Firstpost Spodcast Episode 248: Simon Taufel's view on umpiring in World Cup final, WFI's take on World Championships trials and more

Welcome to Spodcast, the sports update on Firstpost.

2019 World Cup champions England were mistakenly awarded an extra run during their nail-biting win over New Zealand at Lord's, former umpire Simon Taufel, who is now a member of the sport's chief rules committee said.

A freak fielding deflection off Ben Stokes' bat that raced to the boundary saw the team awarded six runs with three balls to go in the final over. But Taufel told Fox Sports Australia that the umpires had made a "clear mistake", as the batsmen had not crossed for their second run.

Taufel said, “They should have been awarded five runs, not six." He added that Adil Rashid should have faced the second-last ball instead of Stokes.

Taufel, a five-time winner of the International Cricket Council's 'Umpire of the Year' award, now sits on the Marylebone Cricket Club (or MCC) laws sub-committee, the worldwide custodian of cricket's sometimes obscure rules of play.

That said, the Australian defended the match umpires, who he said had to make a complicated judgement, and claimed it would be "unfair" to say the decision altered the outcome of the tournament. Taufel explained, “Unfortunately that sort of thing happens from time to time. It's a part of the game that we play...I don't wish to nit pick, just hope it never happens in such moments ever again.”

Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah retained their positions at the top of the ICC batsmen and bowlers' rankings following the conclusion of the World Cup.

Meanwhile, players from England and New Zealand, the champions and runners-up respectively, moved up the rankings after featuring in an exhilarating final at Lord's on Sunday. The latest rankings update takes into account performances from the semi-finals and the final.

Player of the tournament Kane Williamson reached a career-high 799 points after the semi-final against India, in which he made an important 67 runs. His compatriot Ross Taylor ended the tournament in fifth place, having reached a career-best 841 rating points earlier in the tournament. New Zealand seam bowler Matt Henry's consistency has taken him back into the world's top 10. He took three wickets in the semi-finals and one in the final. His previous best was fourth position in 2016.

Ben Stokes ended the World Cup on a career-best 694 points, gaining five places and moving into the top 20 and to within two places of his career best of 18th two years ago.

Jason Roy's 85 from 65 balls in the semi-final win over Australia saw him enter the top 10 for the first time. Chris Woakes's efforts of 3/20 in the semi-final and 3/37 in the final lifted him to a career-best 676 points and seventh place, just behind the sixth position he reached in April 2017.

In the team rankings, England have increased their lead over second-placed India to three points after their maiden World Cup triumph.

In news from the Tour de France, Belgian rookie Wout van Aert won stage 10 of the race on Monday as Julian Alaphilippe extended his overall lead after a blistering late charge split the peloton.
Van Aert, who is on his debut Tour, did well in the spring classics and won two stages on the Criterium du Dauphine after converting from cyclo-cross. He is the latest break out star on an unpredictable 2019 Tour. He said, “That's three stage wins for us so far...It was great for me and Stevie (Kruijswijk)...I came from the back with a really fast launch, I planned it that way because its the fastest way to finish and I was surprised to see they left a big gap for me to come through.”

Yellow jersey wearer Alaphilippe started the attack from 20km out and defending champion Geraint Thomas and his Ineos team joined in to leave at least five of their rivals trailing 1 min 36s adrift at the finish in the red-roofed south-eastern town of Albi on the banks of the Tarn river. Alaphilippe, in top spot, leads second-placed Thomas by 1min 12sec. A second Ineos rider, Egan Bernal, is 1min 16 away, and van Aert's teammate Steven Kruijswijk is another 11sec off in fourth. Slovak star Peter Sagan, the best-paid rider in the peloton at 4 million euros per season, won in Albi six years ago but finished sixth on Monday.

After Tuesday's break, the second half of the Tour de France is packed with high- altitude racing.

Their dominant performance on the international circuit notwithstanding, star wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat will not receive any exemptions from World Championship trials, said the Wrestling Federation of India.

Vinesh has won back-to-back gold medals -- Yasar Dogu and Grand Prix of Spain -- in her new 53kg category while Bajrang has lost just one bout -- the 2018 World Championship final -- in his last 10 international assignments.

WFI said it wants to give all grapplers "equal opportunity to qualify" for next year’s Tokyo Olympics. It will conduct the men's trials on 25 July in Sonepat while the women will compete on 26 July in Lucknow. The World Championship, which will be held in Kazakhstan from 14-22 September, will also be an Olympic qualification event.

WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar said, "We don't want to deny opportunity to any wrestler who dreams of competing in the Olympics. World Championship assumes significance in that respect. Wrestlers in all categories are training hard and looking to create their own space. So all wrestlers have to go through trials, including Vinesh and Bajrang.”

Asked if celebrated wrestler Sushil Kumar, who is struggling to find form, will be part of the trials in 74kg or the younger lot will be preferred, Tomar said, “If he wants to compete, we will allow him. We have not yet heard from him but if he is training in Russia, he must have (the) Worlds in mind. Even if he informs us on 23 July, he is in for trials...He is still our best. Jitender had a chance but neither he nor Parveen Rana did something noticeable. They did not win even at the Asian level. Parveen even moved his category up to 79. There is this junior guy Parveen Malik, who seems good. He might be the one for future in this category. As of now Sushil is our best bit even when he is not in great form.”

Ghana, Guyana and Pakistan on Monday pulled out of the 21st Commonwealth Table Tennis Championships beginning in Orissa on Wednesday, bringing the number of participating teams down to 12.

While Ghana and Guyana did not get government clearance, Pakistan pulled out due to visa issues. Uganda and Jersey had withdrawn citing the same reason as Ghana and Guyana.
The final list of nations that are competing include Australia, Bangladesh, Cyprus, England, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Scotland, South Africa, Singapore and Wales.
Teams from Wales and South Africa were the first to arrive in Cuttack while Australia, England and Malaysia are expected to reach on Tuesday. The Indian team will be arriving on Tuesday as well.

Updated Date: Jul 16, 2019 15:05:25 IST