‘Dangerous’: Umpire’s controversial BBL backflip Bruce Oxenford’s decision reversal in the BBL raised some eyebrows.


Sporting officials rarely ever change their mind so an umpire’s call to reverse his decision in the Big Bash certainly raised eyebrows.

Who said umpires never change their mind?

A bizarre moment in Sunday’s Big Bash game between the Perth Scorchers and the Melbourne Stars has sparked debate when an umpire appeared to reverse his decision immediately after giving a player out.

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On debut for the Stars, Xavier Crone was celebrating, thinking he had taken his first BBL wicket when Perth’s Ashton Turner was given out caught behind.

Umpire Bruce Oxenford nodded and raised his finger to signal Turner had edged the ball and he was out, only to change his mind in a split second, repeatedly signalling it was not out.

“No sorry not out, not out, not out, no,” Oxenford said to the confused Stars players.

But many viewers believe he was influenced to change his decision because Turner immediately pointed to his head and said, “Helmet, Helmet” — signalling the ball had deflected off his helmet and not his bat.

Fox Cricket’s Mark Howard said: “Well Turner pointed to his helmet saying it was off the head and now there’s been a reversal. What has happened?

“He gave him out and then Turner pointed to his helmet and I think (Oxenford) had a chat to square leg as well.

“I think he was agreeing with Turner that it went off his helmet then his arm involuntarily raised.

“Gee there’s some questions to be asked out of that. If the batsman in that situation Turner, if he hadn’t said anything, still being given out?”

With Turner allowed to play on, Stars captain Glenn Maxwell approached the umpire asking for an explanation.

“Don’t get sucked in by it,” Maxwell was heard politely saying to Oxenford, referring to Turner’s gesture to his helmet.

Oxenford explained the reasoning behind reversing decision: “I realised the second I put the finger up. The deflection’s gone the wrong way.”

Commentators were in disbelief at the rare sight of an umpire backtracking on their decision.

Australian cricket great Adam Gilchrist said it was acceptable for the umpire to change his mind but he hoped Oxenford wasn’t influenced by Turner’s action, which he said would be venturing into “dangerous territory” for both player and umpire.

“Courageous umpiring to go, ‘I’ve made a mistake there, so I’m happy to overturn that’,” Gilchrist said.

“They do have the power to do that, so that’s fine. The only issue is the fact that he seems like he’s responded to a player gesturing. Now that opens up the opportunity, should another player be in a similar situation.

“It’s dangerous territory there as a batter to be signalling like that.”

The commentators were convinced Oxenford was influenced by Turner to reverse the decision.

“My perception was I thought Bruce Oxenford saw that reaction and immediately went, ‘No I’m overturning that, I’m changing it’,” Gilchrist said.

“Because he definitely gave him out.”

Former England captain Michael Vaughan added: “He’s turned his decision around. He was quick to change it.

“I reckon he was (sucked in). I reckon Turner’s shouted helmet helmet, which is fine if it’s the right decision.

“It’s the right decision by the looks of it. Whatever way you get to the right decision whether using technology or the umpire changing his mind.

“I don’t like the player shouting out. I think it’s down to the umpires to make the call without the players saying anything but fundamentally if that is the right decision at the end of the day, that’s absolutely fine by me.”

Some pundits believed Oxenford should be given the benefit of the doubt, especially since the right call was made in the end.

Sports reporter Daniel Cherny tweeted: “Bruce Oxenford has stood in 62 Tests. Reckon he deserves the benefit of the doubt.”



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