Gillespie on Stokes: Umpires got it right


Former Australia fast bowler and now Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie has added his two cents to the Ben Stokes dismissal debate, saying that the umpires got it right when they gave the batsman out.

Stokes was dismissed via a rare 'obstructing the field' decision, after he stuck his hand out to stop a Mitchell Starc shy at the stumps. The umpires felt he deliberately blocked the ball, while he, and England fans, felt it was unintentional.

The laws of the game say that it has to be a deliberate prevention of the ball reaching the stumps, and there was a huge outcry over it. Some, like New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, called Oz captain Steve Smith 'immature' for not withdrawing the appeal.

But Gillespie wrote in the Guardian: "Stokes, for me, was out by the letter of the law. I don't think this was immaturity from Smith, as some have claimed.

"If he was a wise old pro at 36 or starting out as captain at 26, as he is now, I fancy he would have had the same conviction in sticking to the appeal.

"In doing so, Smith believed himself to be going with the decision of the officials and therefore operating within the spirit."

Speaking of the 'spirit of cricket', England captain Eoin Morgan felt Smith should have withdrawn the appeal and been sportsman-like about it, but Gillespie felt that in saying that, Morgan was questioning the umpires, and thus contravening the 'spirit himself.

'Dizzy' added: "You could, for example, argue that the England one-day captain, Eoin Morgan, was contravening it by questioning the decision of the officials and the integrity of his opponent at Lord’s on Saturday evening."

Australia went on to win the second ODI and take a two-nil series lead, though Morgan and Stokes both conceded afterwards that the dismissal had not impact on the outcome of the match.