Umpiring controversy rocks BBL09 after four balls

Chris Young
Sports Reporter

It took only four balls for an umpiring controversy to take hold in the Big Bash League.

Sydney Thunder star batsman Usman Khawaja got away with the no-call of a lifetime against the Brisbane Heat in the BBL09 opener.

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The former Test batsman looked to have been trapped absolutely plumb in front of his stumps by Josh Lalor, well beaten by a full delivery that rapped him on the pads.

But Khawaja escaped after the umpire felt there had been a hint of bat on the ball - something replays later revealed to be far from the truth.

Sydney Thunder batsman Usman Khawaja got away with murder in the fourth ball of BBL09, with this called not-out by the umpire. Picture: Channel 7

Fortunately for the Heat the error wasn’t overly costly, with Khawaja removed for 22 runs a short time later.

The error didn’t go unnoticed by fans and commentators, who were quick to wonder whether the BBL should have implemented a decision review system for this season, as most coaches had pushed for.

In an ironic twist, Sydney Thunder coach Shane Bond was one of the most vocal supporters of the proposal to introduce DRS, the lack of which seems tp have briefly spared him his blushes.

“Last year there were a number of decisions that took away from the cricket,” Bond told Fox Sports.

“In our game, one ball can make a difference. I would like to take the pressure off the umpires and have a one challenge system.”

Peter Siddle recalled despite backlash from Aussie legends

Peter Siddle has been brought into Australia's squad for the Boxing Day Test as a replacement for the injured Josh Hazlewood.

Siddle is likely to be a bowling reserve, with James Pattinson and Michael Neser already in the squad.

"Peter has been brought in as a 13th player for Melbourne. He is a proven Test match performer with an exceptional knowledge of the MCG which will be a valuable part of our preparation," chief selector Trevor Hohns said.

However, Spin King Shane Warne labelled the idea of picking Siddle in the squad as a “backward step” and was hoping a youngster would join.

This followed coach Justin Langer declaring the veteran quick an obvious choice considering Siddle's imposing form at the MCG.

"I'm a big fan of Peter Siddle, he's done a great job, he's a good guy to have around the group and he's still doing really well for Victoria," Warne said.

"But for me I think it's a step backwards if you go to Peter Siddle, even if it's just a stop-gap sort of thing.”