Captain Babar Azam’s Graceful Response to Umpire’s Call Drama in World Cup 2023

Read about Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam’s poised reaction to the ‘umpire’s call’ controversy in the 2023 World Cup, as he navigates a challenging loss with grace.

Babar Azam's graceful response to Umpire's Call
Upon review, the replays indicated that the ball would have clipped the stumps – an ‘umpire’s call,’ resulting in a ‘not out’ decision.

In the midst of an extensive debate surrounding the contentious ‘umpire’s call’ rule, particularly in the case of the LBW decisions involving Rassie van der Dussen and Tabraiz Shamsi, Pakistan’s skipper, Babar Azam, offered a refreshing perspective. In a moment where emotions were running high, following a heart-wrenching loss that left Pakistan teetering on the brink of elimination from the 2023 World Cup, Babar Azam’s response was noteworthy.

It would have been the easiest route for him to lay the blame squarely on the umpires, the DRS system, and various other factors, yet he chose a different path. He gracefully accepted both decisions.

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When questioned about the DRS call on Shamsi during the post-match presentation, Babar Azam expressed, “It’s part of the game. This is umpire’s call, so I think it’s just part of the game. Had he given it out, it would have favored us.”

However, it’s crucial to understand that Babar’s perspective doesn’t encapsulate the full complexity of the situation. If Shamsi had been declared out on the field, Pakistan would have clinched victory in the 46th over itself. The decision made by the on-field umpire, Alex Wharf, held significant implications.

So, what transpired in this critical moment?

South Africa was left needing 8 runs with just one wicket in hand. In the final ball of the 46th over, Shaheen Afridi delivered a delivery that deviated sharply off a good length, trapping Shamsi right in front of the stumps. An impassioned appeal ensued, but the on-field umpire’s verdict favored the batsman. Without hesitation, Babar Azam resorted to the DRS system.

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Upon review, the replays indicated that the ball would have clipped the stumps – an ‘umpire’s call,’ resulting in a ‘not out’ decision. Shamsi survived, and so did South Africa. Eventually, they secured the victory in the 48th over when Keshav Maharaj struck a boundary off Mohammad Nawaz.

Babar Azam was acutely aware that Pakistan couldn’t lament their luck, as the same ‘umpire’s call’ rule had earlier granted them a vital wicket in the match. Van der Dussen had been given out by the on-field umpire, Paul Reiffel. The South African batsman opted for a DRS review, which presented two critical ‘umpire’s calls’ regarding the pitch and impact. Since the ‘umpire’s call’ favored an ‘out’ decision, Dussen was subsequently dismissed by the third umpire.

With Pakistan facing the grim prospect of exiting the tournament, Babar Azam expressed his disappointment over the missed opportunity. He acknowledged, “I think it’s disappointing everyone, we had the opportunity to win this match and stay in the tournament but we missed it. We will try our best in our next three matches and put our effort so let’s see where we stand after the three matches.”

Babar Azam attributed the falling 20 runs short of what could have been a winning total on the Chepauk track to his team’s batters.

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“It’s very disappointing, we fought back well, but we were 10-15 runs short. I think the way the fast bowlers bowled, they did well, but unfortunately, the result was not in our favor.”

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