ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 – Angelo Mathews blames umpires – ‘Need to use common sense in using technology’

According to Angelo Mathews, the on-field umpires who adjudged him timed out on Monday had admitted to Sri Lanka’s coaching staff that they erred in not checking how much time had elapsed between the previous dismissal, and Mathews’ helmet strap breaking. It appears that Mathews heard of this admission second-hand.
“The umpires [Marais Erasmus and Richard Illingworth] also admitted that it was an equipment malfunction and they could have gone upstairs and checked,” Mathews said in his post-match press conference. Sri Lanka coach Chris Silverwood also said, speaking to reporters after the game, that the team’s coaching staff had spoken to match officials about the dismissal, and that conversations between the two groups were ongoing.

Either way, Mathews was drawing a line between what constituted a fair “timed out” dismissal, and what constituted time taken out of the game to replace faulty equipment.

However, the playing conditions, as it stands, does not make allowances for equipment malfunction – it only stipulates that the new batter be ready to receive the ball within two minutes of the previous dismissal, which, in a strict interpretation of the rule, Mathews was not.

However, umpires frequently allow equipment to be changed mid-over if required – helmets and bats in particular. If the strap had broken one ball into Mathews’ innings, for example, there likely would have been no issues with his calling for a replacement and his taking some time picking one.

“We talk about safety of the players, and you guys tell me if it’s right for me to take my guard without my helmet on,” Mathews said. “That’s where the umpires could have done a bigger job at the time because they could have gone back and checked. A wicketkeeper for a spinner they don’t let keep without his helmet. So how can I take my guard without my helmet? It’s completely an equipment malfunction.

“You need to have your common sense in terms of using technology. It was clearly malfunction – it [the strap] just came off. I didn’t need to pull it and break it”

Angelo Mathews

“What’s the point not checking at that time and then checking it afterwards?” Mathews continued. “You need to have your common sense in terms of using technology. It was clearly malfunction – it [the strap] just came off. I didn’t need to pull it and break it.”

Although during the mid-match break, fourth umpire Adrian Holdstock had told Ian Bishop on the Star Sports broadcast that “in the instance this afternoon, the batter wasn’t ready to receive the ball within those two minutes even before the strap became an issue for him,” Mathews was correct in claiming that in fact he had five more seconds before the two minutes were up, when his strap broke.

Fourth umpire Holdstock had also suggested at the halfway point of the match that it was the batter’s responsibility to have “all your equipment in place”.

Mathews scoffed at this idea.

“That’s quite laughable. It is our responsibility, yes – if I went out to bat against a fast bowler, it’s my responsibility obviously,” he said. “But something coming off, do you really think I would know if it’s going to come off? I don’t understand the logic.”

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