Australia v South Africa, 1st Test, Brisbane, 1st day

Virtual Eye creator criticises ICC's DRS usage

ESPNcricinfo staff

November 9, 2012

Comments: 43 | Text size: A | A

Michael Clarke asks for a review, Australia v South Africa, first Test, Brisbane, November 9, 2012
The ICC's usage of the DRS has come under fire from the creator of Virtual Eye © Getty Images
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Ian Taylor, the creator of Virtual Eye, has criticised the ICC for their handling of the Decision Review System (DRS), saying the technology should only be used to overturn 'howlers'. The DRS was called upon three times on the first day of the Gabba Test between Australia and South Africa, being used for the first time under a recently amended protocol.

Australia challenged the umpire's decision on all three occasions, and were successful in overturning an lbw appeal against Graeme Smith that umpire Billy Bowden had deemed not out. But the technology came under the scanner again when a not-out decision by Asad Rauf was upheld, for a Ben Hilfenhaus appeal against Alviro Petersen in the 34th over. The ball had not hit the batsman's boot fully within the line of the stumps on this occasion, though it would have hit the stumps, and the umpire's call was upheld.

Taylor said it was hard to understand the ICC's DRS regulations. "We don't even understand the changes or the rationale behind them - how can we expect the fans to," Taylor told News Limited. "It's meant to only find those mistakes that are so wrong everybody saw them."

"In the past three years Australian cricket fans have been delivered an Ashes series with DRS, an Indian series without DRS and this year they face a series with South Africa with a different DRS," he said, highlighting the inconsistencies in usage. "I believe the DRS process has been poorly handled by the ICC and I see no signs of that improving."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by srriaj317 on (November 10, 2012, 21:48 GMT)

@jmcilhinney: I am not against the use of the "Umpire's Call" since it is required to take the uncertainty into account like you said - what disturbs me is its implementation. When DRS says Umpire's Call, make the umpire make another 2nd decision solely based on the evidence given - not necessarily stick to his original one. This is because I feel the Petersen LBW may not have been given originally due to the umpire thinking bat could have been involved because the shout was very good. Instead of protecting the umpire's original decision, give him another chance to have a think.

Posted by cheesemethod on (November 10, 2012, 21:40 GMT)

I like the drs and always have. Ive found the rules of its use very straight forward even though the commentators on tele seemed to take a couple of years to realise whats in and whats out. Sure its intended to eliminate "howlers" The fact that the same ball canbe deemed out or not out depending on the umpires original decision is a good thing as it means those marginal calls can go either way. i just read the amendment to the rules and they make sense. its a system that is evolving. Besides The whole concept adds to the tension and excitement of the game. What does NEED to change is this front no ball checking. Surely a couple of seconds after a ball is released a slow motion replay could be viewed by the 3rd umpire who then takes full responsibility for checking noballs. Many times there is only a few mm between a legit ball and an illegal one, very hard to the onfields to spot with the naked eye.

Posted by torsha on (November 10, 2012, 20:01 GMT)

I was always knew India was right opposing DRS.

Posted by zoot on (November 10, 2012, 16:12 GMT)

The benefitof the doubt should go to the batsman not the umpires.I want to see the half-ball rule applied to ALL decisions whether or not the umpire gave it out. We have the anomalous sutuation at the moment where it's out if the umpire says so but not out if the umpire says so. We need consistency in the decisions.

Posted by maddy20 on (November 10, 2012, 12:52 GMT)

And there were those claiming technology guarantees 99% accuracy in decisions. The creator himself seems to be confused , as to whats the role Virtual plays in decision making. Every series when its used, there's some controversy or another and he keeps making different statements each time. The whole thing leaves a bad taste in the mouth. If hawkeye can't pick faint edges and DRS cannot overturn marginal decisions, then is DRS. really worth all this hassles?

Posted by me54321 on (November 10, 2012, 11:40 GMT)

Not sure why we need umpires call for where the ball pitches and strikes the batsmen. There's nothing predictive about those elements, and the rules are pretty clear about what is needed for the decision to be out or not out. Poor umpiring shouldn't be protected by umpires call.

Posted by kgfisher on (November 10, 2012, 10:47 GMT)

What one person deems as marginal another will deem as a howler. If you lose a test series over a 'marginal' call, it's a HOWLER. Unfortunately Mr. Taylor has so say over how it is used. After all Albert Einstein split the atom to create atomic energy and then wish he hadn't.

Posted by Cricketfan11111 on (November 10, 2012, 9:09 GMT)

Who will want to become an umpire if technology does all the decision making? 'Umpire's call' is there in marginal decisions so that umpires have a role to play. Obvious decisions are obvious to every body, even I can become an umpire if umpires are there only to make obvious decisions. We need technology as well as good umpires.

Posted by popcorn on (November 10, 2012, 8:42 GMT)

If the DRS was in place when Ricky Ponting made his Test debut against Sri Lanka,,he would not have been given out lbw by the howler that the umpire created. Ask ANY Cricketer who watched that match. DRS has ONLY resulted in heartburns,lots odf paper,lots of contrary views. Just do away with DRS and go back to being the gentleman's game - accept the On Field Umpire's decision. Technology is used for analysis,not conjectures.Since DRS Technology is not perfect,it cannot be used to make decisions. That it why you have a horrible mix of Technology + Human Judgement - quarter of the ball on the stump mat - not out lbw, ball hitting top of the stumps - not out lbw,etc.etc. Just let it be the way it was. No DRS in Test,ODI or T20 Cricket.Use DRS Technology for gaming ONLY. Not cricket.

Posted by Meety on (November 10, 2012, 8:41 GMT)

@ WonkyFNQ on (November 10 2012, 06:30 AM GMT) - I don't like Bowden, I think he is out of his depth (good for IPL). HOWEVER, he has made no mistakes as far as I am concerned in this Test. Benefit of the doubt was spot on IMO! @ samrsa on (November 10 2012, 01:15 AM GMT) - pretty sure the Not Out decision remains. You can be out say caught bat short leg off an LBW appeal if replays conclude he hit it.

Posted by Alexk400 on (November 10, 2012, 8:23 GMT)

I will amend the rule by not showing LBW reviews to spectators. Also appeal should come from representative from each team not players. In this way we can save time and people ask for appeal only they think they can get a decision in favor after observing the game. Why not 3rd umpire? For impartiallity we need two representatives. Even with those choices , i want third umpire can have his own call if he see howler if team finished with their appeal. Whole idea is remove howlers , if team used up appeal and if we still have howlers its no use. Appeal system is more entertainment but i really want to remove player out of it and put coaches like in NFL. I want them involved little bit during the game.

Posted by Alexk400 on (November 10, 2012, 8:17 GMT)

Actually with this amended rule , i am not sure it should be allowed to shown for spectators. Because same ball hitting the stump can be out and not out and same ball hitting the boot out and not out. Bad Bad. I 100% understand to make field umpire call stand when there is doubt or ball do not follow the law. I think showing to spectators a confusing decision is not good. I rather say DRS stay within third umpire not to be viewed by spectators. Only howlers can be allowed to be shown for spectators and not these decisions. I seriously think leave LBW decision to field umpire and third umpire. No need to show why 3rd umpire upheld or rejected. This decision should be within umpires. Idea should be not to expose umpires mistakes to spectators especially LBW decisions if you want to protect them. Showing same ball can be out and not out is a bad idea. I know DRS is constantly evolving but it should not give confusing signals. But teams can be able to view later if they requested.

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (November 10, 2012, 8:06 GMT)

I remember Ramprakash (and no doubt many others) was quoted as saying to the umpire you are playing with people's test careers here, when given 'out' when he was 'not out'. It's miles better than it was before... And the public don't need to see a series like the Sri Lanka v Eng 2001 series with all those howlers, it creates unnecessary aggro between the teams and spoils the game/series... Calling for a review adds a little bit of theatre to the proceedings as well.. Nothing is perfect, keep fine tuning it by all means, but it is here to stay, a definite improvement and is now rightly part of the game... And well done the umpires for embracing it.

Posted by WonkyFNQ on (November 10, 2012, 6:30 GMT)

Why is Bowden still an international umpire?

Posted by RJHB on (November 10, 2012, 5:07 GMT)

I agree with discoBob, the development will continue but interpretation must be given much more careful consideration.Obviously there needs to be a line drawn for reasonable doubt to go in favor of the batsmen,as always has done. However there should also be a factor of discretion used by the third umpire that if the wicket is to be obviously and reasonably disturbed by a legitimate delivery under the rules of cricket then it should be out. By the letter of the DRS law,the delivery to Petersen was deemed not out. But what doubt was there that the ball did in fact hit him on the full, in front of off stump, with the ball continuing to hit the stumps as dictated by its trajectory? Its been determined that not enough of the ball was in line with off stump, but by the DRS replay, we're talking the width of a seam, mere millimetres. Are the cameras and computers processing the data accurate to that degree? What is the margin of error? The only doubt was really how that ball would've missed!

Posted by cricketcarl on (November 10, 2012, 4:50 GMT)

i think if a fielding side asks for a review, and the bowler has been found to have delivered a no-ball, the review should not be allowed to go any further, and therefore, not count as a review. the umpire should have spotted it (technically speaking) so why should the fielding side be disadvantaged. although i guess the ball would then need to be rebowled and one extra added to the score. - perhaps this is already the case, but in closing, i feel the reviews should be completely up to the umpires to call upon only.

Posted by PFEL on (November 10, 2012, 4:41 GMT)

it is NOT POSSIBLE to restrict DRS usage to just howlers. Because at the end of the day it is up to the players and if they think a marginal decision might be overturned in their favour they WILL USE IT.

Posted by grug76 on (November 10, 2012, 4:28 GMT)

the biggest problem with 'umpires call' is that if rauf had given peterson out yesterday and peterson reviewed it, he would've been given out by the drs... therefore drs has not made the decision, the umpire has... so why not just put drs in the hands of the umpires??? let them call for a review if they have doubt and let them tell the third umpire why they have doubt and what they want checked... howlers can be picked up by the third umpire in between deliveries... if a bowler or batsman feels hard done by they stand and pout for at least two minutes giving the third umpire (and commentators) ample time to dissect the original decision

Posted by disco_bob on (November 10, 2012, 3:11 GMT)

This is simply a part of the painful evolution of DRS until finally sometime in the distant future it will be realised that 'hit wicket' is out, 'missed wicket' is not out. Then there will be howls of disbelief "how did we not see that earlier"?

Posted by rkannancrown on (November 10, 2012, 2:54 GMT)

ICC seems to have woken up to the fact that the ball tracking technology is flawed and is good only for howlers. Taylor should be happy that an imperfect technology has been allowed so far. The number of questionable decisions arising out of the use of the flawd ball tracking technology can now be reduced.

Posted by btron3000 on (November 10, 2012, 1:53 GMT)

What I don't understand is why the "Umpire's Call" is needed at all when determining where the ball pitched? I realise the technology might not be perfect when it comes to where it struck the pad (as both the ball and the batsman are moving) or whether it will go on to hit the stumps (as the flight of the ball is unpredictable), but surely when it comes to where it pitches we can get that EXACTLY right?

Posted by thruthecovers on (November 10, 2012, 1:48 GMT)

@jmcilhniney Is there not a case then for a reversal if a batsman was given out but reviewed the decision, only to find it coming back as "umpire's call"? Why is the onfield umpire 'vindicated' in both making a good 'not out' decision, ratified by technology implying doubt AND an 'out' decision with technology implying the exact same thing...DOUBT? There should be no room for interpretation by the 3rd umpire. The ICC have tried to eradicate this somewhat with the new protocols but to me, at least, it is still unclear as to how much of the ball's flight path have to pitch inline, hit the stump or bails. Whatever their protocol says, it needs to be clear and concise and the 3rd umpire should come back with either 'out' or 'not out'. For arguments sake, if DRS suggests that 50.01% of the ball has pitched outside off stump, the decision should be not out or vice versa. Apply this evenly, across the board and even the BCCI might come to the party. cont'd

Posted by samrsa on (November 10, 2012, 1:15 GMT)

Here's a hypothetical. What if the umpire thought that it pitched in line but gave it not out because he thought it was bat before toe and then the DRS comes back with it hitting the toe first but the line is too close and is umpire's call?

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (November 10, 2012, 1:02 GMT)

Smith's should never have been given not out as it was clearly out live and under this system that just doesn't matter. Watching it as it happened I thought Amla's may have been a touch high and therefore agree to it being given not out originally. The Petersen one though was just amazing - clearly out and NEVER did it hit him outside of the line of off stump (and did he really play a shot ?). I agree with the inventor - stumps and balls always used to have a certain width. I guess soon a bowled will be called back because only one side of the ball only hit one side of off stump ?

Posted by jmcilhinney on (November 10, 2012, 0:16 GMT)

@srriaj317 on (November 09 2012, 22:52 PM GMT), I disagree. The "umpire's call" is there as an admission that ball-tracking is not millimetre-perfect. There is a margin of error so the "umpire's call" rule is an admission that ball-tracking cannot prove that the umpire got it wrong so the original decision stands. Before DRS there were plenty of close LBW calls that went in the batsmans' favour. Why do you think so many people parrot the line about benefit of the doubt going to the batsman? If the umpire thinks that the batsman may not be out then it's quite reasonable for him to give him not out. The assertion that DRS saved Smith and Petersen yesterday assumes that, without DRS, the umpires would have given both batsman out. I very much doubt that they would have in either case. If anything, DRS seems to have made umpires more bold when it comes to giving LBW decisions, probably because they've seen so many that they thought were dubious actually shown to be out.

Posted by Slysta on (November 9, 2012, 23:43 GMT)

I think a lot of the irritation comes from the interplay between the DRS and the "rub of the green", which are largely separate things, but powerful in combination. And one way of assessing is looking at the distribution of "meritorious" reviews. Disregard Australia's silly early one for the legside catch, and they were still forced to use what could have been their final review to get Smith correctly given out, and then no luck in the 50-50s on Peterson and Amla. On a different day, the standing umpire might have given one or both of those out, forcing South Africa to spend one or two reviews... and the review probably wouldn't have saved Peterson, although it might have saved Amla. But they weren't required to make those calls, because they got the rub of the green (which, in Test cricket, does usually favour the better team). Australia's lack of penetration is partly just bad luck, with DRS both encouraging the gamble and raising the stakes.

Posted by thruthecovers on (November 9, 2012, 23:24 GMT)

@srriaj You are splitting hairs mate. Or trying to. The Smith one I agree with. That was, or should have been a fairly straightforward decision. Peterson and Amla's not so much though. Mm's outside off stump and just clipping the bails is more than enough grounds for an umpire to give the batsman the benefit. And remember, you have the hindsight of multiple replays plus ball tracking that goes with a review, which the umpire don't. To me, "umpire's call" from DRS sort of shows that even technology can't realy say with enough certainty that it would've been out. Maybe a case then, if we are going to trust technology to reverse the' out' decision coming back as umpire's call. What gets me up is the team losing their review for something that close

Posted by thruthecovers on (November 9, 2012, 23:15 GMT)

@yorkshire How would anyone know its a marginal call untill after DRS has played out? You could see Clarke mouthing off to Rauf that it was plump...which it was not considering where it hit. And that had mm's in it. Why penalise him if he got it wrong by mm's, conversely if the umpire got it right by mm's? I agree that captains will use it to gamble if not carefull but there is a BIG difference in the very 1st review (Smith nearly strangled down leg), which was a stab in the dark more in hope than anything else than the case in point trapping Peterson leg before. Aus should have rightly lost that 1st review but the 2nd one was 50/50 either way. Maybe it should be, and I think this was Botham's point, if it comes back as "umpire's call", no review should be lost. No harm in that, is there? As it proved yesterday, there could literally only be mm's in it.

Posted by srriaj317 on (November 9, 2012, 22:52 GMT)

I'm fine with the uncertainty rules being used with ball tracking. What infuriates me is the "Umpire's Call" system. Both Smith and Petersen's LBW were good enough to be given out without DRS. Both umpires made wrong decisions and the DRS saved them due to the uncertainty. If umpires are going to be so defensive, no amount of technology will save cricket from being a batsman's game. Petersen's LBW especially had to be given out initially by the umpire and Amla's was also close enough. The umpires are just saving their own jobs instead of the match with the DRS now.

Posted by brittop on (November 9, 2012, 22:49 GMT)

@sifter132: "fans and viewers" should get used to it. No umpire is 100% accurate and neither is any technology. Umpire's call is a perfectly valid verdict.

Posted by yorkshire-86 on (November 9, 2012, 22:46 GMT)

To the question 'why should a team lose a review to a marginal umpire call descision', the answer is simple. The team loses the review for misusing DRS by referring a marginal call (rather than one they KNOW is wrong) to the 3rd umpire. DRS, like many people say, is there to eliminate the howlers, therefore if a captain uses it wrongly, ie to try and turn a marginal decision thier way, the review should rightly be struck down and they should lose the review.

Posted by HatsforBats on (November 9, 2012, 22:14 GMT)

The problems begin when laws are interpreted differently in order to accommodate the DRS. The LBW appeal against Amla should have been out. Hit in line and going on to hit the stumps. Before the DRS only a portion of the ball was required to hit in line, now it has to be more than half the ball?

Posted by Moppa on (November 9, 2012, 22:09 GMT)

@sifter132 - clipping the stumps and its out doesn't fit the true cricket law of "benefit of the doubt". When umpires can instigate reviews themselves, they will review everything - like in the 2005 World XI vs Aust test match, or like they do with run outs. It was a debacle.

Posted by AdoSR on (November 9, 2012, 21:45 GMT)

I know the intent is to overturn howlers. However, the fact is that players, spectators and fans will expect the correct decision to be given once they get the opportunity to see it. There's no point saying "It was wrong, but not wrong enough". A fair middle ground would be to retain "Umpire's call" but to give the referral back to the team. It wasn't a wrong referral so why penalise the team for making it?

Posted by sixnout on (November 9, 2012, 21:42 GMT)

@Meety on (November 09 2012, 20:20 PM GMT)-

"In the past three years Australian cricket fans have been delivered an Ashes series with DRS, an Indian series without DRS and this year they face a series with South Africa with a different DRS," he said, highlighting the inconsistencies in usage.

And the BCCI is at fault for everything?

Posted by foursandsixes on (November 9, 2012, 21:41 GMT)

@Meety, other countries are free to use DRS in whatever way they deem fit. Why is poor use of Virtual Eye / Hawk Eye BCCI's fault? The creator himself seems to be suggesting there could be room for error in predictive path, so only use it to eliminate the obvious howlers, not use it for marginal decisions.

Posted by LakMak on (November 9, 2012, 21:38 GMT)

Well, it's not just one call or two. since Aussies have used their challanges, they won't be able to challange anymore even if umpires mess up big time in SA 1st inning. To get all the calls correct, either use DRS for all the calls or don't use at all and train umpires better and accept their decision. Similar way, if top 4 batsmen use all the challanges during batting then later order batsmen won't have any to use which can deprive them of a genuine wrong call.

Posted by thruthecovers on (November 9, 2012, 21:31 GMT)

Graeme Smith's dismissal should probably never have gone the referal route( Bowden should've got that) but Clarke was vindicated in going for the DRS decision and was handed his review back. Can't help but feel all this was driven to the point by Clarke's desperation to get their series off to an explosive start. The very 1st review to Smith for a caught behind smacked of desperation to me and they lost 1 unnecessarily. Ian Botham in the ENG/SA series mentioned a very valid point tho...why should a captain lose a review if it could just as well have gone either way, which was the case with Hilfenhause. But all in all...DRS once again showed why it is the best invention for the sport since many a year. Graeme Smith would still have been there at stumps otherwise. Peterson would've been back in the pavillion for less than 50, same with Kallis. Amla too! His one clipped the bails and the umpire's decision rightly stood. Bowden redeeming himself on that occasion.

Posted by thruthecovers on (November 9, 2012, 21:19 GMT)

I can't see the problem to be honest. As long as they are consistent. Peterson's close lbw shout will only be 'controversial in an Aussie's eye. Rauf was unsure and rightly gave it not-out. DRS showed the ball to pitch half and half outside the off stump with the batsman playing a shot. What's the problem? It would probably have been more of a problem were he to give it out and DRS shows some element of doubt.

Posted by 200ondebut on (November 9, 2012, 21:04 GMT)

Its high time the umpires lost their ego's. The application of DRS has been designed around protecting the feelings of umpires - it is either out or not and whether it was given out or not to start with should be irrelevant. ICC either need to accept that umpires are not perfect or ditch DRS. We all know that DRS is more accurate than humans - it's time to trust it.

Posted by Meety on (November 9, 2012, 20:20 GMT)

@GreenDeviln on (November 09 2012, 19:56 PM GMT) - it's because of the BCCI, that it is not used properly.

Posted by GreenDeviln on (November 9, 2012, 19:56 GMT)

In this case i'm with India's decision of not using DRS until its use is not perfected.

Posted by sifter132 on (November 9, 2012, 19:39 GMT)

The confusing thing about it is: a) captains gamble with it differently to the way the ICC intended, b) the umpire is the man getting protected under the system - not the 'right' call. When fans and viewers look at the big screen, see 'umpires call' flashing, they are entitled to fell aggrieved because it would have been out if the umpire had just called it their way. Solution is for the umpire to instigate all LBW reviews themselves and to go with what the graphic says. Clipping the stumps and it's out - simple! That way the confusion with 'umpires call' disappears, 50/50 calls will always get reviewed rather than the keeper/captain gambling on it and the right call will always be made, not just the call that protects the umpires. DRS has become too ingrained with fans (and captains) for them to cut back now and say oh you can only review the ones you REALLY disagree with.

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