Spotlight on the officials

Call for more technology - Your views on the umpiring controversy

Cricinfo staff

February 13, 2005

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Bob Woolmer touched upon a controversial topic when he spoke about the high number of close decisions that went Australia's way during Pakistan's recently concluded tour. Last Friday's Numbers Game column also suggested that Australia had a higher percentage of lbw appeals given in their favour than other teams. Lots of readers have written in with their views on the issue, and here is a selection of them - please keep the feedback coming:



Ricky Ponting with the VB Series trophy after beating Pakistan 2-0 in the finals © Getty Images
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The recent debate on lbw percentages in Australia needs to be looked at more scientifically than just bare stats. It may well say more about batsmen's deficient techniques and bowlers line and length than any issue of bias. Just have a look at where some of the Aussies take strike and you will see them well in front of their creases and looking to play forward. David Geytenbeek

I agree that umpires suffer from some sort of subconscious propensity to give more lbw decisions in favour of Australia. It is similar to umpires giving No. 11 batsmen out more readily than top-order batsmen. I especially noticed this with a couple of Australian umpires during the current season. Andrew Higgins

It would be useful to know how many of the wrong decisions were made by the home umpire and how many by the neutral. If it turns out that the majority of them were made by the neutral umpire, then having two of them rather than one isn't going to help improve matters. R Sankar

I was quite appalled to see the way the third umpire ruled Adam Gilchrist in on a close run-out call after viewing the replay from only one angle. Attempts by the TV crew to show other angles were, for some odd reason, cut short, and the viewers never got to see the real picture on that run-our throughout the game. Abrar Ahmad

The article was misleading - there could be other reasons why the Aussies appeals are more successful. For example, it may be because Australians appeal only when they think the opponent batsman is surely out whereas others appeal even if then know the batsman is not really out. You can't indicate any casual relationship from observational studies where you cannot control for many unknown factors. Somesh Chattopadhyay

The ICC's position that umpires are beyond reproach is beyond comprehension. Everyone has been complaining about the umpiring in matches that involve Australia, but the ICC seems to think that everyone but the umpires have it wrong. I suggest that the ICC dock the umpires for poor decisions, and make the information public, exactly the way they do it for the players. Raj

The team which is stronger usually has more decisions going its way. Since the Australians are the strongest of them all, they get the better end of the decisions. The same is true when a stronger team plays a really weak outfit. The Indians, who suffered badly on their tour to Australia, got many decisions in their favour against Bangladesh. Kish Kumar

Statistics can only show the number of appeals - it can't show the number of worthy or unworthy appeals. Similarly the percentage of batsmen getting out lbw is related to batting style and skill in addition to umpiring. Statistics just can't play a definitive role in adjudging bias when there are other important parameters involved. Altaf Ahmad

Australia should be proud of the numbers that come out in the article - it shows they are very choosy in appealing. Gagan

It is an old adage that good teams make their own luck, and that is fair enough; but it also follows that luck make good teams better. Australia is a great team, and has been for a number of years. But luck has also played a part in that greatness, which is what Bob Woolmer and Mark Richardson were getting at. Aaron Bell

When was the last time that the most controversial decision in an Australia home series went against them? Be it Mark Waugh being reprieved after knocking his stumps or Sachin Tendulkar being declared lbw after being hit on the helmet - Australians have repeatedly had the better of umpiring decisions. It's high time to look at these incidents in totality rather than individually. Asif Javed

All this talk about umpiring bias is nonsense. Australia played better cricket, and the umpiring was definitely of good standards. Pakistan are complaining just because they ran Australia close in the ODIs they felt they had a chance to win. Regarding the high percentage of appeals upheld in favour of the Aussies, it's only the direct result of their bowling in the corridor more consistently than any other team. Don't demean their greatness achieved by blaming the umpires. Vilas Prabhu

We need more technology to come in - Hawkeye and snickometer should be used in every decision. Graham

The numbers on lbw appeals in the recent VB Series is a good indication of how umpires are generally intimidated in favour of Australia. However, it would have been better if the chart also showed how many of those decisions did home umpires give favouring Australia. K Prakash

I am ambivalent about whether Aussie appeals are more successful. I am happy to believe that John Buchanan is capable of anything. However, Australia are the best team and will, by definition, create more opportunities (eg lbw shouts) than any other team. That should be factored into any discussion on the subject. Rodney Delanty

Australians certainly do intimidate the umpires. During the Australia-New Zealand series in 2004 Shane Warne was appealing for everything, perhaps thinking that he could bully Aleem Dar into giving a decision in his favour. What was particularly nasty was the way he kept shaking his head and complaining each time the appeal was, quite correctly, turned down. Tariq Mahmood

Let's keep it simple - had those appeals by Pakistan against the Aussies been upheld, Inzamam-ul-Haq would surely have lifted the VB Series trophy this year. There wasn't much quality shown by the Aussies in the field, and Pakistan would have been deserving winners. Salman Ali Khan

We need two neutral umpires in all international matches, more utilisation of technology, and and additional rights to teams and players to express themselves freely without fear of being punished by the ICC. Mobashir

The umpiring errors take the sheen off the Aussie supremacy. I remember a Pakistani bowler being warned of some non-existent offense after an appeal which was turned down even though television replays confirmed that the batsman was caught plumb in front. We need more umpires from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and West Indies. Asghar Ali

I would like to know what happens when a team submits a report on an umpire suggesting bias or incompetence. How does the ICC review the matter and what kind of actions have been taken in the past? It would be helpful if fans were made aware of the systems in place to tackle incompetent umpires. Fayyaz Alimohamed

In which other sport is it such a taboo to comment on umpires? The decisions during the VB Series were truly appalling. Mark Richardson is right - the players' stature seem to tilt the balance. Shane Warne is likely to get a decision in his favour, while any other legspinner will struggle with exactly the same delivery. Sadullah

Tell us what you think.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Australia won by 31 runs
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Australia won by 18 runs
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