An unusual moment in the Big Bash League (BBL) game between the Perth Scorchers and the Melbourne Stars on Sunday has sparked debate when an umpire Bruce Oxenford appeared to reverse his decision immediately after giving a player out.
On debut for the Stars, Xavier Crone was celebrating, thinking he had taken his first BBL wicket when Perth’s Ashton Turner was given out caught behind.
Oxenford nodded and raised his finger to signal Turner had edged the ball and he was out, only to change his mind in a split second, repeatedly signalling it was not out.
“No sorry not out, not out, not out, no,” Oxenford said to the confused Stars players.
Umpire Bruce Oxenford reverses his decision:
— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) January 2, 2022
But many viewers believe he was influenced to change his decision because Turner immediately pointed to his head and said, “Helmet, Helmet” — signalling the ball had deflected off his helmet and not his bat.
Commentators were in disbelief at the rare sight of an umpire backtracking on their decision.
Australian cricket great Adam Gilchrist said it was acceptable for the umpire to change his mind but he hoped Oxenford wasn’t influenced by Turner’s action, which he said would be venturing into “dangerous territory” for both player and umpire.
“Courageous umpiring to go, ‘I’ve made a mistake there, so I’m happy to overturn that’,” Gilchrist said.
“They do have the power to do that, so that’s fine. The only issue is the fact that he seems like he’s responded to a player gesturing. Now that opens up the opportunity, should another player be in a similar situation.
“It’s dangerous territory there as a batter to be signalling like that.
“It was just the gesturing from the player that creates a little bit of a grey area for players in the future because typically match referees come down heavily on that sort of action.”
The commentators were convinced Oxenford was influenced by Turner to reverse the decision.
“My perception was I thought Bruce Oxenford saw that reaction and immediately went, ‘No I’m overturning that, I’m changing it’,” Gilchrist said.
“Because he definitely gave him out.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan added: “He’s turned his decision around. He was quick to change it.
“I reckon he was (sucked in). I reckon Turner’s shouted helmet, helmet, which is fine if it’s the right decision.
“It’s the right decision by the looks of it. Whatever way you get to the right decision whether using technology or the umpire changing his mind.
“I don’t like the player shouting out. I think it’s down to the umpires to make the call without the players saying anything but fundamentally if that is the right decision at the end of the day, that’s absolutely fine by me.”