CENTURION: The ICC on Sunday came in for sharp criticism for its bizarre rules on playing conditions after the play was stopped for lunch with India needing just two runs to win the second ODI against South Africa here.
Both the on-field umpires — veteran Aleem Dar and Adrian Holdstock and match referee Andy Pycroft were criticised by TV commentators and cricket pundits, who termed their decision to call for lunch as per ICC’s ‘rigid’ playing condition rules with India needing just two runs to win as ‘farce’.
Opting to field, India bowled out South Africa for a meagre 118 and then were comfortably placed at 117 for one in 19 overs when the umpires called for lunch as per ICC rules.
The decision did not go down well with all and sundry because the umpires had already extended pre-lunch play by four overs. At the scheduled time of break, India were 93 for one after 15 overs.
But to the astonishment of players, spectators and commentators, the umpires stuck to the letter of the regulations, ordering a 40-minute lunch break before India could complete a comprehensive win to take a 2-0 lead in the six-match series.
West Indian great Micheal Holding termed the decision as “ridiculous”.
“They (ICC) want to make the game attractive but this was a ridiculous decision,” Holding said while commentating.
In fact, neither of the team looked happy with the decision with India skipper Virat Kohli, who was batting alongside Shikhar Dhawan at that time, even taking up the matter with the on-field umpires but to no avail.
Former India batsman Virender Sehwag took to twitter to mock the umpires’ decision.
“Umpires treating Indian batsmen like PSU Bank treat customers. Lunch ke baad aana,” Sehwag tweeted on a lighter note.