The findings, published by the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, come amid renewed debate on whether neutral umpires are still required in Test cricket following the emergence of Decision Review System (DRS).

Both umpires in Test matches would be from the home nation till around mid 1990s. The rule was tweaked a bit in the beginning of new millennium and it was decided in 1994 that one of the two umpires was required to be from the home country.

However, since 2002, both on-field umpires in Test matches were required to be neutral.

"Our results suggest that when two home umpires officiated in Test matches, away teams were likely to suffer on average 16 percent more LBW decisions than home teams," said lead author Abhinav Sacheti from Nottingham University in the United Kingdom.

He added: "When the ICC introduced the one neutral umpire policy, this advantage to home teams receded to 10 percent and when two neutral umpires were required in every Test match, this advantage to home teams disappeared."

Economists Dr. Ian Gregory-Smith from the University of Sheffield, Dr. Sacheti and Professor David Paton from Nottingham University Business School analysed LBW decisions in exactly 1,000 Test matches that took place between 1986 and 2012 - nearly half of Test matches ever played in the history of cricket.

The researchers observed that the bias among the umpires "may have been unconscious" and a possible explanation for the finding is that home umpires were unduly influenced by pressure from local crowds.

Latest News from Sports News Desk