Ashes 2019: Ricky Ponting says it's time to ditch neutral umpires rule

Sport360 staff 17:09 03/08/2019
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Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting said it’s time to have a relook at the concept of neutral umpires after numerous incorrect decisions were made in the first Ashes Test in Birmingham.

Pakistan umpire Aleem Dar and West Indian Joel Wilson drew criticism after 10 decisions were overturned on the first two days of opening Test between England and Australia.

Ponting is member of Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC) crucial Cricket Committee and said he will make sure the topic is discussed during their next meeting.

“It’s already been spoken about a lot among the players. If it’s not brought up (at that next MCC meeting), I’ll make sure it’s added to the agenda,” he told Cricket Australia‘s website.

“I would like to think the game has come far enough now for the game to not have neutral umpires. People might say that with all the technology we’ve got now, it doesn’t matter that much. But it’s not a good spectacle when pretty obviously wrong decisions are made,” Ponting added.

“There’s been a lot of negativity about the DRS (Decision Review System) over the years, but we’re pretty lucky that we had it (at Edgbaston).”

The ICC has made neutral umpires mandatory in 2002, which means umpires from England and Australia can’t officiate in the Ashes.

Ponting said quality umpires like England’s Richard Kettleborough are being forced to miss major series and travel the rest of the world.

“Surely Richard Kettleborough and the like would want to be umpiring the best series. The best umpires can end up missing out on all the big tournaments,” he said.

“It could force umpires into retirement a bit early as well when someone like (former Australian umpire) Simon Taufel is spending most of his life overseas, which is a bit harder than spending your time in Australia.”

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