England Foiled By Billy The Kid: 2nd T20

There’s no point crying over a T20 international – especially one everyone will have forgotten by this time next week – but England were a little hard done by in Nagpur yesterday. We were pretty much cruising to victory, with just eight runs needed off the last over, when an umpire with a trigger finger as itchy as Billy The Kid’s intervened on the host’s behalf.

Joe Root wasn’t playing particularly well at the time – he’d mistimed a few slogs – but his calm head and ability to pick up the ones and twos was all England needed. Instead he was sawn off (excuse the Root pun) in the most brutal and quite embarrassing fashion by an umpire who either (a) temporarily lost his sanity, or (b) succumbed to the pressure of forty thousand Indian supporters shouting ‘howwwwzzzzat’ at 150 decibels.

When I first saw the delivery my initial reaction was “why on earth is he appealing for that”? It looked too high and was clearly going down leg. It also looked like Root had got a sizeable inside edge. In other words there were three very obvious reasons why it wasn’t out. In fact, I assumed the appeal was simply one of those attempts to distract the batsman so he wouldn’t take a quick single.

But then the umpire raised his finger and all hell broke lose. Oh dear.

Although England didn’t help themselves after the controversial dismissal – Jos Buttler showed he’s human after all by choking big time thereafter – Root’s wicket definitely swung momentum and made India believe again. Credit to Bumrah for bowling a very impressive final over.

England’s bad luck was compounded by the fact that Virat Kohli was completely plum lbw during India’s innings earlier in the day – but obviously given not out. The ball was knocking middle stump out of the ground but once again the umpire either (a) temporarily lost his sanity, or (b) didn’t want to incur the wrath of the partisan and somewhat delirious home crowd.

Just when England needed Billy The Kidd, bloody Calamity Jane showed up.

Although England lost yesterday our T20 team continues to look rather useful. Chris Jordan bowled very well and Moeen Ali continues to keep a calm head when the batsmen go after him. I’d be interested to know what his pulse rate is.

The teams will now play a deciding T20 in Bangalore in a couple of days’ time. It should be very interesting. These two teams have been quite close throughout the ODI and T20 series and it has made for some entertaining cricket.

James Morgan


  • I was already pessimistic about our chances before Root was out. Bumrah had bowled an excellent 18th over, it was getting increasingly difficult to score quickly, Root had become somewhat bogged down and Buttler had just got away with a slog that was only a foot in height away from being pouched on the boundary.
    In short, although Root was undoubtedly sawn off, I don’t think the match was lost there.
    What umpire Shamsuddin (sp?) did was to steal the attention away from a) a good innings by Rahul, just when all the Indian fans on the blogs seemed about to explode with frustration against their openers, and b) great death bowling by Bumrah, Jordan and, to a lesser extent, Mills.
    I now really want Jordan in the 50 over team. He seems to represent part of what our bowling was missing last week. We just need to find a middle-overs wicket-taker now.

    • Jordan has been played in 30+ ODIs so it’s not like he hasn’t been given quite a few opportunities. He averages 35 with the ball and his ER of 5.95 is higher than any recent regular English white-ball seamer except Stokes. In his last nine matches (since the WC), he’s taken 6/456 so it’s difficult to argue there’s much evidence he’s improving.

      England arguably play too many ODI players in Tests, this would be playing T20 players in ODIs!

      • Damn you and your fact-driven analysis!! My only wriggle room here is to idly wonder if there is a more detailed metric than bald ER, to take into account the overs each bowler bowls (i.e. numbers 2,4,6,31,33,42,44,46,48 and50, for example, which, being weighted towards the end of the innings might reasonably get hit more).

        • I think Jordan’s economy is slightly inflated because he bowls at the death but I ran out of patience with him in ODIs because he was very inconsistent. Maybe he’s developing? I really don’t know. But he seems to do better in T20s. I think it might be worth trying him again in 50 over cricket at some stage because of the relative paucity of other options. All just my opinion of course.

  • Personally I would bring in DRS to iT20 Cricket 1 per side per innings really shouldn’t effect the speed of the game and maybe add the time taken for incorrect reviews to the teams so they don’t review just because they have one. This doesn’t solve the overall problem of that despite being Crickets superpower India is consistently failing to pull their weight on elite level umpires.

    Kohli is good for the game and his attitude to Test Cricket means I am always tempted to give him the benefit of the doubt but watching him chastise the umpire for having the affront to pull him up on how he was throwing in was telling with the attitude from the comms box of you tell him Virat.

    England should still have won that game, 7 off 5 with Buttler on strike. Root showed what we all know, that on surfaces without much pace he doesn’t have the power to play big strokes. In a way it may have been better for England if he had hit out early and got Buttler in.

  • Overall it was a decent watch for the neutral – throw in the (surprising) overnight cliffhanger in Auckland and it makes a decent day of international cricket. You won’t see too many matches ended by a player being run out without facing a ball after being part of a 24-ball, 54 run partnership …

  • Personally, I think that those decisions were far to uncomplicated to suggest anything other than skulduggery on the part of the umpires.

    Probably something to do with sponsors, betting companies, BCCI, etc., not wanting the 3rd match to be a dead rubber.

    Chettithody Shamshuddin should apply for a job as a football referee in the EPL. I’m sure his skills would be greatly appreciated by PGMO!

    • It’s usually best to steer clear of these people with their, ‘lies, damn lies and statistics’. Sorry Simon! Tongue in cheek. :-)

    • I’m not too sure about the skulduggery etc. He’s not an umpire from the experience elite panel and they make enough mistakes. It would be easy to be intimidated by the crowd into giving poor decisions. By that I’m not saying it’s excusable but it is understandable.

    • Oh you pot stirrer you! As editor of this site I couldn’t possibly comment ;-) although I should point out there’s absolutely no evidence to suggest there’s a conspiracy. But it’s fun to speculate! Personally I just think the umpire had a complete howler.

  • What did you make of the pitch towards the end of the game? Back of a length balls bouncing shin height, I’ve seen it, rarely, in amateur cricket, but never in the professional game. Didn’t think bumrah did anything other than just letting the dodgy pitch and the pressure do its thing

  • Complaining about lbw decisions….classy stuff! As soon as I saw Root’s miss, my hands were up – clearly hitting the stumps and the commentary team thought so too. With that level of inconsistent bounce, swiping across a straight one like that was a lottery. It was a surprise to see he had got an edge. Still, he was bottling it. So it made no difference whatsoever.

    • The TV comms didn’t pick up on the possibility of an edge until they saw Root looking unhappy, nobody heard the nick through the stump mic. It’s also worth pointing out Kohli got a nick in the first game and nobody appealed because they didn’t hear it. 35k supporters aren’t quiet in India! I’d also say that TV didn’t run ball-tracking with the dismissal that I saw, but it didn’t look high to me.

      On the Kohli LBW, they did run ball-tracking and it was hitting leg-stump full-on (not middle-stump). It was the sort of decision that never would have been given in the old days (“going down…. ” and all that). Elite panel umpires tend to give them as they know DRS will reverse an error. Newer umpires who haven’t played with DRS are more likely to adopt the old approach. Of course, I wouldn’t rule out the pressure of knowing 35k people were very pumped up about seeing Kohli.

      Anyway, if this leads to the overdue adoption of DRS in T20I, it will have served a purpose.

      • I think it’s very significant that they didn’t show the Hawkeye. Just my experience :-)

        • but if Root had stayed in another few balls trying a big slog and just hitting it vertically to midwicket like his previous 2 shots, how would that have helped?

          • He would’ve got ones and twos – which is exactly what we needed. 8 off 6. The slogs were when we needed boundaries. Root had been very good at the bread and butter stuff (running hard and picking gaps) throughout.

  • I don’t think the umpire can be blamed for the Root one – I’ve watched it loads of times and can’t spot the edge, even though I know it’s there!

    The “not out” vs Kohli was a shocker though.

    Ultimately though, we just blew it.


copywriter copywriting