Why umpire Richard Kettleborough’s face was the best thing about MS Dhoni’s run-out

Richard Kettleborough (via ICC video)

2019 Cricket World Cup semi-final, India v New Zealand

As you all know, the greatest umpire face of this World Cup was when Jason Roy flattened umpire Joel Wilson and tried to say sorry and Joel Wilson didn’t really feel that the apology was entirely welcome.

This one was good too though. This was the face umpire Richard Kettleborough made when Martin Guptill hit the stumps to run out MS Dhoni in the semi-final.

Umpires are supposed to be impartial and while the face didn’t actually betray any allegiance, it was an unusually emotive way to signal for a review.

“That’s close,” he was saying. “That’s really, really, super-close and this is very, very important.”

That’s good, we reckon. That’s appropriate. The face was a sign that this was such a big match and such a big moment that even one of the Red-Jacketed Robots of Judgement overseeing the game had felt moved by what was happening.

Umpires are supposed to be all chilled and inscrutable, but cricket is such a colossally powerful and wonderful thing that even Richard Kettleborough is apparently not immune to the occasional inadvertent sharp intake of breath.

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10 Appeals

  1. Thomas Pseudonym

    July 10, 2019 at 7:57 pm

    Try to represent a sharp intake of breath through pursed lips and tight teeth in letters.


  2. There’s a bit of Frankie Howerd in his expression as well.

  3. I wonder what “soft signal” that face might be suggesting?

  4. Guardian headline: ‘India’s Virat Kohli unhappy with Cricket World Cup format after semi-final exit’

    First paragraph: ‘Virat Kohli has suggested the International Cricket Council may want to consider changing the format of the World Cup after India’s dramatic semi-final exit.’

    Actual quote: ‘Asked whether he would like to see the tournament follow the model of the Indian Premier League, in which teams who finish top in the regular season get another chance to reach the final if they lose their first play‑off match, the India captain said: “Maybe.’

    The quote part is of course halfway down the page, where they know most of the comments section won’t have read it.

    • But….web clicks….

    • Chris Stocks. What a proper piece of shit.

      Virat has accepted the defeat and is obviously hurting now. But you have to write a story that makes him look like a sore loser.

      Chris Stocks. What a proper piece of shit.

  5. Gotta get the comments section all riled up. Leads to more shares and thus more clicks and more ad revenue.
    All this from a newspaper that says they want their readers to ‘contribute’ so that they don’t have to resort to the nonsense that the other newspapers do. Bah.

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