IPL: Umpire Nigel Llong loses his cool – Are umpires getting vulnerable?

The Indian Premier League (IPL) has never been bereft of controversies. IPL 2019 itself has seen a couple of big ones – from Ravichandran Ashwin’s ‘Mankading’ to MS Dhoni storming onto the field to argue with the umpires.

The penultimate day of the league stage of this season of the tournament had seen another unnecessary controversy – this time concerning an umpire.

In a report by an Indian newspaper on Monday, it came to light that England official Nigel Llong created a ruckus inside the umpires’ room at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium during the match between Royal Challengers Bangalore’s and Sunrisers Hyderabad on the 4th of May.

During the match, Llong had incorrectly adjudged Bangalore pacer Umesh Yadav’s delivery as a no-ball in the final over of the first innings. As replays on the giant screen in the stadium displayed that Umesh hadn’t overstepped, both the bowler and his captain Virat Kohli were not pleased.

Umesh was seen arguing with the umpire, but a visibly irritated Llong gestured him to go back and continue with his bowling. Llong was also told by one of the players from Bangalore that he should be more focused.

It is being said that Llong, who is on the International Cricket Council‘s Elite Panel of umpires, was not amused with this and took out his frustration later in the evening. He is reported to have kicked at the door of the umpires’ room and shouted at the people who were inside.

The Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) officials have now confirmed the news and have mentioned that they will send a report to the BCCI’s Committee of Administrators for appropriate action to be taken.

It has also been stated that Llong had to pay Rs. 5,000 to the KSCA for the damages he had caused. Interestingly, Llong would be officiating in the final of the IPL 2019 on May 12 at Hyderabad and now that this news has exploded the heat would be on him.

Are umpires getting vulnerable?

While Nigel Llong’s actions were condemnable, one can’t help but feel that umpires today are getting a little too vulnerable with a great deal of spotlight on every slight error they commit.

50-year-old Nigel Long has been one of the most respected umpires in international cricket for a while now. To see him lose his cool like this is somewhat unexpected and unfortunate.

Modern day cricket can be cruel on the umpires with the number of technological advancements the game has made. One single error is caught within seconds by the cameras and dissected all over the world by cricketers, former players, the media and even by fans on social media. This puts added pressure on the umpires today and makes them extremely vulnerable. And highly charged tournaments like the IPL can be especially unforgiving on umpires for every single mistake they commit.

Hence, this outburst by Nigel Llong, while objectionable, is still somewhat understandable. He is a human too, after all. One hopes that in time there will be some form of training for umpires to cope with the extreme pressures of modern day cricket and its unfortunate ramifications.

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