Umpire Decision Review System November 13, 2009

Costs involved may derail review system


The controversial Umpire Decision Review System has come under serious threat, with broadcasters and national boards baulking at the implementation costs. The UDRS will be scrapped for the forthcoming India-Sri Lanka and South Africa-England Test series, and might not be used in Australia.

Following a series of trials at domestic and international level, the ICC announced in June the referral system would be rolled out from October. Cricket's governing body is understood to have communicated that it would not be responsible for the cost burden of the system, leaving boards and/or broadcasters to foot the bill.

That decision has prompted consternation among the latter parties, who believe the ICC should carry the cost for a system it is pushing to implement. "If the ICC wants it, they will have to pay for it," Gerald Majola, chief executive of Cricket South Africa, told Cricinfo. "It will not be used (for the England Test series).

"This is between the broadcasters and the ICC. The broadcaster is not prepared to pay the additional costs required ... (and) we informed the ICC at the time that we would not be paying for it."

Ratnakar Shetty, the Indian board's chief administrative officer, said there was "nothing to explain" about the BCCI's decision to not use the system for the Test series against Sri Lanka. India originally supported the implementation of the UDRS, but have reportedly been dissuaded by players, who have reservations about the effectiveness of referrals.

The UDRS was designed to assist umpires in the decision making process. Teams were to be allowed two "challenges" per innings - down from the original three - in a system similar to that used in American football and tennis. "I'm excited that the committee concluded that the Umpire Decision Review System had a positive effect on the game," Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, said in June. "It reduced the number of incorrect decisions and also cut down on the instances of player dissent."

But confusion over the cost of implementing the system could see it terminated before it begins. Hawk-Eye, ultra slow motion cameras and "Hot Spot" are among the technological devices used in trials, but all come at a sizeable cost. At least one additional Hawk-Eye technician would be required at each venue if it were to be used for the UDRS, rather than normal television coverage, while rental of other equipment would stretch the budgets of broadcasters.

"I don't know what will happen at this stage," said Paul Hawkins, inventor and managing director of Hawk-Eye. "It's all up in the air."

Reports in Australia state that the ICC will dispatch a senior official to hold discussions with Cricket Australia and host broadcaster, Channel Nine, in a bid to implement the UDRS for Test series against West Indies and Pakistan. But there are no guarantees.

"The ICC Board agreed to the implementation of the UDRS provided there was no cost implication to the member," an ICC spokesman said. "Perhaps there was an issue with the complexity of existing broadcast deals and how the system would be implemented."

Alex Brown is deputy editor of Cricinfo, Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Saud on November 18, 2009, 12:20 GMT

    The corner stone of the referral system is that a team is able to refer decisions to the third umpire for review. Even if the broadcasters do not have technologies like hawk-eye and hot spot available the system still has utility in reversing blatant mistakes through the use of simple replays. The third umpire may use whatever is available. It seems really silly to tie the system to technology increasing the costs and then use it as an excuse to abolish the system. I don't see how cost is an issue at all.

  • Cric on November 18, 2009, 9:03 GMT

    The umpire review system was used in the ICL matches where players were allowed 3 referrals in a match and it worked wonders, players were more satisfied with the decisions and it made the game fairer. If a rebel league could afford it how come the international body of cricket and its members not afford it and the channel that broadcasted the matches of the ICL was a free to air channel unlike some broadcasters like sky sports

  • Steven on November 16, 2009, 0:38 GMT

    the only series that West Indies has won recently was using the referral system in the West Indies and returned to England to loose the next series - guess what no referral system. So basically with the referral system other sides will become more competitive.


  • giovaughn on November 15, 2009, 16:59 GMT

    how many umpires have a small enough ego to admit they are unsure & ask for technological assistance when faced with a tough decision? maybe they be allowed to make referrals as well as the players for example the batsmen have 3 referrals the fielding captain/bowler has 3 & the umpire has 1 0r 2

  • giovaughn on November 15, 2009, 16:40 GMT

    has any one ever heard of cost sharing the elite umpires panel could pay some of the money along with the ICC & host country boards maybe some money could be taken out of umpires & player's match fee as well this might help improve the quality of decisions made & reduce unnecessary referrals

  • Paul on November 14, 2009, 11:39 GMT

    The UDRS is fantastic. There needs to be a solution to this problem about cost so that it can be used in all test matches. The relationship between players and officials will be stronger and more correct decisions will be made. Why not use it in ODIs and T20s as well as the technology will only be needed for 3 or 8 hours?

  • Ambrose on November 14, 2009, 11:23 GMT

    I think that the innovation of the referral system was a good one to try to clamp out the blatant mistakes that occurred in the past especially against the smaller and weaker nations. Without the referral system umpires will be more inclined to give decisions in favor of the more established stronger nations which means that stronger nations are inherently favored. Therefore this will even out the playing field a bit more.The ICC should try to ensure that the referrals stay in cricket if not at tests then at first class until the issues are settled out and guidelines are layed out for every possible scenario.However the time taken should be decreased because the rhythm of the game is stopped. Also those controlling the referrals are human and are prone to errors also and so we have to understand that tight decisions can go either way. The umpires who control the referrals should be taken not of so that the bad ones excludes and the better one accepted just as on the elite panel.

  • Tejinder on November 14, 2009, 10:02 GMT

    Haing read various comments about UDRS, I want pose a question, why are parties involved in the implementation of the system now using the excuse of costs invollved in implementation the said, when they clkearly agreed to implement the system in June. They should have thrashed out the costs issue then with concerned parties when agreeing tor adopting the system. this is an indication of double standards being used in order to derail the process to aviod any fairness in this gentlemen's game. Live up to the reality of the situation!

  • Muhammad on November 14, 2009, 9:41 GMT

    I m with referal system Game 5 AUS IND when Umpire give sachin out LBW cost them a its better to use

  • Chalana on November 14, 2009, 3:52 GMT

    Even umpires wear sponsor tags today, then y cant these ppl find a sponsor for referal system. im totally with the referal system. In India - Sri Lanka series which this implemented had great impact on this. Most of the indians had to leave the crease after edging and stayins as if nothing happens (it was shocking to see ppl like tendulkar and dravid who are real gentlemen in this game did so). may be thats y the indians dnt like this, bcz they cant cheat. But have to mention that Shewag was given out for something cannot give out lbw in this which was the only major failure i observed in that serious. Also all the decision went against india too. That is bcz they tried play fool with the umpires too much.....

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