' of blunders as long as his arm.
Doctrove wrote a new chapter in umpiring incompetence
in the first Test at St. John's, Antigua earlier this
month when he pleaded 'moral and technical' reasons in
not being able to give a decision in the incident
involving fielder Daren Ganga and batsman MS Dhoni.
While TV pictures were indeed inconclusive, it has
been common practice for more than a century that the
benefit of doubt automatically goes to the batsman.
Now of course in a desperate bid to justify letting
Brian Lara off the hook, the ICC have over-turned that
tradition and given the fielder the final say in such
The Indians had gotten their first bitter taste of
Doctrove in the third Test at Bridgetown in 2002. West
Indian captain Carl Hooper was clearly out of his
ground at the non-striker's end when the ball
deflected onto the stumps off bowler Ashish Nehra's
hand from a drive by Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Yet,
despite the stark evidence of the TV replays, Hooper
then on 15 was given not out and went on to score 115.
India lost by 10 wickets.
But it is not only the Indians who have suffered at
West Indies won the final match against New Zealand at
Arnos Vale on 16 June 2002 by 4 wickets off the very
last ball to win the ODI series 3-1. They scored 15
off the last over bowled by Daryl Tuffey who had
earlier been hammered for 33 off four overs.
New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming had wanted to bowl
Paul Hitchcock but was told he had bowled his quota. A
check of the scorebooks after the match showed the New
Zealand book with Hitchcock on nine overs while the
West Indian book showed 10 overs.
Fleming filed a complaint about the umpiring to match
referee Wasim Raja after the game. Much of the
controversy centred round Doctrove, who was standing
with Asoka de Silva of Sri Lanka who is no longer on
the Elite Panel.
Fleming, had believed Hitchcock had one over left to
bowl, but was stopped from bowling him by the umpires.
The umpires apparently admitted after the game they
had made a mistake. Doctrove had been involved in
several controversies on the day. He gave New Zealand
opener Nathan Astle out caught, when the bat hit his
pad and not the ball. He was also involved in almost
allowing a seven ball over to be bowled, only for de
Silva to step in and prevent it and twice failed to
call for the third umpire's verdict on run out
When Chanderpaul hit a ball to the boundary for four
in the last over Doctrove signaled it was a six, only
to change the call after the New Zealanders asked for
the third umpire to be consulted.
Elite Panel indeed!