Broad sees danger in defeat

Hampshire Chronicle: Captain Stuart Broad believes umpires put England and New Zealand in danger in Chittagong Captain Stuart Broad believes umpires put England and New Zealand in danger in Chittagong

Stuart Broad believes players and fans were put in danger by the decision to keep England and New Zealand on the field while lightning struck close to the ZACS Stadium and considered leading his side off in protest.

The England captain was incredulous that umpires Aleem Dar and Paul Reiffel kept the players on the pitch after several flashes of lightning came down uncomfortably close to the playing surface in the second innings of their World Twenty20 Group One opener.

England were in the field at the time, with Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson at the crease, with the sides eventually ushered off when rain began to fell.

With New Zealand ahead of the Duckworth/Lewis par at that point they walked away with a nine-run victory, but Broad was more concerned about a decision that he felt threatened life and limb.

"To be as polite as I possibly can be I think it was distinctly average decision making keeping us on after the first lightning strike at the start of the fifth over, keeping us on throughout that," he said.

"I asked the umpires for a bit of clarity on the decision-making at the end of the game and they said they didn't see the lightning and didn't think it was a threat; you can guarantee from our team we felt like it was a threat. With a batsman pulling away from a delivery after 4.2 overs I think the batsman saw it as well.

"At the end of the day it's a game of cricket so I wouldn't be putting the crowd and players' safety under threat.

"There are some questions that need asking to the ICC for clarity. It's all very well wanting to finish a game so you can tick a box but players' health and safety and crowd safety is very important and that to me felt like very threatening lightning."

Broad also revealed that with the umpires deeming conditions playable, he had talked to McCullum about leaving the field without their consent.

"It's not sour grapes, the New Zealanders felt the same," he said. "When the umpires got together and kept saying 'it's fine', Baz [McCullum] and I had a discussion about taking our players off the field because we didn't agree.

"In my opinion, my team's opinion and everyone else I've spoken to's opinion it wasn't right for us to be out there when the lightning was striking.

"Look at golf - a hooter goes and they all clear off half an hour before the lightning strikes.

"I personally wouldn't have taken the risk. You've seen it in football where lightning strikes the pitch and players have hit the deck.

"It was certainly close enough.It was luck rather than judgement, I think."

"Look at golf - a hooter goes and they all clear half an hour before the lightning strikes.

"I personally wouldn't have taken the risk. you've seen it in football where lightning strikes the pitch and players have hit the deck.

"It was certainly close enough.

New Zealand seamer Kyle Mills agreed with the wider issue of safety taking precedence over a sporting contest, but did not feel any major errors had transpired.

"I think that's probably a bit of a hindsight thing, isn't it? If Stuart was on the other end of it, he would be more than happy with the decision," he said.

"In cricket you win some and you lose some, the umpires are trying to make the decisions to the best of their ability.

"But at the end of the day, it's just a game of cricket. Everyone could tell the thunder and lightning was relatively close to the ground and I think the right decision was made to take the players off.

"We're here to win a World Cup but it's just a game of cricket and lives are more important."

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