Which referral system is better? February 13, 2009

ICC or Stanford?

Is the current referral system appropriate? Or is the Stanford method, where the onus is on the third umpire to verify decisions, a better alternative?

Delays caused by referrals could probably be exacerbated under the Stanford system © Getty Images

Sachin Tendulkar
India batsman
I feel there is still an element of uncertainty there. I still prefer the Hot Spot system, which identifies if there has been any contact between bat and ball or not. With respect to lbw decisions, this [referrals] is definitely not convincing enough. Obviously Hawk-Eye sometimes gives you the 22-yards view, whereas the new referrals system doesn't show you whether the ball is going to hit the stumps or not. It is a little confusing. I am not happy with it.

Dickie Bird
former umpire
I would like the decision-making left to the on-field umpires, just like it was in my era when we made the decisions. I would only use the third umpire just for the close run-outs, nothing else. The camera is not always right and this has been proved many, many, many times. Look at the referrals in the last Test between West Indies and England recently - they gave them out when they were in and in when they were out. If the umpire is respected by the players then they will have no problems, and so the umpire on the field needs to be strong. Also, it takes ages when you send a referral to the third umpire. People pay a lot of money to watch Test match cricket and this is not a proper way to treat them.

Javagal Srinath
former India fast bowler and ICC match referee
I completely agree with the reduced number of referrals. That is good. During the series between New Zealand and West Indies last year, where I was the match referee, players just used referrals because they was available to them. With two referrals, the captains will be very judicious. As for the Stanford system I am not sure if the on-field umpires will take the initiative at times to refer the decision. It is good to give the players a chance to challenge - that way the honesty of an individual can come to the fore.

Michael Holding
former West Indies fast bowler
I think you'll find that people who understand the [current] system will find no problems with it. It was intended to get rid of the obvious mistakes that replays show to be clearly wrong, but it's obvious that because it's new, some players, and even umpires, don't quite understand it. It was not formulated to try and change 50/50 decisions. If used properly, it's the best system for utilising the available technology.

An ICC spokesperson
The whole point of a trial is exactly that - to trial something. The approach used during the Stanford Super Series has been considered in the past, but several factors make it appear inferior to the current decision review system. Some of them are:
1) It might take longer than the current method.
2) It could be impractical. The third umpire would have to watch at least one replay - and there's no guarantee that will be conclusive - before indicating he felt the decision should be changed, by which time the batsman might already be halfway to the pavilion.
3) It could actually provoke dissent if players stood their ground after being given out - or bowlers stand mid-pitch after an appeal is turned down - waiting for the TV umpire to start watching replays.
4) It would diminish the authority of the on-field umpires more than the current trial, as it'd be the TV umpire who'd have the final say, not the on-field officials as now. It could see the on-field officials relegated to ball counters and clothes horses. That was what happened in the Johnnie Walker Super Series in 2005, you may recall: umpires had the power to refer to the TV official and ended up referring virtually everything.

Interviews by Nagraj Gollapudi