August 13, 2008

Rope for reviews

The system may have thrown up more questions than foreseen but it deserves a fair go
41



The human factor: the review system is only as good as the men who run it © AFP

Without quite intending it, cricket's lawmakers may have unleashed a process that could change the game profoundly. The outcome of the provision to review umpiring decisions has been startlingly different from what was intended. It was meant to get rid of obvious umpiring mistakes - the kind in the Sydney Test that threatened to derail India's tour of Australia - but it has ended up ruling on marginal calls.

The review system didn't influence the result of the series - Sri Lanka were palpably the better side over the three Tests - but it threw up more possibilities and implications than anticipated.

The first batsman to be given out under the experiment was Virender Sehwag, in the second innings of the first Test. It was a leg-before, the kind that would, pre-review, invariably have gone in favour of the batsman: only half of the ball landed on the line of leg stump. As it turned out, the decision was wrong, involving two mistakes, one from the third umpire and one from the projection system.

Those endorsing the trial - and that included Anil Kumble - probably were hoping for clarity when it came to such instances as the thick deviation off Andrew Symonds' bat in Sydney, which apparently everyone apart from Steve Bucknor heard. As it turned out, only one obvious mistake - involving a thick inside edge by Rahul Dravid in the first Test that the on-field umpire didn't spot - was corrected under the review system. There was also the top edge off Sachin Tendulkar's bat behind his pad that was given out under the review, which the on-field umpire couldn't justifiably have been expected to spot. It was justice done for Sri Lanka, but had the decision gone in the batsman's favour, it would have been understandable.

However, it turned out that a majority of review appeals involved lbws: 39 out of 48 to be exact. More interestingly, of the 12 successful appeals, seven involved lbws, and it became increasingly apparent that the umpires were willing to overrule their original opinion after they received additional information from the camera. In most of these cases, batsmen had been ruled not out apparently because the umpire had been unsure about where the ball had pitched or about the line of impact. In the process, an age-old code of cricket, unwritten but unfailingly honoured, was overturned. The benefit of doubt was no longer extended to the batsman.

That is not necessarily a bad thing. The balance of the game has kept shifting in favour of batsmen. Every piece of legislation drawn up in the last few decades has been designed to facilitate strokeplay and run-scoring. Bats have grown thicker and boundaries have shrunk. So a system of justice that is designed to deliver more guilty verdicts against batsmen is only welcome. Potentially a more stringent lbw regime can do for bowlers what covered pitches and helmets did for batsmen. It's about time.

But, and this is a big but, for that to happen, the implementation will need to be uniform, and it is difficult to see how that can happen. In this series alone there were obvious inconsistencies. Ignoring the Sehwag dismissal, which was a blatant mistake, there was the case of Thilan Samaraweera being adjudged not-out when the replay showed him to be as plumb as Dravid was shown to have been on two occasions. But the umpire - Mark Benson, who had a poor series overall - chose to stick to his original decision. You can bring in as much technology as possible, but as long as it is down to human interpretation, inconsistencies are inevitable, and so are controversies.

Top Curve
Reviews: the numbers
  • Total reviews 48
  • Successful 12 (Sri Lanka 11, India 1)
  • Unsuccessful 36 (India 20, Sri Lanka 16)
  • Appeals for lbw 39 (Successful 7, Unsuccessful 32)
  • Appeals for caught-behind/close-in 9 (Successful 5, Unsuccessful 4)
  • Bowlers involved in review calls
    Mendis 14, Muralitharan 12, Harbhajan 8, Kumble 5, Zaheer 3, Prasad 2, Sehwag 2, Ishant 1, Vaas 1
  • above includes batsman and bowler appeals

Bottom Curve

Prima facie it would appear that Sri Lanka profited under the system. They won 11 out of their 27 appeals - an extra innings, as it were. India won a solitary appeal out of 21. But to hold the review system out as the decisive factor in the series will be to obfuscate. Sri Lanka were deserving winners, and they won because they had Ajantha Mendis, a spinner very few Indian batsmen could read. And that they won so many appeals points to the fact that they created many more chances and that their captain was sharper and more alive to the possibilities.

It would not be a surprise if Kumble and Mahela Jayawardene offered different opinions to the ICC sub-committee formed to discuss the future of the process, but the decision should not be based on what happened in this one series. The review process must be further trialled during the Champions Trophy, which will allow all international teams to sample it. Learning from the lessons of the Test series, the ICC must ensure that the best technology available is used.

Virtual Eye's projections were shown up to be blatantly wrong at times: to cite one example, on review of an appeal by Prasanna Jayawardene, who had been adjudged leg-before - wrongly as it turned out because the ball had hit him above the flap - the impact was shown to be well in front of the crease when he had actually been hit on the back leg, inside the crease. There is no guarantee that similar will not happen with Hawk-Eye, because ultimately it is down to those installing the cameras and operating the systems, but it might be a question of greater experience.

There are no guarantees when it comes to HotSpot either. Mark Boucher seemed happy to walk off after being adjudged caught behind in the first innings at The Oval, but HotSpot revealed no impact. Still, of the technology available, there isn't anything more foolproof than HotSpot.

But more than anything else, there must be clarity over how it works between the on-field umpire and the third umpire over leg-before decisions. It will be too radical to suggest the communication between them be broadcast for the sake of transparency, but at the moment there is too much scope for speculation. Should the review be limited to merely judging where the ball pitched? After all, that's a line call - provided they get the pitch mat right.

Before a final decision can be taken on the way forward, the system must be given the best available opportunity to succeed, or fail. After that it is down to all those involved - players, administrators, and umpires - to decide which way cricket must head.

Sambit Bal is the editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mcmenon on August 15, 2008, 17:12 GMT

    If the televised game is Cricket, what do we call all those millions of matches played - including first class cricket, which are not televised? Bricket?

    Anil Kumble was given out lbw - at full stretch forward. Whatever the umpire asked to the thirdie - to be given out when there is even a slightest possibility of doubt is ridiculous.

    We play cricket based on what is available at 'real time' - what you see at real time. A batsman has to deal with a 'chuck' - even if superslowmo analysis suggests a bowler is only bending it by 14.5 degrees!

    TV, TV, TV!

  • Lemm on August 14, 2008, 23:13 GMT

    As Virtual Eye CEO I wouldn't normally enter this debate but in the interest of balance I make the following observations. We have always maintained that the technology behind both Hawkeye and VirtualEye has limitations and that those limitations whilst not critical for the entertainment value in televison would need to be addressed if there was ever a move to use it to "assist" umpires. Unlike Hawkeye, who had 3 months to prepare for its measurement test with the MCC, we had just 48 hours prior to the first test. Despite that we measured more accurate than Hawkeye.If we had 3 months to prepare we would have definitely introduced new technologies we have in hand and we would have collaborated closely with the other technologies such as Hot Spot and the slow motion cameras.We believe there is a place for technology - but not at the expense of the umpire. If Cric Info is interested I can expand on this view and comment more specifically on some of the inaccuracies in this article.

  • carromball on August 14, 2008, 20:03 GMT

    Gentleman!!!

    Do you know how much it takes for one to get him self on to international reckoning as a cricketer ..... the skill,commitment and hard work?

    Think about it?

    How many cricketers carriers have come to a screeching halt because of bad umpiring decisions due to human error?

    Technology is developed by man for a better tomorrow, thus it should be embraced,carefully and strategically. If the archaic arm chair critique forces delay of technology infusion to this beautiful game.It will only result in more unjust decisions, and many more errors. Should we wait and see or should we move on?

    The answer lies with the ICC. As one wise person said before me do not politicize this decision.Today India might be in the receiving end of this review system, tomorrow they would be the beneficiary. Its the game and the true skill of a cricketer that would prevail if the right decision is made at all times.

  • Kirk-at-Lords on August 14, 2008, 15:40 GMT

    The best thing about the review system is that it is underway. At last cricket officials are engaging fully with the role and limits of technology in the sport. The technology is not perfect (perhaps a surprise to some technophiles), and at times less accurate than human umpires (just ask Virender Sehwag!). The question will be how to make the best use of both to obtain the greatest number of correct decisions without unduly slowing an already deliberate game (particularly Tests). One of the greatest benefits of the trial in Sri Lanka may be showing the fallibility of HawkEye/VisualEye and their dependence on a proper pitch map being laid down by human groundskeepers. The trial has shown that technology does not simply trump humans. Now the way is clear to adjust the two to work more smoothly in tandem, and accept that marginal decisions will remain precisely that -- marginal. Benefit of the doubt should go to the umpire's original decision in all such cases.

  • AsherCA on August 14, 2008, 14:35 GMT

    ICC have staged the Sydney win for Australia. ICC & their umpires were unwilling supporters to the review system primarily because it takes away their ability to decide results in favour of select teams. The way all borderline decisions in favour of India were reversed but the reverse was not done by Benson in this series shows us ICC's integrity !

    If Sydney was genuine human errors, Benson would be called incompetent.

    However, when he showed a willingness to be inconsistent to err against India he has shown a recklessness to his job after which if ICC permit him to stay, the message I get is -

    ICC umpires have been ordered to step in with human errors to beat India.

    In such a case, BCCI should simply resign its ICC membership & let Dave Richardson and his partners in crime stew in their own brew.

  • ladycricfan on August 14, 2008, 14:15 GMT

    Hawkeye and other technologies will correct obvious errors. Technology will also be useful in "eliminating the doubt" in marginal decisions. When there is doubt after reviewing, the benefit of the doubt still goes to the batsman. Dravid's notout LBW decision was overturned to "out" after review. Samaraweera and Ganguly were given "notout" after review. It works both ways. With technology there will be more CORRECT decisions than pre-tech.

  • sriviswa on August 14, 2008, 13:26 GMT

    Mark Benson was famous for Aus/Ind series being named the Benson and Edges series (along with Bucknor). There was a definite bias on his part here too and I wonder why he was in the panel at all after all that ruckus. No doubt, India lost because it played badly. But, there reviews were not consistently handled and it hurt India more. If an LBW is referred to a third umpire, why can't the third umpire decide on the verdict too. Why waste time in passing info to the onfield umpire who finally makes a wrong call ... and remember each time it was Benson who made the wrong call. There is certainly more to this than that meets the eye. I would prefer to call it a profound anti-India bias which has been building up ever since Steve Waugh's team lost in India. Any takers?

  • VKFan on August 14, 2008, 11:43 GMT

    I have a blog post dealing with exactly this topic at: http://cricket-stalker.blogspot.com/2008/08/tv-referral-system.html

    As I argue there, getting rid of the "benefit of the doubt" is not a good thing. That principle has existed in cricket for a long time, for good reason. The very nature of the game requires it. The batsman has only one chance - one mistake and you're out. The bowler has an essentially unlimited number of chances. Secondly, especially in cases like LBW requiring judgment on the part of the umpire, the "benefit of the doubt" principle ensures that the umpire errs on the side of caution. Imagine what would happen if umpires started giving batsmen LBW even if they weren't sure about the trajectory of the ball. The batsman has to stand somewhere, after all, and the pads come into play quite often in cricket. By using technology to rule on LBWs, we make the game too hard to play. It will require changes in batting technique, and make the game less interesting.

  • MVGLW on August 14, 2008, 11:36 GMT

    when studying the whole set of matches what we saw was that all matches could not carry beyond 4 days play just because 'benefit of the doubt' has been wiped out and the chances batsmen got on this is no more.unless you bat with real cricket tachnique you can not survive.It has wiped out 'bias','so called obvious mistakes'and 'cheating'in game of cricket. It has brought clean game of play.This will be a good answer to Australian cricketers who wants the win by hook or crook! There had been lot of examples where the Australians have won matches by putting pressure on umpires who were helpless.This review system is a must where Australia plays.Overrall this will create a bunch of honest cricketers in time to come!

  • TissaPerera on August 14, 2008, 2:11 GMT

    Many writers try to politicise this review system. They try to analyse unsuccessful and successful reviews by one team vs the other. They try to put it as Sri Lanka vs India issue rather than how many decisions have been corrected.

    And Never try to see the comparision between how many errors (decisions) the system has corrected vs how many errors it had created. My advice to all these writers, please look at the system as a whole and see if it had corrected errors or not. Don't try to politicise and put it favours some team and not the other etc etc.

    Give this system a go, Use more reliable Technology if necessary. Fine tune the decisions alone the way. this is the way forward.

  • mcmenon on August 15, 2008, 17:12 GMT

    If the televised game is Cricket, what do we call all those millions of matches played - including first class cricket, which are not televised? Bricket?

    Anil Kumble was given out lbw - at full stretch forward. Whatever the umpire asked to the thirdie - to be given out when there is even a slightest possibility of doubt is ridiculous.

    We play cricket based on what is available at 'real time' - what you see at real time. A batsman has to deal with a 'chuck' - even if superslowmo analysis suggests a bowler is only bending it by 14.5 degrees!

    TV, TV, TV!

  • Lemm on August 14, 2008, 23:13 GMT

    As Virtual Eye CEO I wouldn't normally enter this debate but in the interest of balance I make the following observations. We have always maintained that the technology behind both Hawkeye and VirtualEye has limitations and that those limitations whilst not critical for the entertainment value in televison would need to be addressed if there was ever a move to use it to "assist" umpires. Unlike Hawkeye, who had 3 months to prepare for its measurement test with the MCC, we had just 48 hours prior to the first test. Despite that we measured more accurate than Hawkeye.If we had 3 months to prepare we would have definitely introduced new technologies we have in hand and we would have collaborated closely with the other technologies such as Hot Spot and the slow motion cameras.We believe there is a place for technology - but not at the expense of the umpire. If Cric Info is interested I can expand on this view and comment more specifically on some of the inaccuracies in this article.

  • carromball on August 14, 2008, 20:03 GMT

    Gentleman!!!

    Do you know how much it takes for one to get him self on to international reckoning as a cricketer ..... the skill,commitment and hard work?

    Think about it?

    How many cricketers carriers have come to a screeching halt because of bad umpiring decisions due to human error?

    Technology is developed by man for a better tomorrow, thus it should be embraced,carefully and strategically. If the archaic arm chair critique forces delay of technology infusion to this beautiful game.It will only result in more unjust decisions, and many more errors. Should we wait and see or should we move on?

    The answer lies with the ICC. As one wise person said before me do not politicize this decision.Today India might be in the receiving end of this review system, tomorrow they would be the beneficiary. Its the game and the true skill of a cricketer that would prevail if the right decision is made at all times.

  • Kirk-at-Lords on August 14, 2008, 15:40 GMT

    The best thing about the review system is that it is underway. At last cricket officials are engaging fully with the role and limits of technology in the sport. The technology is not perfect (perhaps a surprise to some technophiles), and at times less accurate than human umpires (just ask Virender Sehwag!). The question will be how to make the best use of both to obtain the greatest number of correct decisions without unduly slowing an already deliberate game (particularly Tests). One of the greatest benefits of the trial in Sri Lanka may be showing the fallibility of HawkEye/VisualEye and their dependence on a proper pitch map being laid down by human groundskeepers. The trial has shown that technology does not simply trump humans. Now the way is clear to adjust the two to work more smoothly in tandem, and accept that marginal decisions will remain precisely that -- marginal. Benefit of the doubt should go to the umpire's original decision in all such cases.

  • AsherCA on August 14, 2008, 14:35 GMT

    ICC have staged the Sydney win for Australia. ICC & their umpires were unwilling supporters to the review system primarily because it takes away their ability to decide results in favour of select teams. The way all borderline decisions in favour of India were reversed but the reverse was not done by Benson in this series shows us ICC's integrity !

    If Sydney was genuine human errors, Benson would be called incompetent.

    However, when he showed a willingness to be inconsistent to err against India he has shown a recklessness to his job after which if ICC permit him to stay, the message I get is -

    ICC umpires have been ordered to step in with human errors to beat India.

    In such a case, BCCI should simply resign its ICC membership & let Dave Richardson and his partners in crime stew in their own brew.

  • ladycricfan on August 14, 2008, 14:15 GMT

    Hawkeye and other technologies will correct obvious errors. Technology will also be useful in "eliminating the doubt" in marginal decisions. When there is doubt after reviewing, the benefit of the doubt still goes to the batsman. Dravid's notout LBW decision was overturned to "out" after review. Samaraweera and Ganguly were given "notout" after review. It works both ways. With technology there will be more CORRECT decisions than pre-tech.

  • sriviswa on August 14, 2008, 13:26 GMT

    Mark Benson was famous for Aus/Ind series being named the Benson and Edges series (along with Bucknor). There was a definite bias on his part here too and I wonder why he was in the panel at all after all that ruckus. No doubt, India lost because it played badly. But, there reviews were not consistently handled and it hurt India more. If an LBW is referred to a third umpire, why can't the third umpire decide on the verdict too. Why waste time in passing info to the onfield umpire who finally makes a wrong call ... and remember each time it was Benson who made the wrong call. There is certainly more to this than that meets the eye. I would prefer to call it a profound anti-India bias which has been building up ever since Steve Waugh's team lost in India. Any takers?

  • VKFan on August 14, 2008, 11:43 GMT

    I have a blog post dealing with exactly this topic at: http://cricket-stalker.blogspot.com/2008/08/tv-referral-system.html

    As I argue there, getting rid of the "benefit of the doubt" is not a good thing. That principle has existed in cricket for a long time, for good reason. The very nature of the game requires it. The batsman has only one chance - one mistake and you're out. The bowler has an essentially unlimited number of chances. Secondly, especially in cases like LBW requiring judgment on the part of the umpire, the "benefit of the doubt" principle ensures that the umpire errs on the side of caution. Imagine what would happen if umpires started giving batsmen LBW even if they weren't sure about the trajectory of the ball. The batsman has to stand somewhere, after all, and the pads come into play quite often in cricket. By using technology to rule on LBWs, we make the game too hard to play. It will require changes in batting technique, and make the game less interesting.

  • MVGLW on August 14, 2008, 11:36 GMT

    when studying the whole set of matches what we saw was that all matches could not carry beyond 4 days play just because 'benefit of the doubt' has been wiped out and the chances batsmen got on this is no more.unless you bat with real cricket tachnique you can not survive.It has wiped out 'bias','so called obvious mistakes'and 'cheating'in game of cricket. It has brought clean game of play.This will be a good answer to Australian cricketers who wants the win by hook or crook! There had been lot of examples where the Australians have won matches by putting pressure on umpires who were helpless.This review system is a must where Australia plays.Overrall this will create a bunch of honest cricketers in time to come!

  • TissaPerera on August 14, 2008, 2:11 GMT

    Many writers try to politicise this review system. They try to analyse unsuccessful and successful reviews by one team vs the other. They try to put it as Sri Lanka vs India issue rather than how many decisions have been corrected.

    And Never try to see the comparision between how many errors (decisions) the system has corrected vs how many errors it had created. My advice to all these writers, please look at the system as a whole and see if it had corrected errors or not. Don't try to politicise and put it favours some team and not the other etc etc.

    Give this system a go, Use more reliable Technology if necessary. Fine tune the decisions alone the way. this is the way forward.

  • TamilIndian on August 13, 2008, 21:46 GMT

    I agree the current review system is too time consuming The whole business of having a off field umpire brings more down time. My suggestion would be to bring the third umpire onto the field - in this day of tech development why cant the technology enabled umpire be on the field? - he has a portable 14" screen with all the extra stuff attached for him to view the camera action right there on the field If the usual umpires are not able to decide they just look at the tech umpire and he says out or not out right there. For all decisions - runouts, caught behinds, lbws etc. This business of talking over phone, red light, green light is too cumbersome.

  • chameekara on August 13, 2008, 21:33 GMT

    Review system inspiers the game in the true sence of the word. Finally what we need is the right decision to be made. Its pity that some are againest the review system. But the funny thing is they were the people who blamed umpiers for their errors over the years.

  • tgevans on August 13, 2008, 20:34 GMT

    The India-Srilanka series certainly proved that technology creates as many problems as it solves. Unlike tennis, the reviews here are disruptive and the outcomes mostly defy common sense. The technology might be good at detecting some things, but the umpire does have the best vantage point for most decisions. Yes, umpires are incompetent, and even dishonest, but this is a problem that we can solve with better training. We really need to keep the game simple and elemental, otherwise we might as well just play video games. This is one genie I'd like to see put back in the bottle.

  • shailo on August 13, 2008, 19:57 GMT

    I think the review system is a bad idea unless they make a few changes to it. In tennis, when a player asks for a review, they refer to the computer, and go with whatever the computer says.

    But in cricket, they don't just go with hawk eye anymore. When there's an lbw referral, they waste a ridiculous amount of time "trying" to figure out where the ball would have gone. This slows the game down terribly. If you're gonna use technology to better the game, use it to its fullest extent.

    So, if the ICC is gonna stick with the referral system, they're gonna have to make a few changes, or the pace of the game is only going to get worse.

    P.S. On a side note, I'm an Indian and I love the Indian cricket team, but I think test cricket should be left only to England and Australia, seeing as how they're the only two countries that can play good test cricket. The rest of the teams just seem to show up on the field and go through the motions simply because they have to

  • Calavai on August 13, 2008, 18:43 GMT

    Cricket is better off with the review system than without it. Adopting the American football way of overturning an umpires decision only if concrete evidence is unearthed by the reviews will remove the inconsistencies involved in using the review system. It presents its own problems of on field umpires' decisions being inconsistent in the first place but at least the way the review system is being deployed will get uniform acceptance.

  • MassiveCollapse on August 13, 2008, 15:49 GMT

    One thing that it struck me since the inclusion of the review system is that both Sri Lanka and India did not seem to appeal as much. I cannot be certain that there was a reduction in appeals, but you can see why there might have been. Since the introduction of the opportunity for the fielding side to review a decision, you can see that the amount of appeals would decrease, certainly in ferocity if not in number. From the Batsman's perspective, if the fielding side appeals but does not ask for a review, then they are just making a lot of fuss about nothing and are not prepared to put their money where their mouth is. I could be very wrong [I once was], but I predict that the profoundest implication of the introduction of the review system is not the correction of some errors of judgement, but instead the reduction in the number and intensity of appeals. If this happens, then it might also have other unpredicted knock-on effects with sledging and the like.

  • David_Doss on August 13, 2008, 15:44 GMT

    This system has more resemblence with the 3rd Umpire concept which was introduced during the early 1990s. So to make matters simple, let the umpire alone call for the review just liek he does for runout to the 3rd Umpire. I'm sure the umpires will refer to the 3rd Umpire, if given the provision to consult for LBWs, bat pads, inside edges, faint nicks etc.

  • Leggie on August 13, 2008, 15:26 GMT

    I was able to catch up with only the highlights of India/SL series. So my judgement may not be very accurate. However, my first impression is that the review system didn't really seem to be a huge success. There were several loose ends (from what I read) and the technology is yet to catch up with the complicated rules of cricket. To start with, the technology can be used for: a. No-Ball. The umpire should stop looking for this! b.Outside the legstump LBW: The rule should be changed to discount any part of the ball pitching outside the legstump, and all that the TV umpire must be asked is if the ball pitched outside the leg stump - Yes/No. (or completely viceversa) c.Outside the off LBW: The only question for the TV umpire must be if the ball hit in line with off-stump - Yes/No.

    What must be completely removed is the "predicted path". I'm not sure if the Hawk Eye technology is good enough for this. I saw an instance where Sehwag was beaten and Hawk Eye showed clipping the off bail

  • vimalan on August 13, 2008, 13:51 GMT

    i certainly oppose this system in its current format. As mentioned by someone here, referral for LBWs can be done only by the batsmen for obvious errors like bat hitting the ball before pad or ball pitching outside the line. otherwise it certainly takes away the beauty of the game, creates unwanted delay and brings more boredom to the already declining test cricket.

  • honeyb on August 13, 2008, 13:47 GMT

    Hi, I think there is one radical change that can be done to make the review system work. In the case of a review "The umpire" has to be given the benifit of the doubt. This would ensure the umpire make his decision and would only be overturned if he has made a blatant blunder. If its marginal on the review go with the on field umpire's decision. This would fix the problem with low cathces as well. These days if a low catch is reffered to the 3rd umpire 99% of the time the replays are inconclusive so the batsmen gets a reprive. But if the 2 umpires make a decision based on what information they have and if the 3rd umpire can't work out for sure if it has bounced the catch should stand, instead of going with the age old "benefit of the doubt goes to the batsman" for all cases.

  • Charindra on August 13, 2008, 12:37 GMT

    The system is good, but the men behind it didn't do such a great job. A decision should be overturned if, and only if, it can be proved conclusively to have been a wrong decision. It needs to be persisted with for the sake of fairness in the game. Those who say that umpiring errors add flavour to the game need to wake up and smell the coffee. I'm Sri Lankan and I have watched over the years how umpires always seem to err against us when we play the big teams, especially Aus and England. Don't say it "evens out in the long run" because it clearly does not! I think Shane Warne would be glad he's not playing now because he loved to intimidate the umpires into deciding in his favour. Those decisions would have got overturned regularly and he would have ended up with maybe 600 odd wickets! So it doesn't always favor the bowlers.

  • GlobalCricketLover on August 13, 2008, 12:08 GMT

    As Arjit said it should be just 1 review per team per innings. Then u wont see stupid appeals where players appeal even when they are 100% sure that they will lose. e.g Kumble's appeal when he was dead plumb!

  • spolsani on August 13, 2008, 11:34 GMT

    Review system is good addition to the game BUT the system should be made in such a way that lbw decisions should not be decided in reviews, the current technology does not support that and it will kill the game, lbw decision can only be overturned if bat & pad is involved or pitched outside leg stump (Meaning LBW decisions can only be challenged by batsman and can only be overturned if bat & pad or pitched outside leg stick), otherwise on-field umpires should give lbw decisions, others like catches etc. should be part of the review system. If the review system is made the way it was used in this series it will kill the interest in Test Cricket, reviews were used more for lbw decisions than any others in this series. Sri Lanka got very lucky. The only thing any Cricket Lover would want is both on-field umpire and Third Umpire should be consistent on all five days, if you see this series some of the decisions were not consistent by third umpire. CONSISTENCY IS KEY IN DECISION MAKING.

  • Devapriya on August 13, 2008, 11:22 GMT

    I think the reviews are here to stay - they remove most blatant mistakes by umpires. Sangakkara may have won SL a test match last year if not removed by a blatant error. The result of India - Australia test series may have been different if Symonds was given not reprieved by the umpire. It will also help bowlers to compete better with batsmen (who seem to get all the help from the authorities) Some countries who get most help from umpiring errors will not be in favour of these reviews. Well, we already know who they are - as they have been expressing their doubts about the system!!

  • nishanth122 on August 13, 2008, 10:55 GMT

    the review system spoils the game. On-field umpires make mistakes just like every other human does. It just adds flavour to the game by proving to us that no man is perfect. There used to be something called benefit of doubt, for the batsman, but now that has all vanished. The review system has removed the true mystery in the game.

  • NBRADEE on August 13, 2008, 10:41 GMT

    Having the review system in place with insufficient / incomplete technology feeding it information is just not right. All the changes in the world would not make it better until we have speedy, highly accurate information for the umpires to utilise when they are unsure, and more than that, the umpires themselves need to be diligently trained to utilise the system itself! This has been my point for ages now, and if it is not done, the review system would fail to add value to the game.

  • lestokes on August 13, 2008, 10:19 GMT

    Anyone who thinks the review system has been successful quite frankly needs to review themselves. Of what i've seen thus far, I don't think it should continue under the current framework. I won't go too far into why, but will say the current review system undermines Umpires responsibility a little too much. I propose that the ICC adopt a similar review system to that of Hockey, when it comes to reviewing possible overturn of decision; however I've adapted it slightly: 1. If the stump umpire can't make a decision e.g. LBW, caught; 2. Confirm or seek assistance from square leg umpire; 3. If both wicket/square leg umpires can't confirm on the decision; 4. Then the umpires refer to the third umpire for final decision; 5. Final decision is made -- OUT or NOT OUT.

    Each innings has three reviews for both teams, also each review should count whether successful or not, and ONLY UMPIRES CAN ASK FOR A REVIEW. Both Players including captains, bowlers, batter CANNOT ASK FOR A REVIEW.

  • VajiraR on August 13, 2008, 9:33 GMT

    Welcome the review system! Great thinking. It minimises the mistakes done by on field umpires. There are few grey areas need to be looked at, but overall it helps to make the correct decision. Sri Lanka over the years have suffered a lot due to inconsistant umpiring. Sanath Jayasuriya's average could have been much better if this system was in place earlier. For example, whenever Venkat was the umpire we were pretty sure that Sanath will be given out, LBW no sooner the ball hits his pad. Australian umpires are smarter than the Indian and Pakistani umpires and they give only couple of decisions in favour of their best batsmen or in favour of their bowlers against the top 2 batmen of the opposite side, but will change the course of the match.

  • Ellis on August 13, 2008, 8:58 GMT

    The review system was a success and should be confirmed. Some changes in process are necessary as indicated by Sambit. The Sri Lankans were far more intelligent in the use of the system than were the Indians. That is reflected in the success rates relating to referrals. One must also remember that Benson and Doctrove are two of the least competent umpires on the " elite" panel. Referrals made relative to their decisions are far more likely to be successful than those relating to Taufel, for example. To have eleven decisions overturned in a three match series is astoundingly high. The technology available is as good as it can be at this time. To expect the all dancing, all singing perfect technology is to wait forever. There is no such thing. Even the space shuttle can be technologically improved. We need to understand the limitations of the available technology and work within those constraints. Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water!

  • rtom on August 13, 2008, 8:54 GMT

    This system definitely throws up more questions that answers. This also takes out the beauty of the game. It comes more technical that a sport. Mistakes does happen to every umpire, but one has to compromise. I watched the test series and it looked like a computer game !! :). I hope ICC will take out this referral system and keep the beauty of the game alive...

  • surahman on August 13, 2008, 8:44 GMT

    I think the umpires on the field should be able to ask the third umpire to clarify if they have any doubts, like pitched outside leg, pad before bat etc. etc. and then make the final decision. These clarification should be in addition to the reviews given to the teams. The review system will help junior bowlers as previously senior bowlers were getting more decisions in their favor then the junior bowlers. I have seen many a times different decisions for a flipper with similar trajectories from kumble, warne and kaneria. And third umpire should also be a neutral umpire.

  • Sudzz on August 13, 2008, 8:41 GMT

    I think its time to replace human umpires with machines on field. Like a drive through burger place, lets have a speaker to convey appeals and lets also take 15 mins per decision and ensure that no test match ever gets completed.

    This whole experiment borders on the lunatic and will severely undermine the authority of the person on the ground.

  • Arijit on August 13, 2008, 8:41 GMT

    I have a proposal. Under the current system, it is obvious that when asking for a review, on most occassions the players themselves are 'not sure',i.e., they are speculating. It's like, "What the heck, we have 3 reviews, let's give it a shot". This explains the high number of reviews for lbw decisions. However, if the review system is modified slightly, it may work out fine. Firstly, instead of 3, only 1 review should be given per side per innings. Then the player will ask for a review only if he is 100% sure (like from a batsman's point of view an inside edge for an lbw or no edge for caught decisions). Secondly, if it so happens that a review is asked for and the replays are inconclusive, then the umpires initial decision should stand, but at the same time the review should not be counted. This will ensure that a team does not unfairly lose their only review because of inconclusive evidence. This way it may serve the review's main purpose - to eliminate blatant errors. What say?

  • tusharkardile on August 13, 2008, 7:57 GMT

    Reviews - YES; Technology - NO. Why cannot 3rd (TV) ump just look at slow mo/ super slo mo replays and give inputs to the field umpire (like - 'you missed the edge mate', or 'yes, that really pitched in line', or 'Im not sure if he grassed it... you use your common sense'). This will keep the original flavour of the game, and the game wont become a slave of technology; and also will eliminate stupid mistakes that occur due to over-reliance on technology. And IT WILL JUST STOP OBVIOUS ERRORS FROM HAPPENING. Thats what we really want, dont we?

  • shrnk on August 13, 2008, 7:45 GMT

    Towards consistency, record all decisions, if a later review is the same as previous review as determined by technical parameters (percentage within line, percentage outside legstump, etc), then go by previous decision, dont allow an individual decision.

  • GlobalCricketLover on August 13, 2008, 7:28 GMT

    I do agree with don69 on the poor calls for review by Kumble. And I think it's a great idea to add up the time to the over count so the captains don't make a mockery of the system. And yes it would help if both the teams take an oath that they will not appeal unless they are 99% sure that the original decision was a blatant mistake.

  • GlobalCricketLover on August 13, 2008, 7:25 GMT

    I think they 'must' try this review system at champions trophy for one simple reason - an opportunity to get it tested by all the teams rather than just 2 teams.

    Currently the umpire is supposed to make a decision even if he is having a doubt in his mind. Instead of him making the decision and being challenged by players, I feel it would be better if the on-field umpires are given handheld gadgets (mini monitors) that provide the same info as is available today it will help the umpires (when in doubt as to whether the ball pitched outside the line etc) to refer to the additional info and then make one final decision which will stand unchallenged. It will also address the concern of reducing the umpires significance on the game. It will also cut down on the time wasted b/w onfield and third umpire during reviews.

  • Ajay42 on August 13, 2008, 6:33 GMT

    I think rnarayan has said it all.Hawk or Virtual Eye are just opinions and look completely off the mark in several cases. The only questions to the 3rd umpire should be about no balls, inside edges or balls pitching outside the leg stump.Also, tomorrow you might have someone from the dressing room watching the replay and then signalling to the captain to go for a review.

  • rnarayan on August 13, 2008, 5:37 GMT

    Overall, I think the system is a success, as reviews resulted in 25% of the decisions concerned being reversed.It is conceivable that the results would have been different if, say, Simon Tauffel rather than Mark Benson had been standing. But some fine tuning is necessary:Except to a lawyer, (or someone dealing in 1-2 mms), "half the ball" cannot land in line with the stumps. What we see on the graghic is the "shadow" of the ball.Being a sphere, supposedly, the point where it hit the pich can be gauged by drawing a line through the middle of the "shadow". With regard to LBWs, perhaps the 3rd Ump should merely report, 1)did the ball pitch outside leg? 2)Did it strike in line? 3) Did it strike the bat before the pad?4) Any other exceptional issues of relevance (such as a 3rd fielder being backward of square on leg, which the field umpires missed. The rest is upto the field umpire to judge.It is essential, of course that the graphic is reliable, which it seems was not always the case.

  • don69 on August 13, 2008, 5:12 GMT

    cont... for slow over rates. I certainly felt some of Kumble's appeals were not made with any real expectation of an overturn. I do think that having the on-field umpire making the final call is the right way to go. This way it looks far less then an appeal, and more of a review of his decision based on new information. We don't actually know what the TV umpire tells him, and this is good. I do feel one of the calls made by the umpire (where he went to the TV umpire for "consultation" on his own) should be encouraged. Umpires should have belief in their calls, but even in the past, ans umpire consulted with his on-field partner, and if the umpire is really unsure there is no reason why he shouldn't consult with his off-field partner as well. That's the way it should be - all 3 umpires working in partnership to produce the best umpiring possible for the game.

  • don69 on August 13, 2008, 5:06 GMT

    Some further observations: Kumble in particular (although some of his batsmen are just as guilty) used his appeals poorly. It was clearly evident that at some points the appeals were used merely because India had them, and not out of a sense or a real error in umpiring. However, overall SL had appealed more often, and certainly in cases were there were real questions asked. Certainly I agree that having Mendes and Murali posing so many questions had an effect on the number of appeals. Warne would have loved this appeal system as he was always sure umpires denied him dozens of wickets for possible LBW decisions. In the case of some of India's appeals I feel the match referee should make it clear to the captains that unfair use of the appeals (as a delaying tactic, or in cases were the original call was obviously right) may count against the in the over count. Each appeal can take as much as 5 minutes of game time (around 1-1.5 overs). As we know a captain can be penalized cont...

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  • don69 on August 13, 2008, 5:06 GMT

    Some further observations: Kumble in particular (although some of his batsmen are just as guilty) used his appeals poorly. It was clearly evident that at some points the appeals were used merely because India had them, and not out of a sense or a real error in umpiring. However, overall SL had appealed more often, and certainly in cases were there were real questions asked. Certainly I agree that having Mendes and Murali posing so many questions had an effect on the number of appeals. Warne would have loved this appeal system as he was always sure umpires denied him dozens of wickets for possible LBW decisions. In the case of some of India's appeals I feel the match referee should make it clear to the captains that unfair use of the appeals (as a delaying tactic, or in cases were the original call was obviously right) may count against the in the over count. Each appeal can take as much as 5 minutes of game time (around 1-1.5 overs). As we know a captain can be penalized cont...

  • don69 on August 13, 2008, 5:12 GMT

    cont... for slow over rates. I certainly felt some of Kumble's appeals were not made with any real expectation of an overturn. I do think that having the on-field umpire making the final call is the right way to go. This way it looks far less then an appeal, and more of a review of his decision based on new information. We don't actually know what the TV umpire tells him, and this is good. I do feel one of the calls made by the umpire (where he went to the TV umpire for "consultation" on his own) should be encouraged. Umpires should have belief in their calls, but even in the past, ans umpire consulted with his on-field partner, and if the umpire is really unsure there is no reason why he shouldn't consult with his off-field partner as well. That's the way it should be - all 3 umpires working in partnership to produce the best umpiring possible for the game.

  • rnarayan on August 13, 2008, 5:37 GMT

    Overall, I think the system is a success, as reviews resulted in 25% of the decisions concerned being reversed.It is conceivable that the results would have been different if, say, Simon Tauffel rather than Mark Benson had been standing. But some fine tuning is necessary:Except to a lawyer, (or someone dealing in 1-2 mms), "half the ball" cannot land in line with the stumps. What we see on the graghic is the "shadow" of the ball.Being a sphere, supposedly, the point where it hit the pich can be gauged by drawing a line through the middle of the "shadow". With regard to LBWs, perhaps the 3rd Ump should merely report, 1)did the ball pitch outside leg? 2)Did it strike in line? 3) Did it strike the bat before the pad?4) Any other exceptional issues of relevance (such as a 3rd fielder being backward of square on leg, which the field umpires missed. The rest is upto the field umpire to judge.It is essential, of course that the graphic is reliable, which it seems was not always the case.

  • Ajay42 on August 13, 2008, 6:33 GMT

    I think rnarayan has said it all.Hawk or Virtual Eye are just opinions and look completely off the mark in several cases. The only questions to the 3rd umpire should be about no balls, inside edges or balls pitching outside the leg stump.Also, tomorrow you might have someone from the dressing room watching the replay and then signalling to the captain to go for a review.

  • GlobalCricketLover on August 13, 2008, 7:25 GMT

    I think they 'must' try this review system at champions trophy for one simple reason - an opportunity to get it tested by all the teams rather than just 2 teams.

    Currently the umpire is supposed to make a decision even if he is having a doubt in his mind. Instead of him making the decision and being challenged by players, I feel it would be better if the on-field umpires are given handheld gadgets (mini monitors) that provide the same info as is available today it will help the umpires (when in doubt as to whether the ball pitched outside the line etc) to refer to the additional info and then make one final decision which will stand unchallenged. It will also address the concern of reducing the umpires significance on the game. It will also cut down on the time wasted b/w onfield and third umpire during reviews.

  • GlobalCricketLover on August 13, 2008, 7:28 GMT

    I do agree with don69 on the poor calls for review by Kumble. And I think it's a great idea to add up the time to the over count so the captains don't make a mockery of the system. And yes it would help if both the teams take an oath that they will not appeal unless they are 99% sure that the original decision was a blatant mistake.

  • shrnk on August 13, 2008, 7:45 GMT

    Towards consistency, record all decisions, if a later review is the same as previous review as determined by technical parameters (percentage within line, percentage outside legstump, etc), then go by previous decision, dont allow an individual decision.

  • tusharkardile on August 13, 2008, 7:57 GMT

    Reviews - YES; Technology - NO. Why cannot 3rd (TV) ump just look at slow mo/ super slo mo replays and give inputs to the field umpire (like - 'you missed the edge mate', or 'yes, that really pitched in line', or 'Im not sure if he grassed it... you use your common sense'). This will keep the original flavour of the game, and the game wont become a slave of technology; and also will eliminate stupid mistakes that occur due to over-reliance on technology. And IT WILL JUST STOP OBVIOUS ERRORS FROM HAPPENING. Thats what we really want, dont we?

  • Arijit on August 13, 2008, 8:41 GMT

    I have a proposal. Under the current system, it is obvious that when asking for a review, on most occassions the players themselves are 'not sure',i.e., they are speculating. It's like, "What the heck, we have 3 reviews, let's give it a shot". This explains the high number of reviews for lbw decisions. However, if the review system is modified slightly, it may work out fine. Firstly, instead of 3, only 1 review should be given per side per innings. Then the player will ask for a review only if he is 100% sure (like from a batsman's point of view an inside edge for an lbw or no edge for caught decisions). Secondly, if it so happens that a review is asked for and the replays are inconclusive, then the umpires initial decision should stand, but at the same time the review should not be counted. This will ensure that a team does not unfairly lose their only review because of inconclusive evidence. This way it may serve the review's main purpose - to eliminate blatant errors. What say?

  • Sudzz on August 13, 2008, 8:41 GMT

    I think its time to replace human umpires with machines on field. Like a drive through burger place, lets have a speaker to convey appeals and lets also take 15 mins per decision and ensure that no test match ever gets completed.

    This whole experiment borders on the lunatic and will severely undermine the authority of the person on the ground.