In a brave decision, the International Cricket Council (ICC), the governing body for cricket/puppet entity of India, Australia, and England, have held firm on their affirmative action umpiring policy.
Completely blind umpire Joel Wilson reportedly has the ‘full and unquestioning’ support of the ICC, despite missing an absolute stone-cold LBW on Sunday night in the third Ashes Test at Headingley, Leeds.
In what is being hailed as a ‘triumphant win’ for blind advocates, as well as the English cricket team, the ICC has refused to hear evidence of the fact that Wilson missing the LBW decision irrevocably suggests he is unfit to umpire at Test level.
There are also concerns over Wilson’s hearing, as several missed decisions early in the Test match had to be reviewed. However, at present, the ICC does not have an official statement of support for deaf umpires, so that element remains to be seen.
Regardless, Ben Stokes’ Headingley heroics will go down in history, but the real heroes are the brave umpires who persist with their job, entirely premised on sight and sound, despite being largely unable to experience either. Some have criticised Wilson’s decisionmaking as ‘ridiculous,’ but it is simply the story of a man trying his best.
So we apply the blind beauty Joel Wilson, and wish him all the best for the future. Maybe next innings he’ll finally find some sort of inner sight, and give all ten English wickets out pitching outside leg and going over the top.
Who umpires the umpires?
More to come on this developing story.