Umpires and match referees play an important role in the game of cricket like most other sports but does that influence cricket betting in any way? We look at this topic in greater detail here.
Let’s set the record straight from the get go.
Cricketing umpires could end up influencing betting strategies indirectly, but that might not be a deliberate occurrence. Their impact is typically more on the outcome of the match rather than betting strategies themselves.
That being said, it’s important to understand the role of officials in cricket, whether at the highest, international level or at the lower domestic levels as well.
What is the Role of Umpires in Cricket?
Here’s how umpires play a role in the sport of cricket.
Fair Play and Integrity
Match referees and umpires are responsible for ensuring fair play and upholding the integrity of the game. This could involve being the custodians of multiple aspects of cricket, including proper cricket decision-making, on-field behaviour and ensuring the game is played morally and ethically.
Umpires and referees could appropriate actions in case things go out of hand on the field of play.
This can indirectly affect betting strategies by influencing the reliability and predictability of match outcomes.
Umpires make critical decisions during matches, including decisions related to dismissals, boundaries, and no-balls.
While they strive for accuracy, umpiring decisions can sometimes be subjective and may not always align with what spectators or bettors believe to be the correct call.
In some cases, controversial umpiring decisions can influence the momentum of a match, potentially affecting betting outcomes.
This has often been seen in close run-out, stumping and even LBW calls where the right of the dismissal has belonged to the on-field umpire.
Pitch and Weather Assessment
Match referees and umpires are involved in assessing pitch conditions and considering weather forecasts to determine whether a match can proceed or if conditions are suitable for play.
This information can be valuable for bettors, especially when considering factors like the likelihood of rain affecting a match outcome or the nature of the pitch favoring certain types of players or teams.
Public Perception and Reputation
The reputation and integrity of match referees and umpires can impact public perception and confidence in the fairness of cricket matches.
If there are concerns or controversies surrounding the conduct of referees or umpires, it could influence how bettors perceive the reliability of match outcomes and may factor into their betting strategies.
Error of Judgement
In famous cricket media personality, Jarrod Kimber’s post on umpires and umpiring biases here, he has mentioned it’s not an easy job being an umpire and that there are personal biases against them from fans, media and teams alike.
My time working with teams suggests that players and teams believe that umpires have it in for them. And let’s be honest, no professional is without bias or personal animosity. Umpires are prone to the same mistakes and personality flaws as pretty much anyone else. And when fans – or players moan about you – even if you had nothing against them at the start, you might by the end.
Personal biases could afflict anyone and umpires are as human as anyone else to make their decisions based on that.
For instance they could rely on a bias that pitches in the sub-continent might not be as bouncy as those outside Asia and might be prone to giving LBW decisions even on a rare, bouncier track.
What about Umpire Involvement in Fixing?
We started by saying that the role of umpires might not have a deliberate impact on cricket betting but there are exceptions to the norm. More so when there have been allegations of umpires being involved in fixing.
According to a sting operation conducted by an Indian TV channel India TV, six cricket umpires were involved in a fixing scandal. Subsequently they were suspended by the ICC for this.
Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf was alleged to have been involved in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal which made the ICC sit up and take notice.
They suspended him from umpiring at the highest level and in 2016, he was banned from his job for five years. He never returned to cricket umpiring again.
These are some of the cases which have come in light in recent times but the focus for these sting operations has usually been on the players, like was the case with the Mohammad Amir-Mohammad Asif-Salman Butt fixing controversy. As a result of that, umpires have escaped scrutiny.
What the aforementioned instances do point to is that there is a possibility that umpires are potentially corruptible, especially in the lower rung of cricket and things could go horribly wrong as a result of that.
This isn’t restricted to cricket alone.
Football has been rife with examples of fixing involving match referees and many of them have been suspended, banned or even jailed for it.
For instance, Italy’s premier football league, Serie A, saw a fixing storm in the early 2000s which saw the the involvement of players and referees.
Which is why, it is prudent to be aware that such things do happen in sport, as they happen in society.
Final Words on the Role of Officials in Cricket
While match referees and umpires can indirectly influence betting strategies through their decisions and actions, it’s essential for bettors to consider a wide range of factors when developing their strategies, including team performance, player statistics, weather conditions, pitch conditions, and other relevant variables.
Betting strategies should be based on thorough analysis and research rather than relying solely on the actions of match officials.
You can read about some of these cricket betting strategies under our Cricket Betting 101 section here.