We all need to see the light before Bob White stops play

Umpires Aleem ar (left) and Kumar Dharmasena
Umpires Aleem ar (left) and Kumar Dharmasena
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There’s an old tale that gets re-told on The Star sportsdesk from time to time about Bob White. Bob was a character created unintentionally by a copytaker who mis-heard a cricket reporter as he filed his copy over the phone.

Bob White was what the copytaker thought she’d heard when the reporter said ‘bad light’.

The error was spotted further down the line but we almost had a story in the paper where a cricket match came to an early end because: ‘Bob White stopped play’.

Couldn’t help but think about Bob on Sunday night around 7.35.

The national chorus of chuntering that followed the decision to end the last Ashes test with 21 runs needed for England to win was to be expected.

As the BBC’s excellent Test Match Special commentator Jonathan Agnew said when the light meter finally came out: Don’t blame the players or the umpires, blame the ICC. We will.

But first we need to look at ourselves a bit. Aren’t most of us being a bit one-eyed over this?

The cry from all and sundry was: “Let common sense prevail” but most of the argument was more wishful thinking than common sense.

Where’s the sense in playing cricket in the dark?

England would have had plenty of time to win had they not taken an hour to bowl eleven overs earlier in the game and of course as Bob White testifies, ending a game through bad light isn’t a new thing.

Apparently the light meter when they came off on Thursday night read 8.2, on Sunday it was 6.1. The rules now state that if a team comes off for bad light on one occasion and the light gets that bad on another occasion they have to come off. On the face of it that seems fair.

But in this case it’s a disgrace according to Aggers and a full house at The Oval and millions watching and listening around the world. I don’t want to come over all Roy Keane but what did we expect? It was almost dark and fielders couldn’t see the ball. Would it be better to go back to the days when the umpires offered the batsmen the chance to say if they wanted to carry on?

Yes it probably would, but will the ICC see the light?