Australia news November 15, 2012

'Shocking and embarrassing' system may be short-lived


Described as "shocking and embarrassing" by the Tasmania captain George Bailey, the system of third umpire interventions currently used in the domestic limited overs competition and the Twenty20 Big Bash League may be on the way to being scrapped at season's end.

While Cricket Australia remains officially in favour of the system, the players' collective discontent with its inconsistent application and confusing outcomes has risen to such a level that the issue is likely to be a point of considerable debate at the influential CA cricket committee meeting next year.

The committee adjudicates on matters including playing conditions, and in recent seasons has dealt with issues such as the short-lived split innings experiment in limited overs matches during the 2010-11 season, and the changing of rules governing player eligibility for the Futures League second XI competition to allow more players over the age of 23.

Bailey made his discontent with third umpire interventions plain following the Tigers' five-wicket loss to Queensland on Wednesday night, despite it aiding his side's cause when Peter Forrest was ruled LBW via the third umpire Paul Wilson. After the on-field umpire Geoff Joshua had rejected Queensland's appeal.

"It's just shocking, it's embarrassing, it needs to worked out," said Bailey, also Australia's Twenty20 captain. "I think it confuses the players, I think it confuses the umpires. I think leave it in the hands of the players. You get two, if you use them with bad reviews then so be it."

Paul Marsh, the chief executive of the Australian Cricketers Association and a member of the cricket committee, said the problems encountered with the system had not been envisaged at the time it was devised, and would force a close look at its faults at the end of the summer.

"Certainly when it was talked about conceptually we didn't see the problems that would come up," Marsh told ESPNcricinfo. "There are issues with broadcaster actually showing replays, and I don't think anyone saw that, and it just seems to be inconsistent the way that it is working. It definitely is something we need to put on our agenda for the coming year.

"We haven't specifically polled them on this issue but anecdotally the players are having an issue with the inconsistency, they find it confusing, they find it too slow. Overall the comments we're getting from players is they don't think it's a great system."

While there is some support for Bailey's preference for the implementation of a DRS-style system in the manner of that used at international level, it appears more likely that televised domestic matches would revert to the former style of third umpires being involved with line calls like run-outs and stumpings, unless the money can be found to replicate the Hot-Spot and ball-tracking aids available for internationals.

"The feedback we've got from the players is they'd prefer a DRS style system than the current interventions," Marsh said. "But the problem is if the technology isn't good enough there's no guarantee you're going to get a replay that will answer the question. If Australian cricket wants to go that way it needs to invest in the technology to aid these decisions."

CA's cricket operations manager Sean Cary is presently comfortable with the system in place, and through a spokesman indicated that in their first season in 2011-12 third umpire interventions were responsible for 12 incorrect decisions being overturned with the help of video evidence.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 18, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    I like the review system in theory, but as others have pointed out, it has some major flaws. The one benefit this system has as opposed to the International one is that it truly is designed to get rid of the absolute howler rather than the 50/50 calls. The negative of course is the lack of consistency. Go with the International System I say, lets get these players used to playing at the top.

  • Andrew on November 17, 2012, 4:01 GMT

    @hyclass - I note you have an "admirer" on other articles who mimics your name, immitation id the highest form of compliment! LOL!

  • Christopher on November 16, 2012, 15:30 GMT

    @here2rock...Your comments are way off the mark. Did you even read the article? The DRS system is outstanding and while all systems are capable of advancement as new technology arises,it represents the pinnacle of current technology and is universally more successful than decisions made without it.There is no evidential reason for anyone opposing it.That leaves only emotive or agenda driven reasoning. It is the system that Bailey and the players are saying they DO want.The only reason its not in place is the expense of the technology for hotspot etc.The Third Umpire Intervention system they are being asked to use is fundamentally flawed and unsuited for the format to which it is being applied. It is not DRS as it is known but a semi-hybrid that lacks the supporting technology. I regard the current DRS use of technology to support decision making as the fairest and most intelligent ever devised. I believe it respects tradition while enhancing results.The fallibility is human,not machine

  • Christopher on November 16, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    Its virtually impossible to follow Shield cricket without pay tv. Even this site uses only session updates. I find it absurd to be critical of crowd numbers when no genuine effort is made to promote the product. Intelligent advertising is at the core of all successful business endeavours. With the recent introdution of made for tv 20/20, it should be easier to promote a flow on of player/viewer awareness and affinity that carries over into Shield and Ford ranger Cup. There is some suggestion that several seasons ago, a basic attempt was made, but the veracity of that effort remains in question. The successful method has always been to develop programmes to encourage kids to know and identify with players in that market. Many inexpensive methods exist but none have been chosen. Sean Cary may say whatever he likes.In recent seasons, players and CA have regularly been at odds. The players can survive without CA.One wonders how CA will manage now that players have free agency possibility

  • John on November 16, 2012, 10:27 GMT

    I'm not sure what anyone else thinks but when you see LBW decisions turned downed because the umpire thinks the ball has hit bat first the fielding team should have the right to ask the umpire what his decision would be if the ball had hit pad first otherwise you get the ridiculous situation where the umpire gives not out for one reason and then the decision goes with umpires call if the ball is outside the limits. Alternativeonce he fielding team shouldn't lose their appeal because it would after all be an umpiring error.

  • Graham on November 16, 2012, 2:05 GMT

    The game at the grass roots level cant afford it. The numbers that attend Ford Ranger cup and sheffield shield is so low and the money coming to cricket australia is via international and t20 domestic cricket. That being said the international systerm is also floored and I believe the technology with regards to bounce is inconsistent. I use the recent test match Amla dismissal as an example. It looked plum, Kallis and AMla agreed it was plum yet the technolog has it mysteriously going over the stumps. The DRS was brought in only to remove the howler and as such I prefer it in the control of the umpires - too may captains are slowing the game down to question 50/50 calls.

  • Robert on November 16, 2012, 2:00 GMT

    @here2rock -- CA hasn't implemented the same system as whats been put in place for internationals by the ICC (when India isn't involved!). Thats the main issue. Bailey says give the players the 2 reviews and so be it. So he isn't saying the ICC version is wrong or technology, he is complaining about Cricket Oz's silly implementation of it. If anything, it sounds as though he supports ICC's version.

  • Kuldeep on November 16, 2012, 0:30 GMT

    When India said that it is not reliable nobody listened and they were labelled arrogant. No Australian are saying it then it all makes sense!

  • Andrew on November 16, 2012, 0:01 GMT

    It needs to be the same method as the ICC, with the odd variation where they think they can improve on what is currently being done. The main reason for this (IMO), is to get the players knowing when to ask for a review & when not to!

  • Cain on November 15, 2012, 23:42 GMT

    There are a few issues here with the use of technology. Firstly, it's reliability. Are we really that certain about the projected path of the ball highlighted by Hawkeye and the like? I am still not convinced that it gets it right 100% of the time. This becomes a major issue when using that to determine LBW decisions. A related point is this "half the ball must be hitting", is this just a backside covering by the administrators to get away from the potential lack of accuracy of the technology. If a fraction of the ball, not just half hits the stump then the bails will most likely be dislodged in reality. Next point is the number of referrals. DRS was brought in to eradicate the howlers, not as a tactical tool for captains and batsmen. Barry Richards suggested it earlier this week and he is exactly right, reduce the number of referrals to 1. If the umpire has more than 1 "shocker" then it's fine you won't lose it, but forget the 50/50 calls and asking them to be taken upstairs.

  • No featured comments at the moment.