Usman Khawaja's dismissal at the hands of Graeme Swann in the third Test at Old Trafford was a contentious decision, but few would expect the Prime Minister of Australia to wade into the debate.
I've just sat down to watch the test. That was one of the worst cricket umpiring decisions I have ever seen. KRudd— Kevin Rudd (@KRuddMP) August 1, 2013
The decision left the Australians 82-2 and left Khawaja, a young batsman still making his way in Test cricket, without a chance to prove his worth in the team.
So was Rudd right to write the tweet?
Was the original call correct?
Not even a little bit.
The umpire on the field gave it out as a catch, but the ball turned sharply and actually missed Khawaja's bat. This was hard to see live—and forgivable for the umpire to miss—but that is the point of the umpire decision review system, and Khawaja challenged the call expecting for it to be overturned.
It seemed clear enough in slow-motion to everyone except the television umpire, Kumar Dharmasena. He also had the Hot Spot heat mapping technology available (it did not show an edge), and the sound (there was a noise, but it came earlier and was explained by Khawaja's bat brushing his pad as he played the shot).
It was proof enough to keep Khawaja at the wicket, but instead Dharmasena upheld the call.
Was it one of the worst calls?
Actually, in many ways, no. There are two things to keep in mind here.
The crime was the application system. The original call was wrong but understandable. And if, as frenzied players such as Dean Jones had their way and removed the DRS from cricket altogether, Khawaja would still have been out.
Dharmasena was the 3rd umpire.. And he will umpire the next test!! Should be sacked!— Dean Jones (@ProfDeano) August 1, 2013
But it's certainly not even the worst umpire decision of this Test series so far. That still belongs to this unforgettable moment at Trent Bridge when Stuart Broad was given not out by Aleem Dar.
We can only presume that the reason Rudd doesn't know about that incident is because he was too busy running the country...
Should the PM be tweeting about cricket anyway?
Why not? Rudd was only responding to something a big percentage of sports fans will be discussing throughout the Test.
And he was giving an interesting, forthright opinion, which already makes his Twitter timeline more interesting than his opposite number in the UK, David Cameron.
But was he right? Not exactly.
The ICC have already admitted that seven key umpiring decisions were wrong in the first Test of this series alone.
In the context of a series of bad umpiring decisions and terrible gaffes with the DRS technology, this was almost just par for the course.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!