umpires
MS Dhoni feels the ICC should rethink on giving earpieces to umpires during matchesIANS

India cricket team skipper MS Dhoni did what he does best against Pakistan in their Asia Cup T20 2016 match Saturday. The wicketkeeper-batsman, despite having back spasms, hit a boundary to get the win for his team, with 27 balls remaining.

India have picked up two wins from two games in the competition, and ahead of the Tuesday clash against Sri Lanka, the Men in Blue gave a display of their tremendous form once more. Dhoni, revered for having a keen eye for detail, also brought up an issue for the ICC to consider.

The 34-year-old said he was not too happy to see umpires wearing earpieces during matches as he feels it hampers their abilities of judgment on the field. There was an incident in the fifth over of the India-Pakistan match when Khurram Manzoor tried to scoop an Ashish Nehra delivery, but saw the ball being caught by Dhoni.

It was given a not out by umpire Sharfuddoula. Although replays showed there was a small contact between the handle of the bat and the ball, the 39-year-old Bangladeshi umpire remained unmoved.

In yet another incident in the match, Virat Kohli was given out LBW by the umpire when the swashbuckling Indian batsman was just a run away from his half-century. Replays showed there was contact between the bat and the ball, but Sharfuddoula was unable to hear two sounds — the ball hitting the bat and then the pad.

"One thing that should certainly be done is all the umpires have a walkie-talkie and an earpiece. Effectively, it means they are all umpiring with just one ear, because one ear is stuffed with the earpiece," Dhoni was quoted as saying by The Indian Express. "So they can't hear and when it's so loud; I think it's a very difficult job.

"So definitely they [the ICC] need to consider this thing. At least have both ears around. No point having an earpiece around, when you know when a bowler is bowling, you don't use the earpiece. So at least use the ear to listen to a lot of things that may happen on the field."

The two umpires on the field use an earpiece each to communicate among themselves as well as with the third umpire. The concept was started as a trial way back in 2004 ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy. The earpiece was supposed to pick up audio from the stump microphone as the ball passed the batsman.

However, now that the concept has seen the light of the day, BCCI match referee P Shastri has said the device has nothing to do with the stump microphone. "No, earpieces don't help pick edges; it's about umpires communicating between themselves and it will stay that way." 

Although the ICC has not commented on the development, Pakistan cricket team coach Waqar Younis says umpires are humans at the end of the day, and, "To err is human". 

"Look, to be honest I don't know how this earpiece works. If it helps, then they should keep it on. If it doesn't help, one got to understand that umpires are humans," Waqar said. "Sometimes they do make mistakes. With all those technologies available, people are still making mistakes. Even technology is making mistakes sometimes.

"I don't know whether it would work by taking the earpiece off or putting it on. I don't know if Dhoni knows that if it is not there, it would be working or not. But I feel these human errors are always going to be part of the game and you got to live with it. It has always been there. It will always be there."

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