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Former Test umpire Dickie Bird
"The man in the middle as we know him has finished."
 real 56k

Ex-England captain Mike Gatting
"Umpires have not used much common sense"
 real 14k

banner Friday, 9 March, 2001, 12:52 GMT
Gatting blames umpires for Kandy chaos
Mike Gatting (left) and Angus Fraser
Gatting knows more than most about on-field rows
Mike Gatting, who famously clashed with officialdom on the sub-continent, believes the umpires in Sri Lanka have only themselves to blame for the controversy in Kandy.

The former England captain was able to offer a unique insight into the second Test debacle, following his own fall-out with umpire Shakoor Rana in 1987.

And there were echoes at Kandy of Gatting's notorious finger-wagging slanging match, as Michael Atherton remonstrated with Sri Lankan opener Kumar Sangakkara.

Gatting's clash with Rana in Faisalabad 13 years ago, effectively ended his career as England skipper.


I wagged my finger once - but I didn't have particular problems with umpires apart from that
  Gatting on dissent
But this time around he believes it is the officials who have caused the ill-feeling between the two teams, with a series of poor decisions.

"The umpires in this match haven't used much common sense," the ex-Middlesex batsman told BBC Radio Five Live.

"There was a case in the first Test where Mike Atherton probably wasn't caught - and now we've had a similar situation in Kandy, where Sanath Jayasuriya was given out off what was clearly a "bump-ball".

"These sort of very basic decisions can make players distraught.

"If you've got cameras around the ground, then use them. Why make yourself look silly if you get it wrong?"

Walk, don't walk?

"It's one of those situations where the umpires seem to be trying to level the playing field," Gatting said.

Shakoor Rana and Mike Gatting in 1987
The row between Rana and Gatting caused a diplomatic incident
"Respect has to be earned. You don't just expect to be given it - you have to earn it by being a capable umpire and being able to sort out difficult situations.

"Unfortunately it's a bit of a Catch-22 situation, because after the first Test match people were talking about dissent. But the problem was not brought about by the players."

But while Gatting points the finger at the umpires, he accepts that others need to play their part to improve the image of the game.

"The players themselves have got a responsibility now," he added.

"A lot of players these days don't walk. I don't mind about that - but if they get a bad decision, they mustn't go off shaking their heads left, right and centre. They can't have it both ways."

Time for more TV

Gatting calls for increased use of technology - both during the game and after it has finished - in an attempt to remove the element of human error.

"Just as cricketers use visual aids to help them, it's about time visual aids were used to help umpires," he said.

"They should be able to sit down and go through the Test match after the close of play.

"They should be asked why they gave something out and why they didn't.

"It should be constructive - they need to be able to learn from it, as we do as players.

"I think that's going to come and I think there should now be a rule that if you're in any doubt, call for the TV replay, come what may."

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See also:

27 Feb 01 |  England on Tour
Gatt: Stay cool, England
28 Nov 00 |  England on Tour
A very snappy day
12 Nov 00 |  England on Tour
Neutral umpire 'will halve problem'
17 Oct 00 |  England on Tour
Gatt regrets Rana row
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