Kumar Dharmasena’s involvement in an umpiring blunder on the first day of the World Cup has not stopped him from being selected to officiate on the final day - and in the process become the first player to feature in a World Cup final as both an umpire and player.
English umpire Richard Kettleborough, rated as the world’s best umpire for the past two years, was unsurprisingly chosen by the ICC to be in the centre on Sunday at the MCG for the match between Australia and New Zealand.
That he will be joined by Dharmasena, who won the umpires’ award in 2011, was a surprise - not because of the Sri Lankan’s general standard of officiating but because of his role that saw England’s James Taylor stranded two runs short of a maiden century for England.
After the leg-before dismissal of Taylor, made by presiding umpire Aleem Dar, was overruled by the video umpire, Dharmasena independently called for a review of an incident that happened a few seconds later, when England attempted to run a leg-bye and Jimmy Anderson was run-out at the striker’s end by a direct hit from Glenn Maxwell.
On advice from video umpire Billy Bowden that confirmed Anderson was short of his ground, the paceman was given out, which ended England’s innings and, with it, the match.
Taylor’s displeasure with the decision was later vindicated, with the ICC confirming the ball should have been considered dead from the moment Dar raised his finger, which occurred before Maxwell’s throw that ran out Anderson.
“The ball should have been deemed dead when the batsman (James Taylor) was given out leg before wicket. No further runs or dismissals were possible,” the ICC later conceded in a statement. “The PCT [Playing Control Team] spoke to the England team management and acknowledges that the game ended incorrectly and an error was made.”
None of the match officials involved in the match faced penalty for the blunder.
The elevation of Dharmasena, 43, comes 19 years after he played in Sri Lanka’s 1996 triumph against Australia.
South African Marais Erasmus has been appointed video umpire, with Englishman Ian Gould to serve as fourth umpire. The ICC’s most senior match referee, Sri Lankan Ranjan Madugalle, will fill that role on Sunday.