Nielsen says don't make system 'too silly' May 8, 2008

Australians wary about more umpire referrals

Cricinfo staff

Tim Nielsen: "We need to be a bit careful that we don't jump head-first in and go gung-ho the other way and make too many calls" © Getty Images

Tim Nielsen, the Australia coach, has warned the authorities not to get "too silly" with the ICC's proposals for umpire referrals on disputed decisions. The game's governing body has suggested the change, which includes using Hawk-Eye to help determine the line of the ball, and will vote in July on whether three incidents per innings can go to the third official.

Australians generally prefer to rely on the call of the on-field umpire - Ricky Ponting has also tried to instigate a captain's agreement on low catches - and the changes concern Nielsen. "I just hope they don't get too silly with it," he told AAP. "We need to be a bit careful that we don't jump head-first in and go gung-ho the other way and make too many calls.

"I don't know how many times there have been three really dodgy decisions in an innings too often. It means almost a third of the wickets that you need to get a team out, you can contest, which seems like a high number to me."

Nielsen is also worried about the potential for extra interruptions as a result of the captain calling for the referral. "I just hope that we don't have big stoppages and regular conjecture about umpiring decisions on the back of technology being introduced," Nielsen said. "If it's going to work it's got to make the game better."

Brad Haddin, the Australia wicketkeeper, would prefer the human element remained. "In all honesty I like the umpiring set-up the way it is," he said, "you take the good with the bad."

Steve Waugh was also cautious about the move, but felt it was worth trying. "Modern-day sport is moving more and more in this direction and if it works it will be great," Waugh said in the Australian. "If it doesn't detract too much from the game and the right decisions are given, it can only be a good thing. I'm willing to see how it works, just as long as it doesn't take too long."

Michael Kasprowicz, who suffered a bad ruling to end the Edgbaston Test of 2005, told the paper decisions tended to even themselves out over time. "It's all a part of the game," Kasprowicz said. "Part of the beauty of cricket was that there was room for human error and sometimes it went your way, sometimes it didn't. It all evened out in the end.

"Today, with all the money invested in cricket, the shareholders are going to demand the right decision all the time. You don't pay $800 million for a cricket team to let an umpire's error ruin it for you."