ICC umpire Aleem Dar came under fire after he erred and gave a ‘lifeline’ to Rohit Sharma in the 2015 World Cup quarter-final between India and Bangladesh at Melbourne on Thursday. Millions of Bangladeshi supporters cried fowl as Dar adjudged a delivery from pacer Rubel Hossain to Rohit Sharma ‘illegal’ for its height while television footage showed it was a genuine waist-height one.
Since then, the disheartened cricket lovers of Bangladesh started protesting against the Pakistani umpire, who was officiating the match along with Ian Gould, for giving a crucial decision that went against their team in a must win match. Sharma, who was batting at 90 then, was caught by a fielder at deep mid-on after he mistimed the full-toss but got a life to complete his maiden World Cup century. Rohit went on to score 137 off 126 balls and helped his side post a mammoth 302 for 6 in 50 overs. Rohit’s knock ensured Team India set a target of 303 for the Bangladeshi batters and gain a psychological advantage too. The target proved to be a daunting one for Bangladesh and they were bundled out for 193 by Indian bowlers. The loss at India’s hand dashed Bangladesh’s maiden hope of making it to the semi finals and this infuriated the fans. The protesters shouted “Shame, Shame. No to ICC conspiracy”.
Is Dar being criticised because he’s a Pakistani? Poor umpiring is part of games as umpires are also humans. There have been instances in the past when team’s had to pay the price for a ‘bad decision’ and that is why cricket is often called ‘as a game of luck’. Fortune switching sides has been the beauty of this ‘Gentlemen’s Game’. Hence, one can say that people are getting tad too critical about Dar’s umpiring. He should have been criticised if only he made a couple of more poor decisions in the match, but that wasn’t the case. Thus, a question arises is Dar being criticised by Bangladeshi supporters because he is a Pakistani? It seems his Pakistani nationality certainly came into Bangladeshi supporters mind, who think the umpire was biased, and that’s why they are calling Dar by names. Also, had there been similar uproar if the decision was being given by another umpire? There would have been protests but not up to this extent, one feels. Also, Dar had signaled the ball ‘illegitimate’ the moment it was delivered. Hence, he couldn’t be blamed for giving the Indian opener a lifeline. It seems Bangladeshi supporters took the decision ‘too’ personally. One must remember, that the ICC appoints neutral umpires for its matches and Dar has been ICC’s top umpires. Bangladesh lost due to India’s top-class performance not ‘bad umpiring’ Also, blaming ‘one’ bad decision for a side’s loss in a particular match isn’t just. Agreed, that Rohit’s lifeline turned out to be a crucial one for the Indians but ‘Men In Blue’ still had the depth and getting past 270-280 was always easy for the side. Despite, Rohit’s dismissal India had the capability to go past 280 and that too would have been decent total for the Indian bowlers to defend.