West Indies in Australia 2009-10 November 24, 2009

Richardson hopes reviews will lead to walking


The first priority of the umpire review system is to eliminate obvious mistakes but the man in charge of implementing the technology hopes it will also lead to a new generation of walkers. Dave Richardson, the ICC's cricket operations manager, believes an indirect benefit of the two-appeals-per-innings innovation, which was implemented full-time in New Zealand on Tuesday and Australia from Thursday, will be more batsmen not hanging around when they've edged behind.

In the 11-Test trial Richardson said not only did the percentage of correct decisions improve by 6%, but they noticed the players, the only ones who can call for a review under this part of the system, were adhering more closely to the spirit of cricket. "I quite like the idea of putting a bit of responsibility on them, they are very quick to shake their heads and wave their bat around when they get an inside edge," he said at the Gabba. "Let's see how brave they are when it comes to actually taking that responsibility.

"Initially when we spoke we thought a possible indirect benefit might be that batsmen, when they do edge a ball, won't hang around and will walk anyway because they will be inevitably given out in the long run and they might be shown up as, not cheats, but certainly not playing within the spirit."

Richardson said there were fewer issues of dissent from the players and there was also less pressure being placed on the on-field officials by the bowling side. "We've found in the trials that the vociferous appealing, and appealing when you know it's not out, just to try to convince the umpire has seemed to go out of the game.

"What's worse for the game, Steve Bucknor's effigy getting burnt in India from a bad decision or the opportunity to rectify his mistake and hopefully improving the spirit by saying to the players: it's your game, your responsibility. You hit it, you walk, if you don't think it's out, don't appeal."

Nine out of the ten ICC members voted for the adoption of the system in internationals - England were not in favour because it is the players who generate the review - but it still relies on the host broadcaster having the technology, which can include Hawk-eye, pitch maps, hot spot and super slo-mo. Hot spot will not be available to the umpires during the Australia-West Indies series, but the third official will always have the same replays as the fans in their lounge rooms.

"Unfortunately in this day and age the guy's not out when the umpire raises his finger, he's out when Ian Chappell or Mark Nicholas says he's the out," Richardson said. "The modern view is we need to use technology."

Simon Katich, Australia's opening batsman, said the system worked well for the team in South Africa at the start of the year. "We tended to use it at the right time," he said. "We certainly had no dramas on it."

David Williams, the West Indies coach, said it was good to know the decisions would be well-made. "If the technology is there and used properly then I have absolutely no problem with it," he said.

Richardson wants to make one thing clear: it won't be perfect. While the human element is being downgraded, there is still scope for doubt. "It's so important for the person at home watching on television to understand that we are still not going to get 100% of the decisions right, because there are going to be some decisions that aren't conclusive from the technology point of view. The obvious ones we'll eradicate."

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jason on November 29, 2009, 22:42 GMT

    First off, I think it's about time that the ICC has finally got around to endorsing technology to help with computer umpiring. Some comments: (1) How disappointing/disgusting that, given the money collected by the ICC for cricket games around the world, it refuses to financially support the review system. Shame! (2) The use of 2 challenges is entirely arbitrary and when players use the system to hedge their bets (exemplified by Gayle and his LBWs) will allow subsequent howlers to get through because there will be no challenges left. (3) It will be good that those countries that currently like to claim every time that they lose a test that it's because of biased umpires or bad umpiring decisions won't be able to do so. They'll hopefully be exposed as the whiners and liars that they are. (4) Ind_cric_lover is wrong. Hawkeye does take into account the height of the ball off the pitch. You obviously know very little about the development of such technology and how easy it is to callibrate

  • A on November 24, 2009, 22:01 GMT

    I think Dave is quite mistaken about this being an incentive for batsmen to walk. Aussies have long been vocal about each player deciding if they want to walk or not based on how they feel about the idea of walking. I think that talk of 'professionalism' will creep in soon enough. Each team has a limited number of reviews and if a 'professional' starts using tactics on this too, I doubt any batsman that does not currently walk will start doing so tomorrow if he knows he can use up the opposition's referral. Dave said its not cheating, it is. Euphemism and practicality don't go well together. As for the system itself, I'm hoping to see a lot more of it.

  • Michael on November 24, 2009, 19:31 GMT

    I guess certain bits of umpiring make the use of this system inevitable because they are so bad. it's a pity though, particularly when an aeon passes between referral and decision over some micro minutia. Above most things the flow of a game is important; but obviously if a batsman is palpably out on 1 yet not given and then goes on to score 150 plus there has been a miscarriage of justice. I hope hot spot is used because that really does show facts, and Hawkeye is always there or thereabouts. Lawmakers often miss the point when making their laws which to normal viewers are blindingly obvious. In cricket there are too many such illogicalities-eg the on field umpires only being able to ask the third umpire if there is any doubt in the decision just referred not whether in fact the decision is right or wrong. Indeed one might consider that asking whether a catch has been taken cleanly is only secondary to whether the catch has come off the bat(something which is not askable).

  • Darius on November 24, 2009, 16:34 GMT

    I agree with MAK123. The laws of physics are often the reason why a diving batsman's bat is not grounded. It should be enough to cross the line with the equipment.

  • Srikant on November 24, 2009, 16:01 GMT

    Why doesn't the ICC give more powers to the Third Umpire to give decisions even when they are not asked? Get this.... a batsman has nicked the ball to the keeper but it is not evident to the on-field umpire. Let the 3rd Umpire indicate that he is reviewing the previous ball (to avoid play continuing!) and determine if the batsman is out or not!.... this adds a little time to the game but helps in reducing the errors. It can also be used to determine if a bowler stepped over the line or did not!!!... hope this will help ICC

  • Narendran on November 24, 2009, 15:51 GMT

    Hi MAK123... I don't agree with you.. that will throw a new can of worms. On marginal decisions it will be difficult to tell if the bat in the air, is on the line or crossed the line. So it is pretty basic that you have to ground the bat.

    None of the players including Sachin is ashamed to stand the ground when they know they nicked it.. they are still going to try their luck with the opponent team not referring the decision. So definitely this is not going to lead to batsman walking..

  • Ian on November 24, 2009, 15:32 GMT

    The first mistake is giving the right of appeal to the players - much better that the umpire refers it or has his attention drawn by the 3rd umpire. That's how it's been done for several years with run outs etc - if it works, why mess with it? There is something very distasteful at the sight of a player contesting an umpire's decision. The second mistake is two appeals - why two? Once they are used up, there remains the risk of the type of howlers we occasionally see. Finally, why not use technology and the 3rd umpire to call front foot no-balls, thus leaving the on field umpire to concentrate on lbws etc?

  • Mayank on November 24, 2009, 14:32 GMT

    Not necessarily. Some players may decide to NOT walk - in order to make opposition use (&consume) the only 2 reviews they have!

  • Prashant on November 24, 2009, 11:45 GMT

    I support the review system but it should be judiciously used in LBW cases. The Hawk eye is generally used to gauge the pitched spot and the distance the ball needs to travel before the stumps and the side angle is also shown which I think leads to incorrect decisions because Hawk eye cannot estimate the bounce correctly. The 3rd ump should only be shown the pitched spot and where the ball hit the batsman ( don't show the side angle Or the fielding side can't ask for a referral on LBW decisions because there is always a doubt and if a batsman is wrongly given LBW out then it impacts his side hugely. I am saying this because otherwise we'll see whole lot of players given out LBW as we saw when it was used on the trial basis

  • Parth on November 24, 2009, 11:38 GMT

    Great news, now there shall be no more umpiring debacles and it takes pressure off the umpire which may actually improve their ability to focus. Secondly certain coaches like Mickey Arthur and ones from Asian countries (Dav Whatmore etc), have pointed out that certain nations tend to get decisions going their way for whatever reason. This should certainly help even things out where a single wicket lost or given not out changes the match sometimes 8 which certainly does. Overall the testing seemed quite good and wasted no time as certain former players were complaining about. I certainly don't see where that came from. Overall good job for once ICC!

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