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Should umpires be penalised?

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January 03, 2008 11:13 IST

Most of the talk on day one of the second Test match between India and Australia in Sydney on Wednesday centered around the showing of the umpires rather than the players itself.

Umpires Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson were involved in a few bizzare decisions as India suffered quite heavily.

First, Australia captain Ricky Ponting was the benificiary as a couple of edges were ruled not out by Benson, before he finally ruled him out leg before off a huge inside edge.

Veteran Bucknor was no better as time and again he ruled in the favour of the hosts.

Youngster Ishant Sharma had got a thick audible outside edge of Andrew Symonds on 30 but Bucknor to the shock of many turned the appeal down. Later the third umpire also made his presence felt when Symonds (48) was given not out off a stumping appeal even though his feet had not touched the ground.

The blunders continued into the second day when Symonds again benefitted when Bucknor refused to use the third umpire off a closing stumping appeal. Close look at the television replays showed that Symonds, who was on 148 then, was once again short of his crease.

India's batsmen also suffered when Wasim Jaffer was bowled by Brett Lee off a fast delivery, but replays showed that the pacer might have overstepped the bowling crease.

Former India captain and commentator Ravi Shastri slammed Bucknor saying that the West Indian "was past his sell-by date."

Peter Roebuck was equally critical in his column for the Sydney Morning Herald where he wrote: "Clearly, the sweet-natured Jamaican is past his prime. Indeed, he was expected to retire after the World Cup. Those responsible for allowing him to linger were also partly responsible for a decision that changed the course of the day and possibly the match and series."

While one could argue that umpires are human and prone to error, but does it mean we continue to turn a blind eye to their mistakes? Or should the umpires be penalised for every error they commit for you never know how decisive it could prove?