England in India

Calm down, England (and broadcasters). The impact of an umpiring error in T20s is insignificant

By adding DRS to the mix, and allowing players to challenge umpiring decisions, the sport has gone from player vs player to player vs umpire.

England bottled up a simple enough chase of 145 runs in the second Twenty20 International against India in Nagpur on Sunday. Instead of focusing on the obvious cricketing reasons as to why they lost from a “commanding position”, as their skipper Eoin Morgan put it, England –players and broadcasters (Sky Sports and BBC Sport) alike – have led a chorus for the inclusion of the Decision Review System in T20s and have placed the blame for defeat squarely at umpiring errors.

With England needing just eight runs in six balls, Joe Root was adjudged out LBW on the first ball of the 20th over. Video replays indicated an inside edge that umpire C Shamshuddin had missed. The in-studio experts at Sky Sports devoted an entire segment after the match to discuss the merits of the umpires and the need for the use of DRS technology in T20s. DRS is currently used only in cricket’s other formats, Tests and One-Day Internationals.

After the match, Morgan said, “[Root’s dismissal] shifted momentum – first ball of the 20th over, losing a batsman who’s faced [almost] 40 balls on a wicket that’s not that easy to time. It is quite a hammer blow. It’s proved very costly all things considered.”

Let’s evaluate the merits of that statement.

False claim

Ben Stokes, who batted at the fall of Morgan’s wicket, and Jos Buttler, who replaced Stokes, both scored at a strike rate in excess of 140. Stokes’s 38 runs were made in 27 deliveries and Buttler thrashed 15 in just 10 balls. So, Morgan’s claim that it wasn’t easy to time is evidently false.

What, though, is true is that Root scored just 38 runs in 38 deliveries. In trying to clear boundaries, he repeatedly skied balls that fell in no man’s land. It wasn’t just that Root was struggling to score but he was struggling to get himself out too, to make way for Buttler and others.

Morgan isn’t free of blame either, having scored only 17 runs in the 23 deliveries he faced, with just one hit to the ropes. In what should have been a comfortable chase, Morgan and Root twiddled around for too long, which opened the door for India in the final throes of the match.

In a game that is so abbreviated, and batsmen needing to take risks constantly to find boundaries, the impact of an umpiring error in a T20 game is insignificant compared to the number of times the batsmen themselves play shots that would invariably, and inevitably, get them out. Root’s innings was exhibit No. 1 in defence of it.

Eoin Morgan (left) has called for DRS to be introduced in T20s after an incorrect umpring decision to adjudge Joe Root out (Image credit: Reuters)
Eoin Morgan (left) has called for DRS to be introduced in T20s after an incorrect umpring decision to adjudge Joe Root out (Image credit: Reuters)

Strategic tool

Even if DRS was available and each team had one review, like in ODIs, it is quite possible that Root may not have had that review to correct Shamshuddin’s error. In the 17th over, Stokes was dismissed LBW off a slower delivery from Ashish Nehra. Considering the hitting form the Stokes was in, and the general tendency of players to gamble with the DRS review, it was more than probable that the review would have been used on that decision.

That’s the other irritating aspect of players’ calls for DRS. While all and sundry proclaim the need for DRS to correct obvious umpiring errors, in the hands of the players it becomes a strategic tool, to challenge umpiring decisions not because they think the umpire has made an error, but they think technology might just overrule a perfectly reasonable decision.

Instead of putting the blame for the defeat on his own sputtering knock and that of Root’s, Morgan reportedly raised the issue of Root’s LBW decision to the match referee. Morgan even had the temerity to question umpire Shamshuddin’s experience, who by the way is in the ICC Emirates International Panel of Umpires and has stood in 21 ODIs, 11 T20Is, and countless other domestic matches.

Charles Dagnall of BBC Sport interviewed Moeen Ali ahead of the third match of this T20I series in Bangalore and posed the question of the need for DRS in the format. Ali said that “it was time to have at least one review” in T20s, as is the practice in ODIs. The second question from Dagnall to Ali was insidious in that he asked whether there was need for neutral umpires in T20Is as well, since Tests involve two neutral umpires and ODIs have one. It implies, at best, that Dagnall believes Shamshuddin is incompetent, and at worst that he is biased.

Inept broadcasters

The introduction of technology to challenge umpiring decisions mainly originated from the broadcasting booth with ex-players regularly questioning umpiring decisions and stoking feelings of injustice in their home audiences, if their side was at the wrong end of any decision. In an essay for The Cricket Monthly, Kartikeya Date had argued about the replacing of expert judgment of umpires with a check list of technologies, and consequently the consistent erosion of umpire’s authority in the conduct of the game.

Dagnall did not do any favours to Shamshuddin or disabuse any thoughts of umpiring biases in his viewers and listeners by posing that question to Ali. Because it is the most obvious thing to do for a broadcaster – to blame the one impartial party on the field, instead of actually digging in to the game to find the real reasons to why a team lost. That would take effort on their part, and commentators, with very few rare exceptions, are wont to take the easy way out, as long as it shores up the numbers watching and listening to them.

In a match played between two teams, the umpire is the unbiased adjudicator. By adding DRS to the mix, and allowing players to challenge umpiring decisions, the sport has gone from player vs player to player vs umpire. To Ali’s credit, and Root’s as well, they chose not to blame umpire Shamshuddin for the mistakes, or support Dagnall’s idea of neutral umpires even in T20s. Morgan, Dagnall and other such could do very well to take cues from Ali and Root.

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From catching Goan dances in Lisbon to sampling langar in Munich

A guide to the surprising Indian connect in Lisbon and Munich.

For several decades, a trip to Europe simply meant a visit to London, Paris and the Alps of Switzerland. Indians today, though, are looking beyond the tried and tested destinations and making an attempt to explore the rest of Europe as well. A more integrated global economy, moreover, has resulted in a more widespread Indian diaspora. Indeed, if you know where to look, you’ll find traces of Indian culture even in some unlikely cities. Lisbon and Munich are good cities to include in your European sojourn as they both offer compelling reasons to visit, thanks to a vibrant cultural life. Here’s a guide to everything Indian at Lisbon and Munich, when you wish to take a break from all the sight-seeing and bar crawling you’re likely to indulge in.

Lisbon

Lisbon is known as one of the most vibrant cities in Western Europe. On its streets, the ancient and the modern co-exist in effortless harmony. This shows in the fact that the patron saint day festivities every June make way for a summer that celebrates the arts with rock, jazz and fado concerts, theatre performances and art exhibitions taking place around the city. Every two years, Lisbon also hosts the largest Rock festival in the world, Rock in Rio Lisboa, that sees a staggering footfall.

The cultural life of the city has seen a revival of sorts under the current Prime Minister, Antonio Costa. Costa is of Indian origin, and like many other Indian-origin citizens prominent in Portugal’s political, business and entertainment scenes, he exemplifies Lisbon’s deep Indian connect. Starting from Vasco Da Gama’s voyage to India, Lisbon’s historic connection to Goa is well-documented. Its traces can be still be seen on the streets of both to this day.

While the Indian population in Lisbon is largely integrated with the local population, a few diaspora groups are trying to keep their cultural roots alive. Casa de Goa, formed in the ‘90s, is an association of people of Goans, Damanese and Diuese origins residing in Lisbon. Ekvat (literally meaning ‘roots’ in Konkani) is their art and culture arm that aims to preserve Goan heritage in Portugal. Through all of its almost 30-year-long existence, Ekvat has been presenting traditional Goan dance and music performances in Portugal and internationally.

Be sure to visit the Champlimaud Centre for the Unknown, hailed a masterpiece of contemporary architecture, which was designed by the critically-acclaimed Goan architect Charles Correa. If you pay attention, you can find ancient Indian influences, like cut-out windows and stand-alone pillars. The National Museum of Ancient Art also has on display a collection of intricately-crafted traditional Goan jewellery. At LOSTIn - Esplanada Bar, half of the people can be found lounging about in kurtas and Indian shawls. There’s also a mural of Bal Krishna and a traditional Rajasthani-style door to complete the desi picture. But it’s not just the cultural landmarks that reflect this connection. The integration of Goans in Lisbon is so deep that most households tend to have Goa-inspired textiles and furniture as a part of their home decor, and most families have adapted Goan curries in their cuisine. In the past two decades, the city has seen a surge in the number of non-Goan Indians as well. North Indian delicacies, for example, are readily available and can be found on Zomato, which has a presence in the city.

If you wish to avoid the crowds of the peak tourist season, you can even consider a visit to Lisbon during winter. To plan your trip, check out your travel options here.

Munich

Munich’s biggest draw remains the Oktoberfest – the world’s largest beer festival for which millions of people from around the world converge in this historic city. Apart from the flowing Oktoberfest beer, it also offers a great way to get acquainted with the Bavarian folk culture and sample their traditional foods such as Sauerkraut (red cabbage) and Weißwurst (a white sausage).

If you plan to make the most of the Oktoberfest, along with the Bavarian hospitality you also have access to the services of the Indian diaspora settled in Munich. Though the Indian community in Munich is smaller than in other major European destinations, it does offer enough of a desi connect to satisfy your needs. The ISKCON temple at Munich observes all major rituals and welcomes everyone to their Sunday feasts. It’s not unusual to find Germans, dressed in saris and dhotis, engrossed in the bhajans. The Art of Living centre offers yoga and meditation programmes and discourses on various spiritual topics. The atmosphere at the Gurdwara Sri Guru Nanak Sabha is similarly said to be peaceful and accommodating of people of all faiths. They even organise guided tours for the benefit of the non-Sikhs who are curious to learn more about the religion. Their langar is not to be missed.

There are more options that’ll help make your stay more comfortable. Some Indian grocery stores in the city stock all kinds of Indian spices and condiments. In some, like Asien Bazar, you can even bargain in Hindi! Once or twice a month, Indian film screenings do take place in the cinema halls, but the best way to catch up on developments in Indian cinema is to rent video cassettes and VCDs. Kohinoor sells a wide range of Bollywood VCDs, whereas Kumaras Asean Trades sells Tamil cassettes. The local population of Munich, and indeed most Germans too, are largely enamoured by Bollywood. Workshops on Bollywood dance are quite popular, as are Bollywood-themed events like DJ nights and dance parties.

The most attractive time to visit is during the Oktoberfest, but if you can brave the weather, Munich during Christmas is also a sight to behold. You can book your tickets here.

Thanks to the efforts of the Indian diaspora abroad, even lesser-known European destinations offer a satisfying desi connect to the proud Indian traveller. Lufthansa, which offers connectivity to Lisbon and Munich, caters to its Indian flyers’ priorities and understands how proud they are of their culture. In all its India-bound flights and flights departing from India, flyers can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options, making the airline More Indian than You Think. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalised by Lufthansa to the extent that they now offer a definitive Indian flying experience.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.