Pakistan batsman Babar Azam believes the ‘soft-signal’ part of the third umpire system needs to be looked at after he felt Saud Shakeel was given out incorrectly.
Shakeel was dismissed when Ollie Pope took a spectacular diving catch down the leg side but there were strong suggestions the ball may have touched the ground and therefore not been a legal catch.
However, as the soft signal given by the umpires on the field was out and there wasn’t enough clear evidence to overturn that decision, Shakeel had to go.
“The Shakeel dismissal cost us,” he said, according to ESPNCricinfo. “It looked to us as if the ball had touched the ground. As a professional, you have to respect the umpire’s decision, but we felt the ball had been grounded.”
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It doesn’t take the biggest stretch of the imagination to understand the impact the wicket had on the game either.
It happened just before lunch with Pakistan still in with a very decent shout of pulling off their second-highest run chase.
Unfortunately, a batting collapse followed his wicket after lunch, allowing England to claim a historic series win.
“I think it’s for the umpires to decide [if the soft signal should be done away with]. Like I said, we felt the ball was grounded.”
Just to emphasise how complicated this kind of situation is for the ICC and match officials, on the other side of the fence in the England camp they felt it was a clear catch.
“I don’t think [there were any doubts about the catch], personally,” England captain Ben Stokes said.
“The only thing where you start worrying is when it gets looked at for a long period of time because that’s when you start having doubt in your own head. I’ve been part of games before where I’ve been on the team who’s been on the receiving end of those decisions and you’re always like, ‘that’s not carried’.
“You see a lot of lot of those decisions and those type of catches in cricket. You could say the similar thing was when Rooty got caught at short leg – you could say that might have touched the floor.
“But you’ve just got to go with what the umpire’s decision is. It went our way but I’ve been involved in a few decisions where stuff like that has gone against us. But you can’t change that.”