Ben Stokes wants to scrap umpire’s call after contentious call goes against England

Ben Stokes has made a contentious remark on the umpire’s call after the Rajkot Test loss against India. The England skipper stepped up to clarify a controversial moment involving Zak Crawley's dismissal on the fourth day of the Test match.

Stokes revealed that ICC match referee Jeff Crowe admitted to a mistake in the replay graphic, which showed the ball missing the stumps. Despite this error, Crowe maintained that Crawley's out decision was correct.

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Ben Stokes on Zak Crawley dismissal

Crawley's dismissal left England reeling, with their batting lineup crumbling and hopes dwindling. Despite Crawley's attempt to challenge the decision through a review, the technology upheld the original call. However, confusion arose as the graphic displayed a different story, leading Stokes to seek clarification from the match referee.

“We just wanted some clarity around Zak's DRS when the images came back,” revealed Stokes. 

Ben Stokes
Photo by Icon Sport

“The ball is quite clearly missing the stump on the replay. So when it gets given umpire's call and the ball's not actually hitting the stumps, we were a bit bemused. So we just wanted some clarity from the Hawk-Eye guys.

“It came back saying the numbers, or whatever it is that is, it was saying that it was hitting the stumps but it was the projection that was wrong. I don't know what that means.

Stokes highlighted that this wasn't the only questionable decision England faced in the series, mentioning instances involving Crawley and Ollie Pope. He admitted that such decisions could be frustrating but recognized them as part of the game.

Taking a step further, Ben Stokes advocated for changes in the review system, particularly regarding lbw decisions. He suggested removing the “umpire's call” to ensure fairness and simplicity in decision-making, especially given the challenging conditions faced by umpires.

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“You just want a level playing field, Stokes said. “The umpires have an incredibly hard job as it is, especially in India when the ball is spinning. My personal opinion is if the ball is hitting the stumps, it is hitting the stumps. They should take away ‘umpire's call' if I'm being perfectly honest. I don't want to get too much into it because it sounds like we are moaning and saying that is why we lost the Test match.”

Meanwhile, with the series 2-1 in favour of India after the Rajkot loss, England will need to win the next two Tests to win the series, a tough ask for the visitors.


Rohit is an experienced cricket writer based in India