Umpire review system October 16, 2008

'On-field umpires should be in total charge of reviews'

Cricinfo staff

The ICC was concerned that the on-field umpires left the referrals mostly to the third umpire © Getty Images

The two on-field umpires should be in charge of the review system, since they are the ones held responsible for any errors, a senior ICC official has said. The system, first trialled internationally on India's recent tour of Sri Lanka, will be tried out in four more series over the next few months.

Dave Richardson, the ICC's manager for cricket operations, said there were concerns the on-field umpires were not totally in charge of referrals and left most to the third umpire. "The only disappointment [during the Sri Lanka series] was that the third umpire ruled the roost. We want the on-field umpires to be in total charge all the time. It's good for the game as well as the umpires who carry the stigma for giving wrong decisions throughout their life [in the absence of such a system]. It gives them an opportunity to rectify their mistakes. It also eliminates umpiring controversies and brings back the focus [of everyone] on the game."

Used for the first time in England in 2007, the umpire review system received mixed reactions on its international debut. However, the ICC, at its board meeting in Dubai on Tuesday, decided on the extension to provide greater exposure to the system before permanently implementing it.

Richardson said a 100% fool-proof system was not yet possible in the absence of similar technological help. "I know some Indian players were not happy with the system, with Sri Lanka slightly holding an upper hand. But we were satisfied with the referral system and found out that it led to 98% correct decisions being given," he said.

Beginning with New Zealand's two-Test series at home against West Indies in December, the system will also be tried out in the three-Test series between Pakistan and India the following month, the four Tests between West Indies and England beginning February and the three-Test series between South Africa and Australia starting at the same time.