England captain Stuart Broad said he and New Zealand counterpart Brendon McCullum considered taking their players off the field due to fears they could be struck by lightning in their World Twenty20 clash on Saturday.
“To be as polite as I possibly can be, I think it was distinctly average decision making, keeping us out there after the first lightning strike,” Broad told reporters in his post-match media conference. “It’s not sour grapes because I think both sides were uncomfortable about being out there with such heavy lightning around.
“I asked the umpires for a bit of clarity on the decision making at the end of the game and they didn’t see the lightning and didn’t think it was a threat.”
Broad added that he and McCullum, who was batting at the time, had discussed the possibility of ignoring the umpires and taking their teams off. “When the umpires got together and kept saying it was fine, Baz (McCullum) and I had a discussion about taking our players off the field because we didn’t agree (with them),” Broad said.
“At the end of the day it’s a game of cricket and I don’t think the crowd and players should be under threat.
“Personally, if I would have been in their shoes I would have had the players off the field but that’s not the way it worked.”
The comment attracted ICC’s displeasure and the world body fined Broad 15 percent of his match fee for criticising the officials. “Umpires are the final judges of the fitness of the ground, weather or light for play,” match referee Javagal Srinath said in a statement.
“Weather decisions are the most difficult to make, but the umpires make the best decision possible, taking all factors into account. Such public criticism is not good for the spirit of the game. Mutual respect between players, match officials and administrators is paramount to the game of cricket.”
Cowering in Pavilion
Veteran New Zealand swing bowler Kyle Mills, who said he was “cowering in the dressing room” during the lightning strikes, felt McCullum’s six-ball innings of 16 had been crucial in the situation.
“Brendon summed up the situation pretty well. He knew bad weather was on the way and … he really showed some initiative and got us over line,” Mills said. “It was a fine knock.”
Mills refused to blame the umpires for keeping the players on the field. “The umpires are out there trying to make decisions to the best of their ability,” Mills said.
“They want to get a full game of cricket on and they’re trying to make a judgement call as how they see it.
“It just so happens we got another over in during the game.
“The lightning and thunder could have passed through in those six balls and everyone out there was trying to make the right decision for everyone involved.”