Marais Erasmus, a former South African cricketer turned international cricket umpire, is making headlines for his decision as the third umpire in the second Ashes test between England and Australia. His call to give England’s Johnny Bairstow a ‘run out’ has sparked global attention and received widespread criticism.
Before delving into the controversial incident, let’s explore who Marais Erasmus is. Having played first-class cricket for the Boland cricket team from 1988/89 to 1996/97, Erasmus was known for his skills as a fast-medium bowler and lower-order batsman.
Notably, he achieved a highest score of 103 not out while batting at number seven during the 1991/92 season. In the same season, he also recorded his best bowling figures of 6/22 against the touring New Zealand cricket team. Unfortunately, the match had to be abandoned due to a dangerous pitch.
Erasmus initiated his journey as an umpire in South Africa’s first-class cricket in the 2002/03 season. His international debut as an umpire took place in a T20I clash between South Africa and Australia in February 2006, held at Johannesburg’s New Wanderers Stadium.
Recently, in January 2022, Erasmus reached a significant milestone by officiating his 100th ODI as an on-field umpire during the opening fixture between South Africa and India. This achievement was followed by another accolade, as Erasmus was named the ICC Umpire of the Year for 2021.
His first ODI umpiring opportunity came in 2007, in a match between Kenya and Canada at the Gymkhana Club Ground in Nairobi. In recognition of his expertise, In 2008, Erasmus received the honor of joining the International Panel of ICC Umpires, where he has been diligently officiating matches in all three formats of international cricket.
However, his latest decision in the Ashes test has generated a tremendous uproar within the cricketing community, with numerous star players openly expressing their criticism towards the call.