England v Pakistan, 1st npower Test, Trent Bridge, 2nd day July 30, 2010

Pakistan still in need of UDRS training


Pakistan's struggles with the Umpire Decision Review System continued on the second day at Trent Bridge, as they once again found themselves uncertain of how to use the technology to their advantage. After a wasteful first day, in which they had squandered both of their lifelines in the space of five minutes, their experience reached a new low when Azhar Ali declined to refer a caught-behind decision that, had he done so, would surely have enabled him to carry on with his innings.

The incident occurred in the 21st over, with Pakistan already close to meltdown on 41 for 3. James Anderson zipped a full-length outswinger through to the keeper, and belatedly joined the appeal as Matt Prior went up to claim the catch. Azhar's first instinct was to walk towards the non-striker, Umar Akmal, but seconds later he turned on his heel and walked to the dressing-room.

Subsequent replays, however, showed clearly that the ball had flicked Azhar's pocket on the way through to Prior, and there was no evidence on HotSpot that there had been any bat involved. Had the third umpire Marais Erasmus been presented with that evidence, in full view of the crowd via the replay screen, it is unlikely he would have upheld the onfield decision.

However, Pakistan's captain, Salman Butt, refused to blame his batsman for walking, and instead cast doubts about the reliability of the technology by stating that Azhar actually believed he had got an imperceptible edge on the ball.

"I think it was very honest of Azhar Ali, good sportsmanship," he said. "He edged it and he walked straight away. If we had taken the chance, who knows, it might have been not out because it didn't show anything and it also showed it clipped the trousers on the way. But he knew he was out, so there's no point taking the referral. If you are found out on the big screen, it doesn't look nice."

Butt recalled a similar incident during Pakistan's tour of Australia in January, when Michael Clarke survived a caught-behind appeal during his century at Hobart, when Snickometer picked up a noise as the ball flicked the sticker on the side of the bat, but the Hotspot replay proved inconclusive.

"Hawkeye is not 100 percent and neither is Hotspot," said Butt. "When the ball hits the sticker on the side [of the bat] it doesn't leave a mark. It happened with one or two decisions before. But the point is, if the batsman knows he has hit the ball there's no point taking a chance, because if it's up there on the big screen it's pretty embarrassing."

Either way, when coupled with the bloopers on the first day, most notably Kamran Akmal's crass decision to refer a catch that missed the bat by some distance, it's clear that Pakistan need some training in how to use the system to their advantage. England themselves had similar problems during the early stages of their tour of the Caribbean last March, but in recent months have become far more savvy.

"It's something to get used to," said Anderson. "We've not used it very well in the past and been on the wrong end of some tough decisions from it, but we've used it pretty well so far in this game. As it's used more and more in this game, the more we'll get used to it, and the better we'll use it.

"It's a case of knowing who to consult, because you've only got a short period of time to think before you refer," he added. "We try to keep as many people out of it as possible, and go for the three key people."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Michael on August 1, 2010, 15:08 GMT

    The UDRS is meant to allow teams to appeal against obviously wrong decisions. If you use them up appealing against line-calls or on clear-cut situations (like appealing for a catch when the batsman misses it completely), then you're doing your own team a disservice. It may help Pakistan to use the UDRS in every series.. but that would require the PCB to come to an agreement with broadcasters, under the current arrangements.

  • Dummy4 on July 31, 2010, 11:15 GMT


  • Vijay on July 31, 2010, 10:11 GMT

    @agel_guy - i accept ur pts. they seem quite valid. but heads off to azhar??? no wonder u r appropriately named angel.

  • khurram on July 31, 2010, 10:08 GMT

    I think salman but got it wrong here! Umpires specialy tony hill has given couple of decisions where he was not too sure. he thought for few seconds & gave it in the end thinking that if they have doubt they will refer. for example that morgan dismisal he gave it late & morgan refer. now with UDRS umpires often give descisions which are 50-50 instead of giving benifit of doubt to batsman. its players responsibility to refer. How azhar thought he edged it when it didnt?? its not about sportsmanship or honesty? if 11 playing players didnt used it then i think pakistan left it for 12th man

  • Muhammad on July 31, 2010, 9:38 GMT

    I think this all conversation is rubbish, what are the umpires standing there for, to check that how effeciently does the players uses UDRS. Around four decisions have been given wrongly in this match uptil now and all agaisnt Pakistan. Then there is Mr. KA who is working as the 12th man for England team by dropping dollies. So in total team balance is 14 - 10 in favour of England. I dont think Brazil evern can win against any lower ranked team in this combination then we should not have any hope from this Pakistan team until and unless the balance is regularized to 11 - 11 which is not looking possible. How come any one can blame the inexperienced Azhar Ali on the usage of UDRS. First of all the Umpires are to blamed for those wrong decisions but the ICC just to avoid criticism doesnot do any thing and safeguard its umpires. Initially the Umpire should be allowed to use the UDRS in case he is not 100% sure.

  • Aamir on July 31, 2010, 8:55 GMT


    How do you know that they knew the ball had not touched the bat?

    And the only problem with appealing too much (as Pakistan are known to) is that sometimes even genuine appeals are rejected.

  • Hassan on July 31, 2010, 8:47 GMT

    yes i think pakistan batting woes are really dreadful. if we continue like that then even bangladesh can beat us. this is time where PCB needs to awake up. We desparately need experience players otherwise its impossible to play a test game with this wrecthed batting lineup.

  • Vipul on July 31, 2010, 7:17 GMT

    I saw this dismissal and I can say that it would be unfair to blame the batsmen present on the ground. The ridiculously low number of max. appeals is to be blamed. When a team or a player knows that each appeal that is turned down is going to reduce the number of appeals available to the team, the player (or the team) is wont to safeguard the appeals for a future decision that could potentially be even more decisive. I suggest increase the number of max. incorrect appeals to five or six per innings. Time lost in the extra referrals is surely going to be insignificant.

  • Mohammad on July 31, 2010, 6:08 GMT

    I agree that there is a NEED of understanding UDRS by teams.. the more you play TEST matches the more will the POTENTIAL REFERRALS by the teams.. even england admitted that they used to make claims which were unsuccessful.. so it will take time for the Pakistanis to make more potential udrs claims on the field.. as they havent played much of test cricket.. 2nd thing about the dismissal of Azhar .. if he felt that he nicked it, what he did was right (walking away), even if he went towards umar akal to ask him what to do, as umar is more senior and Azhar is playing his first match under UDRS.. so in my eye Azhar felt that he had nicked it, and walked away.. which is ryt..had he claimed udrs and then on the HOT SPOT it showed an edge, every one would be laughing at him.. so heads off to AZHAR..

  • Dummy4 on July 31, 2010, 5:33 GMT

    Well, Salman Butt and his team need common sense class training. This idiot needs to know that with this system, if an umpire is not 100% sure about the decision, he goes with 60/40 decision (before it used to go batsman favor only) one way or the other and hopes that opposing team will challenge it to correct it if he is wrong.

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