Umpires take the final decisions on the cricket field, be it with dismissals, changing the ball, calling drinks or declaring stumps. But there are instances where they take wrong decisions too, which sometimes affect or may not affect the final result of the match. Here some of the worst decisions taken by the umpires:


5. Bapu Joshi India v West Indies 5th Test 1948-49

In Bombay, now Mumbai, India were chasing 361 to win on their 2nd innings to win the match and level the series. They needed 21 runs to win with 15 minutes still left on the final day’s play. West Indies team was wasting time with drinks and field changes but still India had to score just 11 runs to win from the last 2 overs. In the next over, India scored 5 runs from the first 5 balls. But then, umpire Joshi called time and whipped off the bails. Not only had he miscounted the number of balls in the over, but he had miscalculated the time as well.

4. Douglas Sang Hue West Indies v Pakistan 2nd Test 1976-77

In 1973-74, Sang Hue made a controversial decision when he gave Alvin Kallicharran run-out in the Port-of-Spain Test, only to reverse the decision overnight. But three years later he reprieved Roy Fredericks when he clearly appeared to be short of his ground when on 99. Later, Imran Khan in his autobiography claimed that Sang Hue had turned to Mushtaq Mohammad and admitted that Fredericks had been out.

3. MV Nagendra India v England 4th Test 1976-77

Famous English batsman Mike Brearley was given out when he edged Chandrasekhar to Viswanath at slip on what he believed was the half volley. “There was not another pair of eyes on the ground who thought it had carried,” observed The Times. To make things worse, as he sat eating his lunch Nagendra came over and said: “Mr Brearley, I am very sorry. I knew it was not out, but I felt my finger going up and I just couldn’t stop it.”

2. Lloyd Barker West Indies v England 4th Test 1989-90

A ball from Curtly Ambrose appeared to flick Rob Bailey’s thigh pad on its way through to Jeff Dujon. Barker initially seemed to have turned down the appeal but Viv Richards, who was at first slip, came charging down the pitch roaring appeals and Barker belatedly raised his finger. Tony Greig who was the commentator yelled, “The umpire wasn’t going to give that but Richards created merry hell.”

1. David Shepherd England v Pakistan 2nd Test 2001

David Shepherd is regarded as one of the best umpires of his time. But he also had off days. On the last day of the match, England were comfortably placed on 196 for 2 at Tea, on course for a draw. In the last session, they lost eight wickets, four to no-balls that the umpires failed to spot. Out of these, 3 of these incidents happened at Shepherd’s end. Many argued that Shepherd was losing his skills as he was 60, but Denis Rogers, chairman of the Australian Cricket Board, said: “Shep has a reputation as one of the finest umpires in the world, and that should not be destroyed because he has missed a few no-balls. It’s precisely umpires of his status and quality that we need.” Later in that year, Shepherd was declared the head of the first panel of elite umpires whose names were announced.

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