Umpiring December 12, 2009

The umpire is right (even when he’s wrong)

From the comfort of his sofa, Andrew Hughes waves an irate fist in the direction of the UDRS
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‘Pipe down with your appeal there, laddie, or I’ll do unspeakable things with this here ICC-approved deterrent’ © AFP
 

UDRS! It sounds like the cry of a Bulgarian shot-putter as he lets fly. Or perhaps the first word that David Boon uttered as he disembarked at Heathrow airport in 1989.

In fact, this collection of letters stands for Umpire Demoralising Review System, an entirely new method of making cricket more complicated that is completely unrelated to the previous Player Review System, which everyone hated. You can tell it’s different because it has a completely different name, apart from the last bit.

Lots of intelligent and learned cricket folk are asking questions about UDRS. Questions such as: How does it work? Come again? Run that by me one more time? No, still not got it, could you write it down? But the only question I want to ask is: does it enhance the sofa-dweller’s viewing pleasure? Sadly, I have to say that the answer is no.

First, the details. As far as I can make out, this is how it goes. Umpire A makes a decision. Players may challenge this decision by screaming, pouting, or stamping their feet on the ground. If Umpire A remains unconvinced, a captain may, by indicating inverted commas with his forefingers, initiate the referral process.

Umpire A will then talk to Umpire C. Umpire B may also talk to Umpire C, but not without being introduced. Umpire C will watch his television. He is not allowed to tell Umpire A what he sees there, but may pass on information by implication, insinuation or cryptic clues. After a short half-hour delay, Umpire A will then shrug his shoulders to signal that the referral process has been successfully completed.

Naturally the ICC thinks it works. Apparently the correctness of decisions has gone up by 6% since it was introduced. They know this thanks to the Deciderator 2000, a calculator the size of Jesse Ryder housed in a disused storage closet in downtown Dubai. But the ICC aren’t the only ones with access to the latest technology. Thanks to the Hughes Confusometer, I have measured a staggering 350% increase in bafflement and bewilderment since UDRS was introduced.

It has also subtly altered our relationship with gadgets. Once they enhanced our experience, getting us closer to the game than the mosquito perched on Shane Watson’s faceguard. But since it has been officially sanctioned, technology has become omnipresent. The current series in Australia has featured a heart-rate monitor, a traffic-light themed lbw wizard, Hotspot, slow-mos, Snicko, Hawk-Eye, and a special device to warn us when Bill Lawry has nodded off. You have to stay on top of it all because it has become part of the game. As a result, watching a Test match these days is like sitting in the NASA control room during a space-shuttle launch.

I’ll be honest. I like the simplicity of the chap on the field being right. Even when he’s wrong. It isn’t perfect. It isn’t always fair, but then life isn’t fair, and unlike life, a game of cricket really doesn’t matter all that much. At this point I could go on about taking the rough with the smooth, suffering slings and arrows, greeting triumph and disaster and so on. But I can picture the tapping of thousands of fingers on thousands of keyboards, typing words like “old” and “fashioned” and “Who is this Neanderthal?”

So if this is the future of cricket, let’s dive in head first, rather than timidly dipping our toes in Lake Technology. For a start, why involve players in the messy business of making decisions? They aren’t cut out for it. It is tricky enough for some of them to arrive at the right ground at the right time wearing the right trousers. Let them concentrate on dropping catches, bowling wides and styling their hair.

The umpires should retain control of the means of adjudication and should be tooled up with all the latest gear. I propose that the ICC commission full-metal body suits for arbiters. These should feature state of the art Hawk-Eye-enabled visors, Snickometer antennae, and heat-detecting scanners. Optional extras to include a no-ball sensor, a tea-maker, and a hook upon which players can hang their sweaters and caps. Once they’re suited up like Judge Dredd, there would be no doubt where the authority lay.

My name is Aleem Dar. I AM the law.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Indy on September 6, 2011, 15:24 GMT

    Haha, sholdun't you be charging for that kind of knowledge?!

  • Addriene on September 6, 2011, 1:56 GMT

    Oh yeah, fbauolus stuff there you!

  • Rahil on December 29, 2009, 12:45 GMT

    Hmmmmm... nice article as far as humour is concerned but seriously urds has enhanced the cricket watching experience by mitigating unfair decisions. Remember the sydney test, 2008??? If review system was present at that time, the ugly fiasco that happened could have been obviated

  • Shahriar Hoque on December 17, 2009, 15:53 GMT

    Sorry Andrew but you are wrong! There is nothing wrong to have a system that will provide the correct decision. Players work very hard at nets and fans follow their team like a fanatics. When a match is changed due to Umpire's mistake then then there is no value added to the game. UDRS is excellent. Recently PAK-NZ used it in TESTS and it was amzing. The best team won the battles. Millions of $$ are spent on research technology for it's use and benefits. Cricket should be a fair game. UDRS allows for that to happen. UDRS could be made more efficient but iIT IS NEEDED for fair play.

  • Shahriar Hoque on December 17, 2009, 15:53 GMT

    Sorry Andrew but you are wrong! There is nothing wrong to have a system that will provide the correct decision. Players work very hard at nets and fans follow their team like a fanatics. When a match is changed due to Umpire's mistake then then there is no value added to the game. UDRS is excellent. Recently PAK-NZ used it in TESTS and it was amzing. The best team won the battles. Millions of $$ are spent on research technology for it's use and benefits. Cricket should be a fair game. UDRS allows for that to happen. UDRS could be made more efficient but iIT IS NEEDED for fair play.

  • Balaji on December 16, 2009, 10:29 GMT

    Relax guys! this is page2 :)

  • gmsj on December 15, 2009, 8:59 GMT

    yeah, Hughes is right! There can be no happening more demoralizing in test cricket than waiting for a clumsy-heavens-alone-can-wait decision from Umpire C... looks like the next generation of spectators can no longer spontaneously celebrate a fall of wicket because they'll be glued to the screens like myopic lab specimens.. Test cricket is dead..Long Live test cricket !

  • waspsting on December 14, 2009, 15:46 GMT

    "The crowd came to watch me bat, not to see you umpire," W.G Grace once told a white coat.

    with referals, your miniminzing errors. No one really cares about the umpire - its nothing personal. We just want to see the right decsion made. Thats the job they signed on for - if they wanted attention, they could have been pop stars or players.

    To watch a series' with the intensity of the 2005 Ashes, or the last India tour of Australia DECIDED by umpiring errors, was very unfortunate - and I say that as one who supports none of those teams. In short, I'm in favor of the referal system

  • Nusrat Vohra on December 14, 2009, 6:41 GMT

    All that is needed is that the Third umpire be allowed to reverse the blatant wrong decisions of the on field umpires. Nobody including the o filed umpires will have a problem if the third umpire reverses a decision like for example, ball picthed outside leg and batsman was given out LBW. Of course the ICC will have to define exactly which type of decisions can be reversed and on what evidence so that there is practically a very remote chance of subjectivity creeping in in the third umpire's reversal decisions. Reviews by players will not be allowed and all blatantly wrong decisions will be reversed.

  • Michael on December 14, 2009, 6:21 GMT

    I believe that the review system should be in place, with 1 very small change. I would rather see the control of the system stay in the umpires hands, just like in Rugby Union. There, the on field ref can ask the video ref if there is a reason he can or can't award a try based on whether he feels it was a try or not. The video ref then advises the on field ref if there is clear evidence to overturn his decision, 50/50's go with the on field call. Cricket could use this for inside edges, bat pads, etc. The umpire makes his gut call, but asks for the third umpire to make sure there isn't clear evidence of a mistake. This way, control stays with the umpires at all times.

  • Indy on September 6, 2011, 15:24 GMT

    Haha, sholdun't you be charging for that kind of knowledge?!

  • Addriene on September 6, 2011, 1:56 GMT

    Oh yeah, fbauolus stuff there you!

  • Rahil on December 29, 2009, 12:45 GMT

    Hmmmmm... nice article as far as humour is concerned but seriously urds has enhanced the cricket watching experience by mitigating unfair decisions. Remember the sydney test, 2008??? If review system was present at that time, the ugly fiasco that happened could have been obviated

  • Shahriar Hoque on December 17, 2009, 15:53 GMT

    Sorry Andrew but you are wrong! There is nothing wrong to have a system that will provide the correct decision. Players work very hard at nets and fans follow their team like a fanatics. When a match is changed due to Umpire's mistake then then there is no value added to the game. UDRS is excellent. Recently PAK-NZ used it in TESTS and it was amzing. The best team won the battles. Millions of $$ are spent on research technology for it's use and benefits. Cricket should be a fair game. UDRS allows for that to happen. UDRS could be made more efficient but iIT IS NEEDED for fair play.

  • Shahriar Hoque on December 17, 2009, 15:53 GMT

    Sorry Andrew but you are wrong! There is nothing wrong to have a system that will provide the correct decision. Players work very hard at nets and fans follow their team like a fanatics. When a match is changed due to Umpire's mistake then then there is no value added to the game. UDRS is excellent. Recently PAK-NZ used it in TESTS and it was amzing. The best team won the battles. Millions of $$ are spent on research technology for it's use and benefits. Cricket should be a fair game. UDRS allows for that to happen. UDRS could be made more efficient but iIT IS NEEDED for fair play.

  • Balaji on December 16, 2009, 10:29 GMT

    Relax guys! this is page2 :)

  • gmsj on December 15, 2009, 8:59 GMT

    yeah, Hughes is right! There can be no happening more demoralizing in test cricket than waiting for a clumsy-heavens-alone-can-wait decision from Umpire C... looks like the next generation of spectators can no longer spontaneously celebrate a fall of wicket because they'll be glued to the screens like myopic lab specimens.. Test cricket is dead..Long Live test cricket !

  • waspsting on December 14, 2009, 15:46 GMT

    "The crowd came to watch me bat, not to see you umpire," W.G Grace once told a white coat.

    with referals, your miniminzing errors. No one really cares about the umpire - its nothing personal. We just want to see the right decsion made. Thats the job they signed on for - if they wanted attention, they could have been pop stars or players.

    To watch a series' with the intensity of the 2005 Ashes, or the last India tour of Australia DECIDED by umpiring errors, was very unfortunate - and I say that as one who supports none of those teams. In short, I'm in favor of the referal system

  • Nusrat Vohra on December 14, 2009, 6:41 GMT

    All that is needed is that the Third umpire be allowed to reverse the blatant wrong decisions of the on field umpires. Nobody including the o filed umpires will have a problem if the third umpire reverses a decision like for example, ball picthed outside leg and batsman was given out LBW. Of course the ICC will have to define exactly which type of decisions can be reversed and on what evidence so that there is practically a very remote chance of subjectivity creeping in in the third umpire's reversal decisions. Reviews by players will not be allowed and all blatantly wrong decisions will be reversed.

  • Michael on December 14, 2009, 6:21 GMT

    I believe that the review system should be in place, with 1 very small change. I would rather see the control of the system stay in the umpires hands, just like in Rugby Union. There, the on field ref can ask the video ref if there is a reason he can or can't award a try based on whether he feels it was a try or not. The video ref then advises the on field ref if there is clear evidence to overturn his decision, 50/50's go with the on field call. Cricket could use this for inside edges, bat pads, etc. The umpire makes his gut call, but asks for the third umpire to make sure there isn't clear evidence of a mistake. This way, control stays with the umpires at all times.

  • Herm on December 14, 2009, 1:29 GMT

    The UDRS is an embarrassement. Batsman are reviewing the most plumb of decisions, and it is demoralising to the umpires. Take Simon Taufel, every decision he made was correct in the NZ vs Pak tour so far and he had to put up with them being reviewed constantly!

    human error is a huge part of the sport and should be retained!

  • ash on December 13, 2009, 22:56 GMT

    i agree.

    i find it even more tedious because I have yet to see a decision go against the umpire. oh I've heard about it and they seem to happen but I'm always mysteriously out of the room.

    which is why i find it so interesting that benson might quit over a system so obviously biased in favour of the umpire.

    one of the things that I have never liked about either review system is the arbitrariness of the number of reviews.

    I think a better system would be for a team to challenge as many times as they like but forfeit 5 runs for every unsuccessful review. it would both allow any bad call to be challenged, and deter and penalise bad appeals.

  • Eric the American on December 13, 2009, 22:34 GMT

    Amen!! Andrew, you are THE BEST!!

  • Brent on December 13, 2009, 22:22 GMT

    Wickets are at a premium in test match cricket therefore I say this system stays. It was going to be 3 refs and not to use hotspot or predictive hawkeye. Thankfully logic prevailed and they have allowed all technology along with just the 2 appeals. Whats this about it making it less entertaining for the sofa viewer? Quite the opposite actually, firstly watching the replays of what really happened and secondly if an important wicket (ie. Mccullum) had been given out completely and utterly unfairly, i'd feel like i was watching a fixed match and turn off the tele. Complicated? Not in the slightest. I think you're just saying that for the sake of and arguement.

  • A Singh on December 13, 2009, 19:34 GMT

    The NFL has a good review system,which has brought a lot of fans, like me, back to the game(it becomes a fair game base on talent) rather than based on his missed call or captains like Pointing,who tends to be a bully in the middle.The reviewers have to be fair and base it on visible evidence and not on their belief as Asud Raulf did. Every evidence---no hot spot, no defection of ball, stiometer showed no intense peak--nore of pad hitting bat i.e.-a broad noise-yet Asud decided to give Chanderpaul out---he lacks all the skill of a neutral reviewer---no evidence yet he decided to give Chanderpaul out. The point being made is that it works in the NFL because the reviewer does based it on visble credible evidence. A. Rauf did not based his decision on credible visible evidence(he heard a noise) and this is what throws the whole refferal system into choas. It only needs one person to do it an unjust --yes an unjust cause to get everybody doubt

  • nash on December 13, 2009, 16:22 GMT

    Review system is neccessary. You cannot let umpires look like fools when technology tools are shown to all TV viewers. So there are review systems being introduced in all sports. It has been highly succesful in tennis. It has been introduced in American football, but the onfield umpire reviews replays and makes decision. In cricket the system is not perfected yet but we will get there. Ireland fans would now wishing there was a review system in football also isn't. All sports needs some form of umpire support with technology. Period.

  • karthik on December 13, 2009, 16:12 GMT

    This article is very intersting to read but in this modern technology world, you have to accept this too. this new implement system is very worthful to those who true love of cicketers and fans.

  • Apurv Patel on December 13, 2009, 15:00 GMT

    Having played cricket for so long and watched cricket on television for last 15 years, have to a few conclusions. First that it has more variations than the in and out call of tennis or review of weather the knee had already touched the ground or not when the ball was caught (american football). Things that are straight forward like a no ball(foot in front of line) or weather the ball has touched the bat or not is managable variable that can be checked by technology, other decisions like lbws should be left to way they are with the umpire, in the end they all even out.

  • bohurupi on December 13, 2009, 14:54 GMT

    If you do some stats you'll surely find out that those who tend to dislike the UDRS are the ones who are the most benefited by wrong doing of the umpires. You don't have to look far back..just bring the India/SL test series on the table and you'd find a lot of those ugly umpiring decisions that had simply eaten away a significant chunk of the glory of this test match series. Not only the present system should continue but should be increased further to reduce the umpires playing the match rather than the players. Totally disagree with Mr. Hughes.

  • Darren Walker on December 13, 2009, 12:44 GMT

    The real issue here is not with the technology, it is with the decisions the players are choosing to have reviewed. The intent is to ensure that obvious errors made by the on-field umpire are subject to scrutiny on the field rather than in the newspapers the next day. What we have been subjected to so far is a predominance of players (and captains) who interpret "obvious error" as being the same as "I disagree" or even "I'm too important to the team not to have this checked". In the Australia v West Indies series many of the reviews have been prompted by too great a degree of emotive reaction to a decision rather than a good faith belief that an error has been made. Once the players grow up a bit the system will work well and will protect the umpires who do, on the whole, a pretty good job. Hopefully this system will enable us to do away with the absurd rule which prevents an umpire standing in a match involving his own country. It is this which undermines the credibility of umpires.

  • Arshad on December 13, 2009, 9:17 GMT

    With no disrespect to the umpires, I have watched umpires make controversial decisions in favour of more established teams then teams who are striving to make it into the big league.

    Technology creates a level playing ground between teams big and small. It will ultimately do the game of cricket some good by bringing in more and more teams into the big league.

  • Abhishek on December 13, 2009, 9:17 GMT

    I am sick and tired of people saying that the use of "Technology" has intruded the game. By their suggestions, we should go back to horse-carriages and wearing animal skin. Watching slow motion ball trajectory on the TV screen ("Hawk-eye") is not "technology" any more that wearing spectacles is. And the same goes for snicko, hot-spot and any other audio-visual aid. Anybody who thinks that this stuff is too complicated is, I am sorry to say, not making enough effort.

  • Suhaib on December 13, 2009, 8:19 GMT

    Just give it a break guys...let the system show what it can really do for the game.

    If you guys are so much against UDRS then why did I never hear any of you (or anybody for that matter) saying anything in support of Umpires when Hawk Eye and/or Hot Spot were introduced. Those are the first-generation gadgets that really contributed towards putting Umpires in doubtful positions and allowing various teams hammer umpires with criticism almost with an intention of killing them.

    UDRS is only an extension to its predecessors to make them work more effectively.

    I am not for or against UDRS. But I am ready to give it some time to prove itself.

  • Sidhu on December 13, 2009, 6:27 GMT

    Umpires are humans and they will make mistakes and so technology needs to be used, it will take time for giving a decision but that does not mean it's taking all the available time in the match,Whatever you say Mr.Andrew technology is accurate than normal human now it's 6% and it'll increase, be patient,cricket is a game like that in which technology can't be easily used, so what leave it like that? ICC must try better and find more technologies, and your article is based only on one incident and that too by oz team they sledge even the quietest of human beings so pls cricket must be played fairly even if it means reducing the powers of the on-field umpires

  • Het_neeu on December 13, 2009, 5:27 GMT

    How about going back to the days you believe what the radio commentator said...

  • Devon L Wilson on December 13, 2009, 1:18 GMT

    No Problem with the system.. some of you are just stone age. Change.. Change.. We just need to work until the system works right.

  • Ali on December 12, 2009, 21:56 GMT

    The UDRS is going to harm the spirit of the game. For example Players will refuse to walk or claim a dropped catch just so the other team can use up the allowed number of reviews. So while it may right some wrongs the damage it may do to the umpires confidence will wipe out any benefit achieved.

  • Omar on December 12, 2009, 20:58 GMT

    I tend to agree with your views Hughes *hey that rhymed* but not this time around.

    I hear controversy has been the the theme of the UDRS system in the ongoing Aussie-Windies series, but it has served its job successfully not too far away in New Zealand. No controversies there; there are some kinks to sort out but it is a step in the right direction.

  • Joe Wilde on December 12, 2009, 20:28 GMT

    Well Moses, take the decision yesterday when D.Flynn was given out caught wicket keeper in the game between Pak and NZ. No sound through sniko, no hot spot and no deviation off the bat, that was an obvious mistake from an inept review umpire. However, I'm very much all for this technology, even more technology would be good! In that same game Brendon Mc Cullum was given out caught in gully to an over stepped no ball. I think we need to take some responsibility away from on field umpires, they have a very difficult job. Imagine an umpire who has to do the following for each ball... Check the number of balls left in the over, check the field is legal, check for over stepping and then there are all the formalities when an lbw or caught behind decision needs to be made. Off field umpires can handle over stepping, field placing at least and inform the umpire if the resulting ball was legal, let them concentrate on the main job of properly ascertaining if the player is out or not.

  • Tony Lee on December 12, 2009, 20:18 GMT

    I recall the last over of the 1987 Australia vs NZ Melbourne test match with Australia nine down and hanging on for dear life. Was it Mike Whitney on strike? In any case hadlee was bowling; two (in my parochial NZ opinion) appalling LBW decisions go against Hadlee. Oh how I wish we had the referral system then - the result really matters especially against the Aussies.

  • ali on December 12, 2009, 19:33 GMT

    Now a days cricket is much faster and agressive, one man, one decision, one ball, one run can effect the entire game, empire is also a human not a machine, i think technology must use at some point where its necessary, cheerz ali

  • Graeme on December 12, 2009, 19:24 GMT

    In reply to Anand: Your suggestion that it be limited to two incorrect reviews is in fact the case. BTW, I think it's a great system. We all want the right decisions to be made and this is one way of making them.

  • sleepshrink on December 12, 2009, 19:03 GMT

    These are the same people who were against neutral umpiring, then they were against use of replays for run outs and stumps. Stop criticizing things that make the game fairer. Anyone remmember France V Ireland or would you rather not.

  • Suddhasheel on December 12, 2009, 17:53 GMT

    Seems to me like an idea of the umpire being infalliable! Something like God! Oh did I just commit to Blasphemy? I am sorry!

  • Nishant on December 12, 2009, 17:52 GMT

    Awesome article again by Andrew...boy this guy's amazing...I loved the "a hook upon which players can hang their sweaters and caps". Funny or humour-wit, let's call it, article. Thank you!

  • R Sivasubramaniam on December 12, 2009, 17:29 GMT

    Sorry Mr Hughes, I beg to disagree. When the technology is there it must be used. By the way why was it not used in the recent India v SL tests. Dilshan was twice given lbw the first was so glaring and may have changed the result of the game. That was one instance when the UDRS would have set things right. Umpires are human - they make mistakes, so why not use the technology. After all tens of thousands watching the game on TV saw the shocking incident and I am sure their opinion of that umpire must have plunged. Umpires are not demi-gods. No one wants to put the umpires down - they do a great job under trying circumstances, so why not give them the technical help - perhaps a beep from the 3rd umpire could help. Siva from Singapore

  • Gopinath on December 12, 2009, 15:29 GMT

    Anything and Everything which brings fairness to the game of Cricket should be implemented, However with a *(Conditions Applied)

    The Onfield Umpire does a lot of work.. which deviates him sometimes from making the right decision. For instance watching the foot of the bowler at the time of delivery for No balls and then immediately trying to follow the path of the ball whether it was hitting the batsman in line or it was a snick.. Gadgets should enable the Onfield umpire so that he can concentrate in one direction for making the right decision..

    Any Cricket Buff would want to watch a match which is Fairly won by a side.

  • Ravi on December 12, 2009, 14:14 GMT

    Hi andrew, loved your articles and their frequency but kinldy let me know what would be more important: getting a decision right by waiting for approx 5 min or significantly reduce the very chance of getting a important decision right because the umpire crucially was blinded at the right moment?

    IF UDRS achieves option 1 above, maybe in its initial avatar it is worthwhile!!

  • Lawrence on December 12, 2009, 14:00 GMT

    While I agree with what you say andrew, but if players really didnt like it s much as we are led to believe then surely they would just take a stand and not use it. I mean the easiest way to remove something from the game is to do just that. Im thinking, with the way Chris Gayle has so far used the system, he doesnt like it and is throwing them away early to make it less complicated . Meanwhile, Ponting on the other hand is using them more reserved, but there is a problem, The other day, umpire A gave it not out, Ponting wanted it reviewed, Umpire C gave it not out, then ponting goes on some weird rampage remonstrating to who knows who. It would have been much quicker if he had just done his little remonstrating after umpire A had given it not out, How on earth does he argue with 2 umpires and replays? There is no need for the system , but its up to the players to make the stand and not use it.

  • JD on December 12, 2009, 13:15 GMT

    I'd just like to know how they decide that the Umpires' current accuracy is in the mid 90s.. I can't remember the last time I watched a test and they didn't make 2 or 3 errors on dismissals.. 2/20 outs is 90%. Where do they get their numbers? Are they blending all decisions - leg byes, byes, no balls, boundaries, drinks breaks etc in these "decisions" calculations..? Let's just have an average for the dismissals.. I think then we'll see how accurate they really are. Look, I'm am for technology but for the reason of accurate dismissals. Accuracy - yes!!

  • Doug newsam on December 12, 2009, 12:54 GMT

    The system still returns incorrect decisions. Just ask Chanderpaul about his recent one, that was as wrong as they get. If the third umpire's judgment is flawed or he fails to use the system properly, the decision will be affected. I accept the need for technology but the application needs a lot of streamlining and correction before it achieves what it is hoped it will.

  • irfanmayani on December 12, 2009, 12:48 GMT

    I dont know why are people criticising this system so much and at such an early stage . I have been following the pak vs nz series , and i think this system is working pretty well. And I dont think that its complicated at all. I dont think it demoralizes the umpires as well. I think its there to assist them. It also enhances my viewing experience and we do look forward to such decisions and reviews. I dont know whats so wrong with the system that experts , fans and everyone is after the icc for this. I am a die hard follower of test cricket , and love this idea . It can be improved further definitely but there is nothing that stupid about it even right now to be criticising the system in every other post and article

  • Shams Jabber on December 12, 2009, 10:33 GMT

    I seriously disagree with you, here. I think UDRS will help cricket, not harm it. Life IS unfair Andrew, but we don't just sit back because of that. We constantly try to improve it. And this is same here. UDRS won't make cricket 100% fair, but it will improve cricket largely. And about the authority of the first umpire, he is still making the decision. He is just taking the help of techonology by asking few questions to the third umpire. Plus it makes cricket more interesting for the viewers. Cricket is different from all the other sports- it is the most complex game. That's what makes it so interesting. Who's gonna lead the team, is he gonna decide to bat or bowl, how's the pitch, what is the team combination, how many spinners and pacers? This is just a small fraction of all the things a viewer can think of. Technology makes it MORE interesting. It IS like sitting in the NASA control room during a space-shuttle launch, the only difference is, we understand it and we enjoy it.

  • Dave Reynell on December 12, 2009, 10:08 GMT

    Disagree with the writer. One bad decision at a critical time can (a) Ruin a cricketer's career, and (b) Turn a match.

    How can we expect someone to stand, sometimes in 35 plus degree heat, for SIX hours having to CONCENTRATE on EVERY BALL bowled, and get it RIGHT EVERY TIME.

    In this age of professionalism it makes no sense at all.

  • Dave Reynell on December 12, 2009, 10:07 GMT

    Disagree with the writer. One bad decision at a critical time can (a) Ruin a cricketer's career, and (b) Turn a match.

    How can we expect someone to stand, sometimes in 35 plus degree heat, for SIX hours having to CONCENTRATE on EVERY BALL bowled, and get it RIGHT EVERY TIME.

    In this age of professionalism it makes no sense at all.

  • TrueFan on December 12, 2009, 10:01 GMT

    I am a Sri Lankan and a big fan of Sri Lankan cricket. This is what I feel; when I watch matches which Sri Lanka plays I want my team to win, that’s why I watch those matches. Nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing my team wins. In that case I want to the decisions to be 100% percent accurate or at least as far as they can get. BUT when I watch cricket involving other teams like IPL or any other international match, I don’t really care about the decisions as long as good cricket is being played. One more thing even though the accuracy gained by the UDRS is 6%, that 6% percent of decisions can cause to 50% in changing the actual result of the game coz one bad decision can completely change the outcome of the match as many of the us(fans) have seen.

  • Jag on December 12, 2009, 9:46 GMT

    Hear,hear. Andrew Hughes is my nomination for ICC President, Chief Executive and arbiter of all matters relating to umpiring. Let the men out there in the white coats decide and if it looks as though they've made an error, so what? Get over it and move on - life was not meant to be perfect. Cricket was a great game for well over a century when the umpires had the only say, but is now under threat from people who love technology more than they cherish the game itself. Keep the camera calls where there are actual physical lines as the guideline, but down with Hotspot, Snicko and all such gadgets beloved of the technophiles.

  • Adarsh on December 12, 2009, 9:44 GMT

    Fair decisions are important, but the burden of when to opt for referrals should not be on the players or captains. Like Mr.Anand mentions, the limit for referrals makes it difficult for the captains. A better idea would be allowing the third umpire to directly interrupt the game if he feels there has been a wrong decision.

  • Dave on December 12, 2009, 9:37 GMT

    There seems to be a lot of faith put in technology. Snicko is susceptible to spurious noises, Hawkeye ESTIMATES the path of the ball and Hot Spot is okay as long as the bit of the bat or glove that is struck is visible to the camera. Apart from that, it's perfect and I'm all for it,(it's a good laugh). As for being better than a Dickie Bird or enhancing the game - I don't think so.

  • Karan Wayne Zooney on December 12, 2009, 9:36 GMT

    UDRS must be used, certainly. As Ahdil said, if you ask most of the Sub Continent personnel, they will say yes. I feel those decision regarding an edge or a bat pad are the ones which can be corrected to a massive extent by this, which can turn the game. I guess they need to do something those lbw decisions which donot involve any bat. They must only check whether the ball was pitched in line or not and leave the rest to the field umpires. And yes, they need to be quick in that too !

  • Dr Jitendra Bhargava on December 12, 2009, 9:34 GMT

    simple Solutions : 1. Game needs "BEST UMPIRING " (not necessarly from best umpires/onfield umpires)hence allow the technology to help. 2. Make the Third Empire more powerful means allow him to overturn the wrong decisison all by himself. (onfeild umpires should take it sportingly if they really think that game is bigger than all involved in it).Clue: Referees were invisible two decades back and they are given more power. 3.Even with technology let the "Benefit of doubt goes to batsman" rule continue.

  • teegeevee on December 12, 2009, 8:40 GMT

    It's fine having technology to entertain the masses, but the game as it's played should be about wood against leather on turf and judged by humans. Now it's true that cricket does need better trained umpires who have at least a passing acquaintance with the Laws. In the end, the limitations of umpires are part of the game, and you're out if it looks out to the umpire. It is absolutely important to leave umpires as the ultimate arbiters on the field.

  • Ahdil on December 12, 2009, 8:04 GMT

    I feel quite the opposite. Heck, the UDRS has enhanced my "sofa-dwelling" viewer pleasure, because I can finally see cricket being played more fairly. You seem to be okay with results going unfairly, which I'm not. Crucial decisions are made wrong, resulting in matches being turned, amongst other things.

    I think most Indians, Sri lankans and Pakistanis would be for the UDRS. Just ask them.

  • santhosh kudva on December 12, 2009, 7:54 GMT

    i am all for the review system. technology should definitely be used when possible. while there is no denying that it has flaws, its error percentage is negligible, significantly less than those made by humans. in case where evidence is inconclusive, the original umpire's decision must stand. simple as that.

  • Moses on December 12, 2009, 7:30 GMT

    Sorry Andrew, I do not agree with your views, though you've done a decent job of camouflaging it in satire. The Review System has already proven its worth (ask Brendon McCullum, twice). The teams who are whimpering are those who lack on-field awareness or knowledge of the rules or both. Cricket has become increasingly competitive and we cannot afford bad decisions from umpires - some observers have already identified Asoka De Silva's LBW decision of Tendulkar at Mohali as the turning point in the recent Ind-Aus ODI series. And increasingly low quality umpiring has only magnified the issue. Too bad the umpire is an endangered species, but the world is evolving and we have to live with it. The system can only be criticised if it overturns a correct decision from the on-field umpire - and I cannot see this happening!

  • Pradeep on December 12, 2009, 7:29 GMT

    Nothing wrong in having a very simple rule that each team can request the third umpire to have a look at the replays and use whatever technology available - slow motion, snicko, hawk eye, magnified views or any other technology for that matter - to check the correctness of field umpires decision. That will make the decisions moe accurate and the players and team will get what they deserve. Just remember what happened in Sydney few years back. A player went on to make a century even after getting out at least three times. In the same game, at least three of the oppponent team members went out just because of 'human errors' by umpires, I am sure even a layman like me could not have made such mistakes if i was the umpire in that match. So the third umpire, referal system and the help of technology - proper use of it - will help ensuring the result of a game is more accurate and truthful

  • Anand on December 12, 2009, 7:18 GMT

    Good article but I have to disagree with what you have said. Third umpire is also an umpire who has more privileges than the field umpires do. The whole umpiring team has to get things right for the betterment of Cricket. Technology has come into picture only to improve fairness in the game and the motive was only that not to degrade any umpire. When we know umpires are human and they can get things wrong why do we have to ignore evidence that is readily available? The current system allowing only 2 referrals doesn't seem all that fair. To make this UDRS more meaningful they could have had a rule that says - each team can make only upto 2 wrong reviews, the moment they cross 2 they lose their right to ask for more referrals. This would prolly control the amount of questions that are being asked and it would also lead to players trying to be more honest and not misuse the system.

  • Andy on December 12, 2009, 7:09 GMT

    Um, I can see where you are coming from TO A DEGREE, and appreciate the attempt at humour. But some of your comments are bit much, like saying that "oh well, life isn't fair and cricket doesnt even really matter". Well, you tell that to the person actually watching the game - it DOES matter to them, otherwise they wouldn't bother watching!!! And people DO care about having the right decision called.

    Let's be honest, the system is far from perfect at the moment, as it needs more consistency in 50/50 decisions, like say a caught behind where there is a noise but no hot-spot or discernible deflection (sometimes out, sometimes not??), but using the UDRS has indeed enhanced decision accuracy, that much is obvious if you have followed its use in recent games and so it makes the game more fair!

    As for being confusing... well, get over it... It's actually straight forward enough after seeing it a few times.

  • sanketh kumar on December 12, 2009, 6:46 GMT

    "Umpire Demoralising Review System"...very well said Andrew. i completely agree with u. the job of making decisions shud b left to the on-field umpires. carte blanche. perhaps they shud allow umpire A to take umpire C's help during close calls.

  • srikrishna mamidipudi on December 12, 2009, 6:34 GMT

    "watching a Test match these days is like sitting in the NASA control room during a space-shuttle launch." Exactly ! Cricket's a game for the umpires too. They have a right to enjoy it just as the players. We may soon have a robot making decisions !

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  • srikrishna mamidipudi on December 12, 2009, 6:34 GMT

    "watching a Test match these days is like sitting in the NASA control room during a space-shuttle launch." Exactly ! Cricket's a game for the umpires too. They have a right to enjoy it just as the players. We may soon have a robot making decisions !

  • sanketh kumar on December 12, 2009, 6:46 GMT

    "Umpire Demoralising Review System"...very well said Andrew. i completely agree with u. the job of making decisions shud b left to the on-field umpires. carte blanche. perhaps they shud allow umpire A to take umpire C's help during close calls.

  • Andy on December 12, 2009, 7:09 GMT

    Um, I can see where you are coming from TO A DEGREE, and appreciate the attempt at humour. But some of your comments are bit much, like saying that "oh well, life isn't fair and cricket doesnt even really matter". Well, you tell that to the person actually watching the game - it DOES matter to them, otherwise they wouldn't bother watching!!! And people DO care about having the right decision called.

    Let's be honest, the system is far from perfect at the moment, as it needs more consistency in 50/50 decisions, like say a caught behind where there is a noise but no hot-spot or discernible deflection (sometimes out, sometimes not??), but using the UDRS has indeed enhanced decision accuracy, that much is obvious if you have followed its use in recent games and so it makes the game more fair!

    As for being confusing... well, get over it... It's actually straight forward enough after seeing it a few times.

  • Anand on December 12, 2009, 7:18 GMT

    Good article but I have to disagree with what you have said. Third umpire is also an umpire who has more privileges than the field umpires do. The whole umpiring team has to get things right for the betterment of Cricket. Technology has come into picture only to improve fairness in the game and the motive was only that not to degrade any umpire. When we know umpires are human and they can get things wrong why do we have to ignore evidence that is readily available? The current system allowing only 2 referrals doesn't seem all that fair. To make this UDRS more meaningful they could have had a rule that says - each team can make only upto 2 wrong reviews, the moment they cross 2 they lose their right to ask for more referrals. This would prolly control the amount of questions that are being asked and it would also lead to players trying to be more honest and not misuse the system.

  • Pradeep on December 12, 2009, 7:29 GMT

    Nothing wrong in having a very simple rule that each team can request the third umpire to have a look at the replays and use whatever technology available - slow motion, snicko, hawk eye, magnified views or any other technology for that matter - to check the correctness of field umpires decision. That will make the decisions moe accurate and the players and team will get what they deserve. Just remember what happened in Sydney few years back. A player went on to make a century even after getting out at least three times. In the same game, at least three of the oppponent team members went out just because of 'human errors' by umpires, I am sure even a layman like me could not have made such mistakes if i was the umpire in that match. So the third umpire, referal system and the help of technology - proper use of it - will help ensuring the result of a game is more accurate and truthful

  • Moses on December 12, 2009, 7:30 GMT

    Sorry Andrew, I do not agree with your views, though you've done a decent job of camouflaging it in satire. The Review System has already proven its worth (ask Brendon McCullum, twice). The teams who are whimpering are those who lack on-field awareness or knowledge of the rules or both. Cricket has become increasingly competitive and we cannot afford bad decisions from umpires - some observers have already identified Asoka De Silva's LBW decision of Tendulkar at Mohali as the turning point in the recent Ind-Aus ODI series. And increasingly low quality umpiring has only magnified the issue. Too bad the umpire is an endangered species, but the world is evolving and we have to live with it. The system can only be criticised if it overturns a correct decision from the on-field umpire - and I cannot see this happening!

  • santhosh kudva on December 12, 2009, 7:54 GMT

    i am all for the review system. technology should definitely be used when possible. while there is no denying that it has flaws, its error percentage is negligible, significantly less than those made by humans. in case where evidence is inconclusive, the original umpire's decision must stand. simple as that.

  • Ahdil on December 12, 2009, 8:04 GMT

    I feel quite the opposite. Heck, the UDRS has enhanced my "sofa-dwelling" viewer pleasure, because I can finally see cricket being played more fairly. You seem to be okay with results going unfairly, which I'm not. Crucial decisions are made wrong, resulting in matches being turned, amongst other things.

    I think most Indians, Sri lankans and Pakistanis would be for the UDRS. Just ask them.

  • teegeevee on December 12, 2009, 8:40 GMT

    It's fine having technology to entertain the masses, but the game as it's played should be about wood against leather on turf and judged by humans. Now it's true that cricket does need better trained umpires who have at least a passing acquaintance with the Laws. In the end, the limitations of umpires are part of the game, and you're out if it looks out to the umpire. It is absolutely important to leave umpires as the ultimate arbiters on the field.

  • Dr Jitendra Bhargava on December 12, 2009, 9:34 GMT

    simple Solutions : 1. Game needs "BEST UMPIRING " (not necessarly from best umpires/onfield umpires)hence allow the technology to help. 2. Make the Third Empire more powerful means allow him to overturn the wrong decisison all by himself. (onfeild umpires should take it sportingly if they really think that game is bigger than all involved in it).Clue: Referees were invisible two decades back and they are given more power. 3.Even with technology let the "Benefit of doubt goes to batsman" rule continue.