Bengaluru: Former Australian Test umpire Daryl Harper has slammed the International Cricket Council (ICC) for not apologising after the match officials’ “monumental error” in the World Cup 2019 final at Lord’s. According to him that mistake probably led to the trophy being handed to the “wrong team”.

In the epic final between England and New Zealand, both the actual match and the Super Over, that followed ended in ties. The Eoin Morgan-led hosts were declared winners on boundary countback rule. This led to a huge controversy.

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It has been more than a year since that clash happened on July 14, 2019. Recently, on the first anniversary, cricketers and fans recalled the game.

During the final over in England’s chase, a throw from Martin Guptill deflected of Ben Stokes’ bat and the ball raced to the boundary.

Watch: Video captures 2 epic finals on July 14

Stokes apologised to the Kiwis as he dived to reach his crease. However, experts felt England were awarded six runs when it had to be five (one + four overthrows). Many felt the umpires misread the Law 19.8. The contention was whether Stokes and Adil Rashid had crossed for the second run before the throw came in.

In an exclusive interview with Asianet Newsable, 68-year-old Harper called the overthrows decision as a “stinker” and went on to say that it should not have happened with “best” match officials in charge of the final.

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Sri Lanka’s Kumar Dharmasena and Marais Erasmus (South Africa) were the on-field umpires while Australian Rod Tucker was the TV umpire. Sri Lanka’s Ranjan Madugalle was the match referee and Aleem Dar of Pakistan the reserve umpire.

“It is inevitable that umpires will be remembered for decisions. I am a former umpire and I remember other umpires for their decisions. I’m sure other umpires remember me for some of my decisions. Foremost in my mind is the absolute stinker of a decision that probably handed the World Cup to the wrong team in the July 2019 final at Lord’s,” Harper, who stood in 95 Tests, 174 ODIs and 10 T20Is, said when asked whether umpires are best remembered for their wrong decisions.

He added, “It really didn’t surprise me that none of the umpires or the (match) referee apparently knew the Law involving the importance of where the batsmen were when Martin Guptill threw the ball from the outfield. Sadly former players turned umpires don’t necessarily know some of the finer points of the Laws. I wondered how many, if any of the officials, including the match referee had ever been required to sit for a written test on the Laws.”

Harper, who made his international umpiring debut way back in 1994, said he and other umpires reacted in “disbelief” to that decision.

“Around the world, garden-variety umpires like myself, instantly reacted in disbelief at the incident because we had been required to learn the Laws and to take a written test, sometimes an annual event that reinforced our knowledge, season after season. We weren’t ushered straight into the role because of our playing history.”

The former international umpire praised New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and his teammates for accepting “the consequences of that disaster graciously”.

“It wasn’t a deliberate error but it should not have occurred with supposedly the best officials in charge. However it’s a good reminder that it’s the impact of a decision on the result that determines whether it is remembered. That error was monumental so it should be remembered. New Zealanders should be so proud of themselves for accepting the consequences of that disaster so graciously. Kiwi cricket captains have a long history of playing in the best spirit, including Daniel Vettori, Stephen Fleming and Brendan McCullum in my experiences. Kane Williamson is continuing to develop the fine legacy.”

The Australian said he was waiting for the ICC to accept its mistake but instead it was avoiding the blame.

“I was optimistically awaiting an acknowledgement from ICC that the officials had erred but all I read was a severe case of avoiding the blame. Apart from the on-field umpires getting it wrong, the third umpire and referee should have owned up to their involvement. Almost everyone who has been appointed as a third umpire will tell you that it is a team effort and everyone contributes to the team performance. A spokesman suggested that the third umpire and referee were unable to intervene and provide the vital facts of the matter unless they were asked.

“I was disappointed at the decision from my comfortable armchair 16,000 kilometres from Lord’s in the early hours of the morning. I might have been sleep deprived, I might have misread the whole situation, I might have missed the explanations and apologies…and pigs might fly too,” Harper concluded.