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Doctrove and his blunders
by Gulu Ezekiel
Jun 15, 2006
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 matters!

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 Doctrove's hands.

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 appeals.

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!

 
More Views by Gulu Ezekiel
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