First Ashes Test: Umpire Joel Wilson’s game to forget

Umpire Joel Wilson had an error-strewn game as Australia beat England by 251 runs in the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston.

The 52-year-old from Trinidad tied the Test match record for the most decisions overturned by the Decision Review System (eight) and found himself in the firing line on social media.

Here, PA looks at Wilson’s role in the match, his career, and his future appearances in the Ashes.

Joining the elite

England v Australia – First Test – Day Five – 2019 Ashes Series – Edgbaston
Joel Wilson (right) has his lbw decision on England captain Joe Root overturned during day five of the first Ashes Test (Nick Potts/PA)

Wilson stood in his first Test as an umpire in a match between Bangladesh and South Africa in 2015. He was one of 16 umpires to stand in matches during the 2019 World Cup. Wilson was named on the International Cricket Council’s elite panel of umpires for the 2019-20 season following the annual review and selection process. He had previously stood in 13 Tests, 63 ODIs and 26 T20Is and, alongside England’s Michael Gough, he was promoted following the retirement of Ian Gould and the exclusion of Sundaram Ravi.

Dodgy decisions

England v Australia – First Test – Day Five – 2019 Ashes Series – Edgbaston
Root was given out three times by Wilson during the Edgbaston Test but successfully overturned each decision (Nick Potts/PA)

Wilson had three calls overturned on day one as Usman Khawaja (caught behind) and Matthew Wade (lbw) departed on review and Peter Siddle stayed after being given out lbw despite a clear inside edge. Joe Root saw his day-two review upheld after Wilson gave him out caught behind when the ball had actually trimmed his off stump but failed to dislodge a bail. David Warner went and Wade survived after Wilson again got it wrong in Australia’s second innings. Wilson also gave Root out twice lbw in England’s second innings before those calls proved incorrect.

Social media reaction

Wilson would have been wise to ignore social media after returning to the sanctuary of the dressing room. Wilson memes took over Twitter and, on Wikipedia, his entry had been changed to: “Joel Sheldon Wilson is a visually impaired international cricket umpire from Trinidad and Tobago”. He was touted as a “walking advert” for Ashes sponsors Specsavers. And he could not even escape criticism from those in the game with former England captain Michael Vaughan tweeting: “When Joel Wilson gives you OUT .. You just review it .. #Fact.” Ouch!

Future Ashes role

👏 Congratulations to @CricketAus who have won the first Test!

Next up, the #Ashes returns to Lord's starting on Wednesday 14th August.#LoveLords | #ENGvAUSpic.twitter.com/18IBSXPhbh

— Lord's Cricket Ground (@HomeOfCricket) August 5, 2019

Cricket fans might want to look away now. Wilson will be the TV umpire for the second Ashes Test at Lord’s, which starts on August 14. He will stand in the third Test at Headingley, but has no involvement in the final two games at Old Trafford and The Oval. The ICC will make a full assessment of each umpire’s performance based upon the daily log submitted by the match referee Ranjan Madugalle, clips from the game and the reports from the referee.

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