Umpiring is a hard task. One needs to make instant decisions that could win the match for a side or destroy the other team. And even the best of umpires can make incorrect calls. Simon Taufel, one of the best umpires of modern cricket, recently recalled one of his wrong calls concerning legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.
Sachin was batting on 91 during an India-England Test at Trent Bridge in 2007 when he faced a ball by Paul Collingwood. As the bowling side appealed for an LBW (leg before wicket), Taufel was at the helm and raised his finger.
The Master Blaster is known for his fair play and has on multiple occasions walked off the crease before the final decision has been given. But the Trent Bridge call did not sit well with the batsman and he even stayed on the pitch for some time to digest it.
"Now, of course, Sachin is not happy with the decision. It's unusual for him to stand, and he was there a little while, and then he left. I could tell he wasn't happy," said the umpire on the Spotify podcast 22 Yarns hosted by Gaurav Kapur.
Hawkeye, which is used to analyse and review LBW decisions, had shown that the ball was missing the stump narrowly and weight of the decision had been huge for Taufel. "I just knew what the response of world cricket was going to look like; so I didn't open Cricinfo, I didn't read any newspapers, I knew I was going to be¦ not the flavor of the month in the media".
However, a chat with Sachin the next day was a welcome change. Taufel recalled how he ran into Sachin during his morning walk and said, "Look, yesterday I was wrong, you know? I looked at it, I was wrong." To this, Sachin said that Taufel didn't have to think about it as he was a "good referee" who did not make wrong calls often.
Taufel summarised that the conversation was not an "excuse" to make him or Sachin feel better, it was "just an acknowledgment" that they were both doing their best. According to the umpire he wanted to admit that he knew Sachin was unhappy and that he was doing my best to make sure it didn't happen again.