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Aussie cricket umpire Paul Wilson lifts lid on call that haunts him six years later

The Aussie cult hero recently umpired his final match after a wonderful career.

Of the hundreds of decisions Australian cricket umpire Paul Wilson made during his stellar career, one stands out for all the wrong reasons. Big 'Blocker', who played one Test and 11 ODIs for Australia before moving into umpiring, is still tortured by an lbw adjudication he gave six years ago.

It happened during a 50-over World Cup qualifying match between the West Indies and Scotland in Zimbabwe in 2018. The Scots were chasing a lowly 199 for a spot in the major tournament to be held in England the following year.

Paul Wilson and Richie Berrington on the cricket field.
Paul Wilson gave Richie Berrington out, and the decision has always haunted the retired cricket umpire. Image: Getty/ICC

"Yeah absolutely, one stands out,” Wilson replied when asked by SEN's SACA Show if there's a "howler" he'd like to take back. "I did the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe in 2018 and I did the final game of the Super 6, it was West Indies versus Scotland.

“I gave out (Scotland No.5) Richie Berrington lbw (for 33 off 68) to something I thought looked out. We didn’t have any DRS. They didn’t put DRS in at the Super 6 stage which was quite unusual, because this was the qualifiers for the World Cup.

Richie Berrington.
Ball-tracking showed it would have missed leg stump. Image: ICC

"It was probably just umpire’s call on impact and missing leg, probably hitting fourth stump. We got rain half an hour later and went down to Duckworth-Lewis-Stern and of course (Scotland) lost by five runs on Duckworth-Lewis-Stern system.

"Long story short, they probably would have lost. But it didn’t really resonate with people that it was anything to do with the players, my decision became the focus. That’s definitely one I look at straight away as one I’d love to have back, but you can’t.

"They just missed out, West Indies qualified. Scotland lost their last two games to miss out on qualification… I’d love to have that back."

Paul Wilson and Bruce Oxenford.
Paul Wilson and Bruce Oxenford umpired their final matches together in the Sheffield Shield. (Getty Images)

Paul Wilson copped backlash at the time

The ball-by-ball match blogger wrote: "Given lbw! Huge wicket. Good length on middle stump, would've gone down the leg side though. Impact was outside the leg stump, but oh dear, Berrington's gone. If only this game had DRS."

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Scotland skipper Kyle Coetzer said after the game: "Clearly that lbw decision didn’t go down well and it’s not for the first time in this tournament. It’s a big tournament, and a big game, and it comes down to that. It’s hard to comprehend after all the hard work we’ve done."

Wilson went on to complete a fine career as an international umpire, retiring last month after overseeing nine Tests, 51 ODIs and 27 T20Is across 11 years. The 52-year-old also stood in 62 first class matches in Australia, including four Sheffield Shield finals, and five BBL deciders. But he will never forget that moment in Harare.