Tony Cozier
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Veteran writer and commentator on Caribbean cricket
Trinidad & Tobago Express

West Indies in Australia 2009-10

Umpire review system not working

There have been too many contradictions between what the UDRS was implemented for and what it often achieves;more will inevitably follow

Tony Cozier

December 6, 2009

Comments: 91 | Text size: A | A

Shivnarine Chanderpaul asks for a review of his lbw, Australia v West Indies, 1st Test, Brisbane, 2nd day, November 27, 2009
Shivnarine Chanderpaul asks for a review © Getty Images

It seemed a good idea at the time but, like the Federation, daylight savings time and the West Indies Cricket Board website, Test cricket's Umpire Decision Review System - the UDRS, in the modern way of text-speak - simply isn't working in practice.

According to Dave Richardson, the former South African wicketkeeper, now the ICC's cricket operations manager, "the first priority of the system is to eliminate obvious mistakes". For predictable reasons, there have been a number of instances where the exact opposite has been the case. More will inevitably follow.

The latest was on the first day of the second Test between Australia and West Indies in Adelaide on Friday when Asad Rauf, the third umpire tucked away in his special room 100 yards away, advised Mark Benson to change his considered not-out decision on a wicketkeeper's catch against Shivnarine Chanderpaul on the flimsy evidence provided on his television screen.

It was Rauf's second such review of a Benson call on an Australian appeal against Chanderpaul, then in his habitual mode of digging West Indies out of a hole. The first found no cause for the umpire in the middle to alter the same decision, also for an edge to the keeper. In both cases the evidence was uncertain and his ruling should have remained.

According to the ICC guidelines, if the TV umpire cannot decide on a review "with a high degree of confidence", he should report to his standing colleague that the evidence is inconclusive. As such, the original judgement stands. In each case, there seemed no way that Rauf could have come to his conclusion "with a high degree of confidence". He reported as much the first time and Chanderpaul stayed. Not so the second time.

The ICC states that the third umpire "should not give answers conveying likelihoods or probabilities".

Rauf was quoted in Australian newspapers as stating, as he would, that he saw "a clear edge" and that he was "sure" Chanderpaul had hit the ball. "Clear" and "sure" were not words used by those passing judgement from the press and television boxes - or even from a lounge chair in the middle of the night on the other side of the world.

These decisions were on edged catches. Generally, the official in front of the TV gets his verdict right on lbws, as Rauf did on Friday when Dwayne Bravo contested Benson's too-high lbw verdict against him. But not always.

On the third day of the Kensington Oval Test between West Indies and England last May, Daryl Harper seemed so confused by the assembled mass of technology before him - Hot Spot, slow-motion replays, stump microphone sound, pitch mat, ball-tracking - that he had a hat-trick of questionable lbw decisions. The reasons for such errors are clear.

The first is that television replays, on which the UDRS is based, are two-dimensional, not three. There is no way that thin snicks (as both of Chanderpaul's on Friday) and ground-level catches can be detected with any certainty. Indeed, Cricket Australia has, for some time, excluded the latter category from its reviews in domestic cricket. Nor can Hawk Eye be entirely trusted to steer the umpire along the right path to an lbw verdict. Only line decisions, for stumpings and run outs, that prompted the original use of technology, can be accurately determined from replays.

The second cause is that umpires are not versed in properly interpreting what they see on their screens. They are flawless on the laws, can recite them in their sleep, and are accustomed making their split-second decisions on the field based on their knowledge and experience. But they are generally clueless about frames per second and other complicated technical data. They need an expert in such matters by their side to guide them.

The UDRS was introduced in 2005 during the ICC's so-called Super Series in Australia. It had the support of nine of the organisation's ten full members, England demurring on the grounds that it allowed players to question the umpire's decision which went against a basic tenet of the game.

The alternative, as used in that other so-called Super Series, of the Stanford variety, was to give the standing umpires alone the option of checking any doubts they have over a decision through replays.

In spite of its flaws, it took some time to be widely accepted. Even now some boards seem to be averring although the ICC is strongly promoting the UDRS use by the players. Richardson noted that, in the 11 Tests prior to the present series in Australia and New Zealand, correct decisions improved by six per cent. He also claimed that the system was ensuring that players more readily observed the spirit of the game.

"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," he told Cricinfo during the first Test between Australia and West Indies. "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."

He might want to have a rethink after the first five days of the series in Australia. By his theory, someone wasn't playing within the spirit of the game in Adelaide - either wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, captain Ricky Ponting and the Australians in appealing against the first not-out decision that was upheld by Rauf or Chanderpaul for standing his ground on the second when Rauf ruled he hit it.

If the TV evidence was inconclusive on whether Chanderpaul snicked the ball or not, it clearly revealed Ponting's annoyance when Benson's first rejection of their appeal was confirmed by Rauf. Ponting approached Benson to explain the decision and did the same when the fourth umpire, Bruce Oxenford, came out on to the field at the drinks break. According to Ponting, "the new system was meant to stop this sort of thing happening but it didn't".

West Indies captain Chris Gayle has made his opposition to the UDRS clear from the start. It was a view initially shared by Ponting although he seems to have since come around to accepting it.

Here is what he said after the 2005 trial in the Super Series: "I have never been a big fan of the technology. I'll always say that, just for the simple fact that the technology that has been used and experimented with over the last few years hasn't been accurate enough anyway to give you conclusive evidence on dismissals.

"It's just part of the game as far as I am concerned," he added. "You take the good with the bad, that's what the game is all about. The human element in the game is vital to cricket."

Such a sentiment hasn't changed, even if the ICC is unlikely to backtrack on UDRS.

Tony Cozier has written about and commentated on cricket in the Caribbean for nearly 50 years

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Posted by RohanMarkJay on (December 8, 2009, 23:03 GMT)

I agree with Chris Gayle and Tony Cosier and Umpire Dickie Bird.Technology use while great for TV coverage and enhancing the viewing experience of the Cricket fan shouldn't be used to aid on field umpiring decisions.The time has come to take out ALL technology related umpiring decisions out of cricket and return all power to the two onfield umpires like it was in the old days.One of the charms of cricket or sport for that matter is that it is played by human beings played with all their strengths and weaknesses and yes all those human mistakes, add to the theatre and charm of cricket.Take that away you take an essential element that makes sport especially cricket enjoyable and educational. Yes that element as ChrisGayle says is the human element. Taking the GOOD with the BAD.The on field umpires decision should be final while a game is in progress and that should be the end of the matter.Human mistakes wether in life or cricket helps grow, it should be the same for umpires and players.

Posted by aaditya98june on (December 8, 2009, 16:29 GMT)

I agree with Tony that only line decisions, for stumpings and run outs, that prompted the original use of technology, can be accurately determined from replays. Hnece the reviews should be limited to these cases.

Posted by delboy on (December 8, 2009, 15:41 GMT)

Apologies of course I meant Asad Rauf. On reflection we don't really need umpires just back to a time when cricket was the sport of GENTLEMEN, snick it and walk; touch the boundary ropes, indicate thus, drop a catch don't do a Bollinger.

Posted by delboy on (December 8, 2009, 15:34 GMT)

Forget about the reviews: Traditionally test matches are umpired by neutrals so why when Mr Benson could no longer stand the heat; did we have an australian as the third umpire? With Aleem Dar already suffering withh is back he should have been the third umpire with the substitute umpire allowed on the field operating from square leg. While the other standing umpire operating at both bowling ends.

Posted by Clyde on (December 8, 2009, 14:58 GMT)

I don't believe umpires should be allowed to refer to technology until after the session (if they think this may help their performance in the long term). Hearing, seeing, judgment, coolness etc. are part of what is cultivated in cricket. A snick is what can be perceived 22 yards away, and what the wicketkeeper, or even the batsman, thinks is irrelevant, except insofar as, again, it may later help umpiring standards. If a fielder wants to say he grassed a catch or touched the rope, or a batsman wants to say he hit the ball, that is called spirit, another thing technology cannot help. Technology is of no use except as a somewhat useful critic. In fact it is of no interest to me unless it is preceded by human judgment that has a consequence.

Posted by CricketisMyPassion on (December 8, 2009, 11:28 GMT)

I am perplexed by the mixed signals cricket officials players commentators and fans send out when teh question of using technology in making umpiring decisions. On the one hand they all rave and rant about bad decisions and then do a fosbury flop and say that the human element is part of cricket. Can we shed hypocrisy and make our stand clear and consistent?

Posted by TrevorM on (December 8, 2009, 10:16 GMT)

Here's a couple of ideas.

ONE, which I prefer, is to remove both team's right of referral, but allow the 3rd umpire to intervene if he sees a glaring error has been made (lbw off edge of bat, etc.)

SECOND would be to make teams think longer and harder about frivolous referrals by putting say a 10 run penalty on unsuccessful referrals.

... OK, no I don't like that second option either, but if we are to retain the referral system we will have to do something about frivolous referrals slowing down the game.

There is no incentive to be an umpire these days. All you get to do is hold the bowlers cap and count up to 6 - no need to make any decisions because if you do you will get referred anyway. I suppose it's easy money, but that's not what umpiring is about. It is ridiculous that so many of them refer to TV replay for runouts that are out by a metre!

I'd much rather see a return to the old principle - right or wrong, the umpire is always right! And live with it!

Posted by Browndog1968 on (December 8, 2009, 3:08 GMT)

I don't believe there is anything wrong with using the technology, however I do believe there is an error with the way it is instigated. I don't believe the "Two Referrals per team" rule is entirely fair. The West Indies first innings in Brisbane showed these can be used up very early and then for the rest of their innings they were without the use of technology.

I believe the Umpire should be the one who is responsible for ordering the referral. If he has any doubt he can order a review. Granted this will cause more referrals and hence more time but there is a certain kind of anticipation when a decision is referred which builds up the crowd.

Posted by rohanbala on (December 8, 2009, 1:29 GMT)

Any new system introduced is likely to bring up debates and it is the Administrators of the game who have to look into all the aspects to set right deficiencies. Once this is done, it will be just a matter of time before everyone concerned will get used to the system and continue with the game. ICC should seek an explanation from Umpire Mark Benson about his sudden withdrawal in the midst of a Test match. Whether he likes it or not, the concerned umpire should have officiated the full duration of the test match and then taken a decision (unless ofcourse he is really sick as to be unable to stand for five days). Anyone who is sick would seek medical treatment at the place he/she has fallen sick before embarking on a journey and in this case, ICC should take note of what happened in the case of Mark Benson. ICC should also ensure that all test playing nations should implement the UDRS and no choice should be given to any nation in this regard.

Posted by Philip_Gnana on (December 7, 2009, 23:17 GMT)

Umpires word was law. Umpires were not right all the time. We live in a modern world where we have had slow motion replays now going back more than 25 years. Yet we as viewers are struggling to get to grips with the umpires and their poor decision making. Poor decisions were made through the life of cricket. That does not warrant continuation of accepting the onfied umpires decisions. Things have changed. There is going to be teething problems. Umpires to understand this more than anyone as they are the ones who are making the decisions. It may be an off-field umpire but it still remains with them. Run outs. No one is arguing about the replay system are they? Hey lets give this system a run. Umpires are already under pressure. The need to accept that this systems is there to help them and cricket. Cricket has to be fair otherwise it is not cricket. Pundits will have their own views. Viewers need have input too. Philip Gnana, New Malden, Surrey

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 7, 2009, 20:18 GMT)

There are section of people who says "The umpire is always right". After Bucknor episode , i do not think so. What we need is more correct decision and avoid bigger mistakes.

Review system is best way forward. Can we improve it ?. Yes by clearly simplifying what makes to over rule. My suggestion.

1. Third umpire do not over rule field umpires but suggest what happened in the play to field umpires, In some cases , field umpires can view live feed in his pocket iphone player or some kind of small player which rotates multiple angles. I do not even think we need third umpire. All we need is field umpire has to look at pocket video player when appealed.

2. Field umpire can over rule his own decision only if he see overwhelming evidence and all his decision should be reported to ICC for review. There are always human mistake still happens even with technology help. we only want to minimize mistakes. Nothing is perfect.


Posted by vakkaraju on (December 7, 2009, 17:39 GMT)

The review system is also only as good as the umpires. The guidelines should be clear. The decision on the field should not be overturned unless the evidence is clear. The benefit of doubt going to the batsman. There are enough instances of the team appealing the longest and loudest like the Australians yesterday morning try to influence the umpire. The actions of Ponting after he lost the appeal were really appalling. The reviews are really useful in leveling the playing field. The system does need some fine tuning and time for everybody involved to understand and implement it.

Posted by Nipun on (December 7, 2009, 16:08 GMT)

There are some simple,minor problems in this review system.The system will work fine once those adjustments are made,for example,LBWs should be ruled out if less than 50% of the ball is hitting the bails or the stumps.The problem is with the people operating.Apart from Simon Taufel,& to some extent,Aleem Dar,the rest of the umpires need to undergo a rigorous optical & psychological(they get confused too often when there is very little reason to get confused,e.g.the dismissal of Chanderpaul should have stood,but Rauf got confused for reasons maybe even he doesn't know!)tests.

Posted by bishpera on (December 7, 2009, 14:35 GMT)

I agree with Alexk400 quote "f there is a mistake in Technology , you can fix it. If there is a problem with umpire , it can't be fixed easily" unquote. We are in the age of mobile TV. Why cant the on field umpires have one?. Then the two umpires in the middle can view it and make a decision. Obviously, ICC and the Cricket Boards these days have enough money. The cost saving on having a neutral umpire can be invested towards this. Since careers, records are at stake, UDRS is required. Change has resistance. As in a PLC of any product you have early adopters and laggards.

Posted by nawwabsahab on (December 7, 2009, 13:45 GMT)

it definately working man...what all that people want?..going back to stone age!... we should use technology handsomely through the on field umpies...not by spoiling them...through technology we can reduce the chances of error and man, we have been waiting for such thing for ages and finally it has just arrived. give it some time to evolve and then build over it. after all the game is big, not the egos of players and umpires....

Posted by andrew-schulz on (December 7, 2009, 13:05 GMT)

The issue is the grey area. There is a clear line between what is out according to the rules of the game and what is not. There is no clear line between what is a 'howler' and what is not. A lot more thought needs to be put in, and a lot of people offering racist comments on this page need to have a good hard look at themselves.

Posted by Oldmanmartin on (December 7, 2009, 12:20 GMT)

No hotspot or snicko indication that the ball had touched the bat. The only indication was that the ball deviated after hitting (or passing) the bat. That's not definitive, balls often deviate substantially well after pitching. Rauf didn't have the compelling evidence required under the review rules and was therefore wrong to overrule Benson.

Posted by robheinen on (December 7, 2009, 11:31 GMT)

The umpire is always right. This is the golden rule taught to all children learning to play a sport. The reason for teaching this rule is to make children - and adults after they've grown out of their childhood - that there is a certain amount of unfairness in the world and that they should learn to handle it. Nowadays opportunism is taking over everything. On the surface everything should be fair and underneath it everyone tries his utmost to make his - or her - own interest look like fairness. As we now see with the udrs is, what I predicted some time ago, the problem of decision making has only shifted. The quality of the decisions is the same, which is not surprising, since it is still a human being making the decisions and human beings have the habit of making mistakes.

Posted by bestbuddy on (December 7, 2009, 9:53 GMT)

The monster wasn't created by the administrators, or the tv networks, it was created by professionalism. If cricketers want to be paid to play sport, then it requires spectators, be it in the stadium, or watching from home on television. That is what generates their salaries, nothing else! Fan's are increasingly unhappy with the seemingly poor standard of officiating, which was firstly shown up by television replays, and latterly by technology like hawkeye and hot spot. We (the fans) want something to be done, as we don't want to feel cheated out of a win because an u mpire missed (to us) an obvious nick, or gave an lbw that pitched outside leg - games can and do turn on these sort of decisions. Players and Umpires need to accept that if they want to carry on being paid to play this sport then it has to adapt to the wishes of the fans - and if they don't like that well then they can go play another sport!

Posted by EssEss on (December 7, 2009, 9:49 GMT)

We are just splitting hairs when discussing UDRS. Bottomline is that, unless Players and Umpires start becoming honest about nicks, catches, LBWs etc. UDRS or any such system this will go nowhere. Technology cannot replace honesty. Also no system can be foolproof. Why not just accept umpiring erros as part of this beautiful game of uncertainities and get on with is. But alas, with so much involved in the game now, guess asking for someone to be plain honest and accept erros is probably asking for the moon! Money rules the world of sports!!

Posted by Vroooom on (December 7, 2009, 9:40 GMT)

@sifter 132, the problem with Hawkeye is it relies on evidence provided upto the point of impact and sometimes there are not enough frames from the point the ball bounces to the point of impact for it to make an accurate decision. As an extreme example, if Murali were to bowl a yorker length delivery which hit the batsman directly on the boot, Hawkeye would not be able to predict whether it was an offspinner or a doosra and which way the ball would go. Similar issues come up when a ball hits a crack or doesnt.

Posted by Vroooom on (December 7, 2009, 9:26 GMT)

I also find the argument apalling that mistakes will be made we should stick with the on-field umpires. The problem with that approach is that technology makes the mistakes readily apparent to millions of viewers and even the players in the change room. The umpires seem the only ones to not have the benefit of technology. So UDRS is actually empowering umpires.

Yes...there will always be marginal decisions and not everybody will be happy but this is about getting the accuracy from 95% to 99.5%. The vast majority of cricket fans will feel the game is better because of UDRS(as can be seen in the number of pro-UDRS comments here) and at the end of the day, more than the players, ex players, umpires and commentators I think they are the voices that matter.

Posted by TrevorM on (December 7, 2009, 9:10 GMT)

Most of the comments on this blog are trash because they are only whinging about decisions that went against their team. As for those commenters who accuse certain umpires of bias, all I can say is "open you other eye and get a life"!

Overall, I agree we would be better off without the referral system. Up until it was introduced a couple of years ago, it was accepted that you took the good with the bad on umpiring decisions - if you played any length of time (1961-94 in my case), you learned to accept being given out occasionally caught behind when you "knew" you didn't hit the ball, or lbw when you were sure it was going down leg. You also sometimes got away with the faint edge given not out, or the lbw you were prepared to walk on as being plumb but got given not out. Accepting the umpires decision, good or bad, was part of the game.

A referral system that allows reversal of BLATANT errors does however have a lot going for it. Just got to get the system fine tuned.

Posted by David_Doss on (December 7, 2009, 9:08 GMT)

Why not give the features available in UDRS to the 3rd Umpire? Instead of the players appealing, the on-Field umpires can "consult" 3rd Umpire and make the decisions. If you give it to the players, things can go worse. In retrospect, 3rd Umpire concept was first given to players and it had its ramifications. The ICC, then removed it and gave it to the umpires and it has been working fine for so long. Why not just have UDRS as the Next-Gen 3rd Umpire and leave it in the hands on the on-field umpires.

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 7, 2009, 7:48 GMT)

If there is a mistake in Technology , you can fix it. If there is a problem with umpire , it can't be fixed easily. Example. Bucknor.

I am all for UDRS. It takes time for third umpire and captains to understand when to appeal.

Anything new will always is a challenge to make people to change.

For example everyone shouting that it take away power for onfield umpire. Screw that. What we want is more correct decision. This review system allow it to get more correct. Yes there could be some bad decision like asad rauf howler. Either he do not understand the system or he do not like benson and try to override his decision. Something fishy there.

There was no overwhelming evidence , still asad rauf override it , so something going on between asad rauf and benson.

Posted by Sherz on (December 7, 2009, 7:00 GMT)

In Pakistan vs New Zealand series i have seen this system worked beautifully. It just goes on to show how appropriately its been used by these two teams apart from Pakistan miss-using it in the first inning of the first test. I think this system is great and if used properly by teams is great. People like tony cozier just needs to stop pms-ing.

Posted by ABP235 on (December 7, 2009, 6:40 GMT)

ICC does not know what it is doing. Even after more than a year of testing the Referral System, it is not using this system for all matches consistently. For example, this system has not been used in the recent India - SL test series, whereas it has been used in two other places. It was clearly evident that there was another joker of an umpire, Nigel Llong who gave two appalling decisions against Dilshan plus more. The presence of the system would have corrected that and the result would not have been the same as it is now, and as an Indian I am saying this, India would not have climbed to the top of test rankings. Why ICC is doing this? It should be renamed, Inconsistent Cricket Council.

Posted by MMHS on (December 7, 2009, 4:50 GMT)

Sorry to prolong, but if in judiciary trials, instead of relying only on testimonies touching the Bible, The Quran or The Geeta, they R using forensic tests, DNA Tests & video evidences to protect the innocent. Technology is used to reach near accurate verdict & minimize obvious errors. If a Judge can change his verdict based on some high-tech analysis, why these umpires R so arrogant not to accept the referrals to correct their unintentional errors?

We R considering the game as a beneficiary (Batsman don't walk-off for a faint edge or glove-pad catch). The law clearly says that, "Unless clear evidences R found" the on-field umpire stands. Umpires should be bold enough to take the challenge for standing in more occasions, especially as the judgment is done by one of their colleagues.

Should we expect that dismissals like Dishan @Mumbai or Macullum @Wellington or survivals like Walsh/Adams @Kingston (Vs PAK) should stand only because an honest umpire has made an error?

Posted by JoeGilly on (December 7, 2009, 4:23 GMT)

The way I see it, the only people who would have a problem with the Review System would be people involved in sports gambling like - bookies and corrupt umpires, players and officials. I don't know why BCCI is so strongly against it. As everyone knows, cricket gambling is worse than EVER especially in India and South Africa.

Posted by bingobob on (December 7, 2009, 4:11 GMT)

The UDRS was put into place after India had a massive cry over a not out decision (Andrew Symonds) that should have been given out. This new rule was put into place to get rid of the absolutely ridiculous decisions. So far in the Aus-WI series both teams have been using them in a ridiculous manner. As an Australian myself I was disappointed to see Ricky Ponting and the rest of the Australians act like idiots after any of the referal decisions didn't go their way... And the WI players have just been pissing their referals away... This rule was not made so that players could challenge 50/50 decisions, but so that the absolute howlers could be reversed. That is why each team should only get 1 referal a MATCH not 2 an innings (like in this recent series). This referal system has also seemed to make umpires more lazy (and resulted in more rubbish decisions). A negative consequence of this referal system.

Posted by MMHS on (December 7, 2009, 4:05 GMT)


I also feel players R using UDRS as a survival tool by chance, but it is to minimize (Not illuminate) obvious errors (Sorry to say, but there R too many LBWs with in-side edge, pitching out-side leg, missing leg & controversial bat-pads given/not given). Ponting's attitude of questioning Umpire can't be related with the use of UDRS as we know, how ugly these Aussies (Nothing personal mates down under) can be when things don't go their way in cricket.

I also believe, once players R habituated with UDRS, we'll see more walk offs, reduction of hilarious appeals & gamesmanship. UDRS or no UDRS, Taufels' & Dars' will standout & Umpires have to accept that, it is to help them, therefore instead of opposing, better educate themselves & accept the challenge to challenge the technology. As a professional, I can't ask my employers not to introduce new software, services or departments, only because I am not comfortable with that & it exposes my errors (Again not integrity).

Posted by longhorndms on (December 7, 2009, 3:57 GMT)

The first few times I read Tony Cozier's articles like the one about the reaction of the Australian Media reaction on West Indies, I thought wow, it must have taken some serious insulting for a person like him to go all out like this.

But as I read more of his articles, it seems he is just generally bitter about everything.

Posted by MMHS on (December 7, 2009, 3:54 GMT)

Sorry Tony, I have been a regular reader of your articles & do value your thoughts for the knowledge you posses & the experience of 60 golden years of WI cricket. But I can't agree with you in this regard. Due to annual leave, I was able to watch last six test matches almost ball by ball simultaneously (Thanks to cable TV & remotes) & felt the need of UDRS. Shiva's case is a 1 of, but in 6 tests (2 without UDRS) I found so many decisions corrected by UDRS & felt really sorry for the Lankans. I think the mindset of the umpires is a major problem here. UDRS is not to undermine their credibility, rather to rectify any human error (most of us do agree today's umpires are far accurate than past, but they R exposed by high-tech TV replays & their integrity is never questioned) & do justice wherever possible. There were so many referrals in PAK-NEW tests & in most cases genuine, but I can't remember 1 against Taufel, which says everything.


Posted by Chris_Howard on (December 7, 2009, 2:40 GMT)

The game is better off *without* the technology.

Once you use it a little, you end up having to use it a lot, because you find it's not perfect either. As evidenced by the move to have even more HotSpot cameras in the next Test.

It has reached the point where we either use it fully, or we don't use it at all.

But personally, I'd rather they didn't use it all. But to do that, you'd have to ban the TV networks from using it too. Because that's who's really created this monster.

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 7, 2009, 0:53 GMT)

if indians dissented , he would have been fined and banned for next match. I think aussies are getting free ride from ICC. Aussie still run ICC not bcci.

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 7, 2009, 0:52 GMT)

What a crock.

Asad rauf would have made the decision if he was on field umpire. It is not fault of Review system.

I am all for review system. Any against is an....

Posted by bobagorof on (December 7, 2009, 0:43 GMT)

@ hgjfkjd: I don't think having a set number of referrals per side is a great idea. Why should a side lose a referral because they appealed an incorrect decision? For an extreme example, say there is an on-field umpire who gets every second decision wrong - why should the batting side only be able to correct 3 bad decisions in an innings? After the first 3 they will be a victim of the poor umpiring and have no recourse for their remaining 7 wickets, through no fault of their own. I think a system that does not penalise the team if their review is upheld is a much more sensible one. They still lose a referral if the review is turned down, but as long as they still keep one in hand then they can ensure that blatantly wrong decisions can be overturned. That is, assuming the 3rd umpire actually learns how to interpret the basic information in front of him...

Posted by paramthegreat on (December 6, 2009, 23:54 GMT)

@vatsap. All the decisons which Indians got in SL series were absolutely 100 % correct and should be given out regardless of what the indians think . Perhaps the Sehwag decision was a bit dodgy , but apart from that, the rest of them were quite clear cut . if tendulkar and dravid think they can get by with a big stride forward even when the ball is hitting middle and off or middle and leg, they are sadly mistaken. That era is gone . PZ

Posted by Rooboy on (December 6, 2009, 23:46 GMT)

I think any system that eliminates some of the absolute shocking decisions is a good thing. Chanderpaul looked out on both occassions, Rauf thought it looked out the second time, and he said so. What is the problem? Let's face it, if it had been an Australian batsman that 'suffered' Chanderpaul's fate, this article wouldn't even have been written. So sick of the hypocrisy and double standards. If an Australian bowler had stalked and abused and made phyisical contact with a batsman the way Benn did Watson on saturday afternoon, we would be reading articles about the dirty, nasty, unsportsmanlike Aussies. But this conduct is clearly acceptable and not even worth noting when a non-Australian is the instigator. Where is the balance?!?!

Posted by mac9ue on (December 6, 2009, 21:26 GMT)

Mr. Cozier, the points made in this article are not very well-considered. The problem is not with the UDRS system, it is with Asad Rauf's mishandling of it. Neither the Aussies, nor the Windies were in violation of the spirit of cricket in appealing - they genuinely thought their appeals were correct. Benson made the best decision he could, but Rauf misinterpreted his brief. There is no problem with the UDRS if the video umpire uses it properly and only alters the on-field umpire's decisions to prevent howlers and not overturn marginal decisions. The unscientific question that detractors would pose is - define marginal. But that is the wrong question, meant only to cast doubts where there are none. The definition of a howler is quite clear and the UDRS is designed to prevent howlers. All it needs is proper training for the video umpire.

Posted by asiba on (December 6, 2009, 21:09 GMT)

It was me who suggested the idea of the Review system even though I did not called by that name. I wanted to give the batsman the right of people. I felt that in decisions where the batsman felt terribly undone by umpiring error that the batsman should have the right to challenge the decisions provided that he was on solid grounds to challenge the decision.

Posted by cricpolitics on (December 6, 2009, 19:56 GMT)

As for as I can tell the review system is working very well in the NZ vs. Pak series. No one has compained from both teams about anything. It is unfortunate that historically Australian teams have a bad repo with umpires and they don't seem to accept decisions taken by many umpires. Give some break to the umpires and the review system and concentrate on the game. The review system should not be reviewed just becuase Australians are unhappy about something.

Posted by Leggie on (December 6, 2009, 18:11 GMT)

I don't it's a problem with the complete review system per se. In the management parlance, a "change management" has not been set right. Like you rightly mentioned, the third umpires are supposed to only say if the evidence is conclusive - yes or no - beyond any reasonable doubt. That an umpire like Asad Rauf decided a marginal evidence against a batsmen is unfortunate indeed. On the same lines, when Angelo Mathews was adjudged run out for 99, none of the TV commentators could confidently say if he was indeed out. Unless otherwise the third umpire saw something different, I cannot imagine why/how Angelo Mathews was adjudged run out. Can we also stop referring run outs to third umpires because there was one wrong/marginal decision?? I think the solution is let the technology evolve while we work on the teething issues.

Posted by Quazar on (December 6, 2009, 18:00 GMT)

Clearly, the TV umpires are still on a learning curve, but I believe there's a very good chance that with more experience the UDRS will start living up to the expectations of fans and players. However, it is UNACCEPTABLE for captains and players (Ponting and Bollinger, in this case) to get away with blatantly dissenting against the umpires after a review. I mean, these guys never walk after nicking...they are very happy to honour the umpire's decision if it gifts them a life. But they don't have the decency to accept a considered decision by the umps when it goes against them. Disgraceful!

Posted by SangakaraFan on (December 6, 2009, 16:17 GMT)

I agree with Tony Cozier. This UDRS system does not work and will never work when you have cry babies like Ricky Ponting waiting ponce on umpire desicion which goes against Australia.

Posted by vatsap on (December 6, 2009, 14:26 GMT)

The UDRS was something the Indians wanted badly after Sydney Test of 2007, but ironically it came to bite them back when they were on the wrong side of decisions in Sri Lanka the following season and they started mumbling about its inconsistencies. Tough one to implement unless there is a "process" which is clean as a whistle for most folks watching the game.

Posted by hgjfkjd on (December 6, 2009, 14:13 GMT)

I cant believe that the powers that be cant figure out the review system..its simple and easy..each team to get 3 challenges per innings(doesnt matter if they're successful or not)..the 3rd umpire can overturn the field decision only if there is definite contradictory benefit of doubt etc...keep it simple otherwise Rauf will screw it up all over again..also some kind of penalty for a unsuccessful challenge..maybe deduct 5 runs or something similar...what do you guys think..

Posted by wicketkeeper1 on (December 6, 2009, 13:33 GMT)

Tony this trip down under is doing wonders for you. Your articles to date have been brilliant. Keep up the good work. Give them hell.

Posted by Anneeq on (December 6, 2009, 13:21 GMT)

If we are going to have this referral system we might as well do it properly. Umpires should use the least amount of technology as possible, hawk eye, hot spot and good old slow motion replay is enough. Snicko is not accurate enough, theres too much doubt with snicko about which anatomy the ball has hit. Stump microphone sound, pitch mat, ball-tracking all over complicate the matter the three that i mentioned are enough.

Hawk eye should be used for lbw's, orelse what is the point in it? I think 3rd umpires care too much about sticking with the decision of the umpires on the ground. I agree with LalTM below the problem is with bias umpires not wanting to overturn the decisions of the umpires on the ground. It is NOT the system itself. The third umpire should make an unbiased decision of his own, without wanting to keep his mates on the ground sweet.

Posted by Lateralis on (December 6, 2009, 13:18 GMT)

"Tennis has incorporated it successfully." "But with a 2nd hotpot camera that problem may potentially be fixed." I firstly have to say that I actually detest the use of Hawkeye in tennis. There are times when it does correct for blunders - when the ball was either in or out by some distance - but the close calls, when just the merest sliver of ball of grass can over turn a decision? Sorry, that is utter tosh. As for Hotspot... I'm speaking as a physicist when I say I don't entirely trust it. I would want to know how they actually detect the impact and what the limit of detection is, ie. big a nick do you need before it shows up on hotspot. The UDRS is half-baked and it is absolutely clear that the umpires have no clue how to use the system that is in place. There also seems to be a mad rush to use technology when actually, nobody really understands what it means to collect empirical evidence and analyse it, least of all the jobsworth's at the ICC.

Posted by V.GOMES on (December 6, 2009, 13:18 GMT)

@ popcorn: any authority, including the umpires, can be questioened by the players as long as it is done in an appropriate manner. In the legal system a lawyer can apeal a ruling, therefore in cricket a player can appeal a decision by the use of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS). Thesre is nothing wrong with that.

Posted by cric_freak88 on (December 6, 2009, 13:15 GMT)

one has to agree the review system has it flaws, but they'll be rectified. Atleast there will be a fair game now !! it'd be shameful if the review system is removed. umpires are worried about their integrity and respect hence many of them dont want it !!

Posted by Aussieicon91 on (December 6, 2009, 12:49 GMT)

The problem with the system review system is the rule that "the 3rd umpire needs conclusive evidence to change the onfield umpire's decision." If a player decides to review a decision then the on field umpire's decision SHOULDN'T have any influence whatsoever. The 3rd umpire should make a decision based on the evidence of Hot Spot, Knicko and Hawk Eye and instead of giving the umpire the benefit of the doubt, they should be giving the batsman the benefit of the doubt (like an onfield umpire would do in any doubt of an appeal). It's so blatantly obvious that - that is the only problem with the referal system and why players are referring 50/50 chances. I cringed when the ICC brought the System Reviews back and had not changed this rule... how can they be so stupid?

Posted by bobagorof on (December 6, 2009, 12:47 GMT)

On what evidence is the comment "Nor can Hawk Eye be entirely trusted to steer the umpire along the right path to an lbw verdict. " based? The ball's observed flight is tracked, and then extrapolated using the known laws of physics. It has the capability to be far more accurate than a human's extrapolation and does not suffer from paralax error (as the umpire's sight is not down the same line as the ball). Having said that, as another poster also observed, the problem with Chanderpaul's reviews lies not with the system, but with the human who reviewed the evidence before him and made an incorrect decision based on the facts. Rauf believed there was 'clear evidence' that Chanderpaul hit the ball, but there was no such evidence presented to him - by snicko, by Hot Spot, or the replays. So why blame the technology for a human error?

Posted by A_PROUD_INDIAN on (December 6, 2009, 11:24 GMT)

Well too bad! Human Element should not go out of the game! And more importantly respect towards the umpires! Its a "Thank Less Job"! UDRS was intended to reduce the stress of umpires... now we have lost one Good Umpire! It doesn't matter how good or bad systems one makes....the moment you give the luxury to players to "Challenge" On field umpires, players will abuse it... controversies will happen... A decision might go in favor of batsmen or it may go in the favor of the baller but either ways time and again umpire is gona be disrespected.

Posted by Aubmic on (December 6, 2009, 11:18 GMT)

Lets see, there have been 2 decisions overturned so far in the series I think. Bravo correctly got a reprieve, and Chanderpauls got changed. So a correct decision, and a 50/50 decision switched, which to me gives a net positive of +1 correct decisions thatks to the UDRS so far. Whats more, I think it adds a bit of extra interest, in terms of tactics from captains, how much they trust their bowlers etc.

Posted by djfw666 on (December 6, 2009, 11:14 GMT)

Cozier is correct that it is not making players happy at the moment - because the captains have no idea how to use it. It's there for the customary Koertzen howler or plumb lbw decision which is not awarded. It should also be mandatory to have HotSpots square of the wicket, which is going to happen in the Australia-Pakistan series. Then it will be perfect. When captains learn that the 50-50 calls are in favour of the umpire's judgement, they'll quit grumbling. That said, Chanderpaul should have scored a few more runs by that mandate.

Posted by trinswana09 on (December 6, 2009, 11:03 GMT)

I am totally appalled by the attitude of the authors of those of you who write with such irreverence about Tony Cozier.If you have a dissenting view, that's fine, but don't bash the messenger.This guy has been covering cricket since the early 60's and should be respected much in the way Richie Benaud is.I have been watching all three tests sinultaneously and the NZ/Pak one was the fairest.No unfair advantage was given to either side and thereview system was properly used. THere were some serious umpiring blunders in the SL/IND match, obviously benefitting the Indians, so there is need for the urds.In the WI/AUS case however, in the 2nd Chanderpaul decision, Rauf was wrong to give it out, as contrary to his statement, there was no clear and obvious edge, marked by the amount of replays he took.Please, before subbmitting your Aussie biased comments guys, try to find a sinew of fairness and be un-australian for a second.

Posted by Geraldine on (December 6, 2009, 10:47 GMT)

I'm afraid Tony completely misunderstands the point of the UDRS. There will ALWAYS be controversy over decisions in cricket and no system will ever give us absolute certainty. It is designed to eliminate decisions that everyone, including the umpire who gave the decision, would realize were completely wrong. How many shockers have there been this series? The answer is a big 0 which is a resounding victory for the UDRS.

Even more bizarre is how he quotes a statement from Ponting against technology in 2005 and claims that "such a sentiment hasn't changed. He may want to read an article Peter English article, "Ricky Ponting is a big supporter thinks it makes the game better and wants it to stay."

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 6, 2009, 10:19 GMT)

UDRS is a great idea! What are you talking Tony? With the UDRS, no way can any team score 600 odd runs. Indians were affected due to the review system when they toured Sri Lanka last year and lost the test series 2-1. In the SL India test match it is absurd that Dilshan got 2 decisions which were controversial. UDRS would have been beneficial indeed. Shocking that it was not used when it was used today in Australia and NZ. Please ensure that UDRS is also used in ODIs and T20 as well and not just in test matches. Afterall when other sports use technology a lot like in rugby union and tennis, it must be used a lot in cricket as well.

Posted by sifter132 on (December 6, 2009, 10:13 GMT)

"Nor can Hawk Eye be entirely trusted to steer the umpire along the right path to an lbw verdict" Reference? If you are saying it's not 100% accurate, well that is true. But how about accurate to within a few millimetres at WORST. Is that accurate enough for you Tony? Hawkeye is the easiest to see and most accurate of the new technologies that can potentially be used in cricket. Tennis has incorporated it successfully. Please don't heap on Hawkeye just because you don't like the other technological options and the way the ICC has systemised the DRS.

I agree that Chanderpaul was unlucky to be given out. But with a 2nd hotpot camera that problem may potentially be fixed.

The other problem is with the players who are challenging things that COULD be out/not out, just guessing really and it seems to be on LBWs mostly. That is wrong, and the ICC needs to drum it into their heads.

The other problem is with ignorant umpires like Mark Benson who left in a huff because of Hawkeye.

Posted by Mahaica70 on (December 6, 2009, 10:09 GMT)

I fully share Tony Cozier's comments about the use of technology. I am particularly interested in the use of Hot Spot, which has been promoted as an infallible tool. However, the decisions with Chanderpaul in this Test throws serious doubts on this: on 1 occasion Hot Spot shows no evidence of ball hitting bat and he is given not out, on the next occasion the same thing happens and he is given out. Does this mean that Hot Spot can give false negatives (i.e. no sign of contact when the ball hits the bat)? If so, are these likely to be on a random basis or do they only occour is specific circumstances? Can Hot Spot also generate false positives? and again, in what circumstances? If the Hot Spot system is capable of generating false negatives/positives, why is it considered as being any more accurate than Snicko? Finally, if there is an element of error/discretion in interpreting information from Hot Spot, why not leave the decisions to the on-field umpires completely? Mistakes happen.

Posted by Ed_Lamb on (December 6, 2009, 10:02 GMT)

The title of this article is misleading - perhaps the problems could be better summed up as "Use of UDRS can't eliminate human error completely". If Asad Rauf failed to use the technology correctly then he's at fault - not the UDRS. Sadly the ICC seem to have rolled this out in such a haphazard and illconsidered way that the system itself is under question, rather than its implementation.

Posted by eyballfallenout on (December 6, 2009, 9:59 GMT)

I really dont like the referral system as a spectator, its almost like we will end up with no umpires, just a tv screen saying in or out, the game will not be spontaneous and exciting, just referral and waiting for decisions. I dont mind checking for a no ball, its sucks to be out on no ball, but i call for decisions good or bad to be from the umpire in the middle. How many conversations around the world each day,weather he was out or no he wasn't. take that away and we have lost half our monday cricket conversation.

Posted by popcorn on (December 6, 2009, 9:54 GMT)

Questioning an umpire's decision by a player - either the fielding side, or the batting side - goes against the spirit of the game. The prerogative should rest with the on field umpires ONLY. Not even the third umpire.There is no technology available that can correctly predict a catch,lbw,or run out.

Posted by theshack on (December 6, 2009, 9:31 GMT)

We live in a world with a lot of technology and hype about technology. There is also a lot of pseudo science i.e stuff that appears to be science but is really nonsense.There is a fundamental concept in science/mathematics is that you can draw a straight line through 2 points so that it is not possible for Hawkeye to line up the 3 points involved in lbw decisions i.e the camera, the point of release from the bowlers arm and the batsman to be absolutely sure that the ball will strike the wickets. Unless it can be confirmed that that the location (angle of location of camera relative to straigt line beteen middle stumps at bowler's end to batter's end). I am not sure how many commentators or media types etc understand these concepts and how they impact the accuracy in predicting lbw decisions. Are the locations of the cameras at each Test ground entered and use in the Hawkeye predictions. What about the elevation of the cameras?

Posted by LalTM on (December 6, 2009, 9:23 GMT)

Tony you are a wonderful commentator, but regretfully I have to disagree with you 100% at your view on the review system. Technology should be viewed as there to help the umpires make right decisions rather than give wasteful and bias decisions. However, since the system in use is new, we all- cricketers, umpires, officials, spectators etc must be patient and see how things can be improved if there is any problem with it, but not trying to abolish it completely. We must realize the fact that the problem is not with the review system but with bias and poor umpiring. One bias umpiring decision can change the outcome of the game completely. The objective of using technology is to eliminate the human errors and maintain the spirit of the game .Look at what happened at the India -Sri Lanka third and final test match just finished at Mumbai Explosive Sri Lankan opener Tilakarathne Dilshan was given out when he was at 109

Posted by paramthegreat on (December 6, 2009, 9:11 GMT)

@Jaztech...chanderpaul was clearly out , was he?? maybe he was, maybe he wasnt . But consider, Ponting and Barath in 1st Test . Barath given out, Ponting not out . Barath refered the decision , so did WI for ponting. For ponting , the ball was hitting just the top of middle leg and since it wasnt hitting the middle of middle stump (as argued by commentator) , the umpire( Ian Gould's ) decision stood. Barath was given out. he challenged it and the ball was shown hitting the outside of leg. Now why was he given out, even if both the decisons looked similar??just because the umpire is afraid to give Ponting/Sachin out LBW on his home ground , does not mean the on field umpires decision should stand . It [the decison] should be on a impartial and not biased basis

Posted by TheDoctor394 on (December 6, 2009, 9:10 GMT)

I've never been a big fan of all the technology around in sporting coverages nowadays (one of the many reasons I don't follow rugby league anymore is the endless replays over whether a try should be awarded or not), but I actually don't mind the reviewing system in cricket at the moment, and think it is working, although some countries (Australia) are using it better than others. I am bewildered by the controversy over Chanderpaul's dismissal (not just from Tony Cozier - the Australian press too), as it was totally clear to me that the ball came off the bat, although this did show Hot Spot in a bit of a bad light, as there was no clear edge there. But I quite like how it is at the moment, and don't really understand all the complaints aimed at it.

Posted by Umair_Chohan on (December 6, 2009, 8:54 GMT)

I think Tony is rightly talking about another dimension on DRS. He has spoken with a mind, i thought his views were in line with the spirit of the cricket. Well done Tony.

Posted by King_07 on (December 6, 2009, 8:36 GMT)

Seriously it is not working. The UDRS will come under for more scrutiny if any decisions goes wrong against india. I think the umpire should be given the freedom to check with 3rd umpire for any doubts. For me the players has nothing to say against the umpire decisions. If it was a crucial decision at a crunch time (say if it was the world cup final) then the standing umpire should ask the 3rd umpire..

Posted by AHappyMind on (December 6, 2009, 8:23 GMT)

The review system is a BRILLIANT concept. However, umpires and the tv umpire have to be taught how to use this system correctly. The idea of minimizing errors is great.

Posted by Praveen.Vasudevan on (December 6, 2009, 8:13 GMT)

The UDRS will add more value to the game if the players use it with discretion (unlike Chris Gayle). However, the pressure on the umpires have not reduced in any way because of URDS. One way to help the umpires would be to take away the concept of neutral umpires. URDS will anyway be there to help reduce partiality. The ICC should allow umpires to stand in home tests thereby reducing their travel and the associated costs involved.

Posted by yaseenk2002 on (December 6, 2009, 8:10 GMT)

I think what needs to be done is the umpires watching replays need to told very strictly that the decision can be overturned only if they are 100% sure that on-field umpire was wrong. UDRS will be of immense help in such situations where blatantly wrong decisions will be avoided. But there is a need to follow the rule strictly. "Reverse only the blatantly wrong decisions" Umpires up there don't have to rack their brains. Just tell the on-field umpires if they have made a huge blunder. Thats it.

Posted by simon_w on (December 6, 2009, 7:54 GMT)

I agree entirely with Tony, and am a little (though only a little) surprised at the number of comments whose authors seem to have missed the point, and taken their misunderstanding as a opportunity to berate a figure of such standing in the game that few can claim to have more right to an opinion.

The ICC's claim that the UDRS will improve sportsmanship amongst players is perhaps the most puzzling part. Never could see the logic there, and so far it's proving to be as daft a claim as it at first appeared.

For the record, I'm not against technology, but the UDRS system as currently implemented suffers from flaws both in design and in implementation.

Posted by Celtics24 on (December 6, 2009, 7:41 GMT)

The West Indies have been extremely poor using their challenges. Just using them randomly as they didn't want to be given out, appealing the decision in hope. There was a decision in the NZ-PAK game today that showed why the review system was put in place. Rudi Koertzen (as only he could) fired out mccullum with an LBW decision where he CLEARLY hit the ball, was just blatantly obvios. Instant challenge, decision reversed. That was obviously the ICC's intention. But with the windies just randomly throwing in challenges for no apparent reason, then 50/50 ones which are also kind of annoying, it gets a bit tiring. Btw, your bias is really shining through more and more with every article Tony.

Posted by allstarnz on (December 6, 2009, 7:32 GMT)

this version of the UDRS seems a better beast than a previous incarnation tried down here a couple of years ago. Two shots seems to have decreased (not yet eliminated) the roll the dice type decisions.

If Tony had been following the NZ v Pakistan series, he may have seen that when understood properly by players and officials, the UDRS works well. Case and point today. Rudi Koertzen misses a huge inside edge, and gives McCullum out LBW, McCullum goes upstairs and decision gets reversed. Surely the ability to reverse howlers like this is progress?

There are perhaps some more refinements that need to be made, but so far i'm of the opinion that the system is working.

Posted by Paki.Fan. on (December 6, 2009, 7:28 GMT)

UDRS not working, Are you kidding me!!!. It is definitely working, A debatable decision goes against your team and you are saying its not working, UDRS with its limited history has already turned over many incorrect decisions which would have resulted in unfair outcomes. I think the review system is here to stay and all the "old schools" better get this.

Posted by Baundele on (December 6, 2009, 7:28 GMT)

The problems are mainly with the biased umpires, not the technology. Also, when a decision is referred, the decision of the on-field umpire (which was dubious in the fisrt place) should not carry any significance. Just leave it to the technology. If the Hawk-eye says the ball was hitting the stump (and not pitching outside leg), it is an LBW. If snicko and hotspot shows there is an edge, it is an edge. These people are making obvious things difficult and now blaming the technology. Complely ridiculous.

Posted by cook on (December 6, 2009, 7:23 GMT)

I think the system is working quite well. There haven't been that many decisions overturned, and the Chanderpaul decision did appear to be out on the replays. So many other sports are using this sort of technology now but it just seems to be cricket community that is having trouble accepting the technology. It has been good for the game, move on and just accept it. The only problem I do have is the amount of time it is taking to make the decision.

Posted by Kilat on (December 6, 2009, 7:09 GMT)

The problem isn't the review system, it's still the umpires. If you have an incompetent umpire, you don't make him competent just by giving him a TV replay. Sadly, some umpires are bringing the same lack of common sense to their TV work that they show on the field. This time, though, it is harder to excuse, because these errors are not being made in the heat of battle, under pressure, with a split second to make a decision. They are being made after watching dozens of slow-motion and zoomed-in replays in air-conditioned boxes. It's about time the ICC told umpires that they will be measured on results and stopped making excuses for them.

Posted by WestIndiesCricket.ORG on (December 6, 2009, 6:15 GMT)

The problem unfortunately is not the UDRS. Technology is there to help eliminated human errors. In this case the problem is due to one of the most incompetent decision making umpire we have in the business today - Asad Rauf. Time and time again I am at a lost to see him get away with making wrong decisions. How can we blame UDRS if we have umpires willfully making wrong decisions. If it is inconclusive, the third umpire does not have any grounds to change the on-field umpire's decision - period.

Posted by The_Wog on (December 6, 2009, 6:09 GMT)

Sorry Tony, ridiculous article. No point bringing up the bizarre third umpiring by Harper - the system has since been completely revised to replace him with the far more sensible Hawkeye. The review has made at least 2 good overrules (even the skeptics THINK Chanders nicked his at the same time as hitting his leg, which explains why the ball deflected so far) this match. In NZ, 2 more good ones including an absolute howler by Rudi again. Meanwhile, in Mumbai two absolute shockers may have cost SL the chance to save the test. 4-0 for the review system.

It's not the system's fault that the WI are abusing it with speculative appeals or that a Gayle LBW is an automatic review criterion. In fact the ONLY criticism is that it seems to have eliminated "only" 75% of clear umpiring errors instead of 100% since the post-Harper changes. A year ago after Sydney, we would have jumped at that.

Posted by Vinu-chennai on (December 6, 2009, 6:08 GMT)

Tony. I disagree your statement 100%. I refused to accept that this system is not working. Change is tough to adopt by all, we are in the early stages of UDRS and just give it sometime to get a grip. I am a hardcore Indian cricket fan, but when I saw Dilshan was given out in the first innings of 3 rd test I felt so bad for him and lankans. His bat was miles away from the ball. If had the option to defy he would have won it and it would have changed the complex of the game. GO FOR UDRS :)

Posted by bhushan08 on (December 6, 2009, 6:02 GMT)

If there is any doubt, the benefit should go to the batsmen. My guess is that the Asad Rauf blooper came as a result of 'very public display of displeasure' by Pointing after the first referral. I don't see why a captain should ask the umpire and 4th umpire for an explanation. That just put too much pressure on Asad Rauf next time and he went the aussie way (it is another matter though, if this is indeed true, of how capable Asad Rauf is as an umpire). This is not the first time pointing has done this. Some how, one always gets a sense with him (and aussies in general) that what they think is correct has to proven as correct else they feel cheated.

Posted by Vroooom on (December 6, 2009, 5:52 GMT)

This argument is so full of holes, it is laughable. The two instances you cited were cases of human errors more than the system. If you were to trash a system on the basis of two errors, the human umpires would not survive a day. What is needed is to train the umpires on how to interpret the technology available to them. I think a similar education is necessary for all the commentators involved as well :). I wonder how such experienced followers of the game like Chappell and Cozier can ignore the benefits of the system in favor of holding to tradition, fairness be damned.

Posted by jaztech on (December 6, 2009, 5:48 GMT)

Cozier, your bias is becoming increasingly evident. The West Indies have used their appeals foolishly and just on speculation. Chanderpaul was clearly out, he knicked the ball - we heard it and could see it - and was give out as he should be. Most of the commentators also thought he knicked it. Simple. It is YOUR team, not the technology, that is at fault. Your absurd claim about people in a "lounge chair in the middle of the night on the other side of the world" shows what a fool you are. I can't believe you are paid for these moronic articles. Perhaps it's time you retired from commentary as well as from playing.

Posted by Nemo2011 on (December 6, 2009, 5:29 GMT)

I am following the system in both the AUS v WI, and NZ v PAK series. I think there is NOTHING wrong with the rectified review system if you are thinking of a review in case of a 'BAD' mistake by the umpire. But it does not mean the system will work properly if the people running it are not able/efficient/good enough...Asad Rauf, and Harper are two of those average umpires with 'dead brain' and lack of common sense.....cannot make decsions even after watching replays, hotspots. I think, its unfair to blame the system in regards to one or two people's inability. In a positive note, at least there are some chances to review a real bad decision. And something is always better than nothing.

Posted by Jim1207 on (December 6, 2009, 5:28 GMT)

I really feel bad for the people who cry that Dilshan was given out in both the innings 'wrongly'. Not offering a shot - which was a sin to such a delivery which umpire has every right to give batsman out- it looked like plumb but not for hawk-eye. Even with review system, you get only 3 reviews only and people still would cry that some more wrong decisions were given. Sanga was not given out in 4th day of Mumbai test wrongly for a lbw shout, and match could have ended that day itself. Cricket is a wonderful nature that compensates every wrong in its own sweet way. Do not play with existing rules of test cricket. For playing games you can reach out to Mr.Lalit always, of course with golden bags lest his dogs would run after you.

Posted by paramthegreat on (December 6, 2009, 5:20 GMT)

if the evidence isnt conclusive, the batsman should be gioven not out in my opinion, regardless of what the on field umpire thought. I know that it would give the third umpire more authority than on field umpires, but if decisions may be imporved that wa, so be it. Also, if a ball is hitting the stumps in a LBW call, no matter what portion of the stumps it hits, it should be out . Or maybe have a rule saying that if it hits the outer portion of leg stump, then it should be not out .

As regards to the article, I think Asad Rauf did not want to make the australian too angry as they were on the basis of the first decision. The crowds are usually a handful to deal with and if they are unsatisfied with umpires...god save the umpires. Also, under no circumstances should Ponting ask from 4th umpire to explain the decision. It further goes on to show what a grumpy bunch the aussies are when they play at home.

Posted by WJStryder on (December 6, 2009, 4:56 GMT)

To be honest i think the review system dosnt work when used insensibly, and the west indian batsmen clearly have no idea when they are really out or not.they have made some really poor decisions to (excluding the Chanderpaul dismissals although i do believe he was out - since when is a noise and a deviation not sufficient evidence?) at times to refer which meant that when a bad decision did come their way, they had no referrals left to use. It looks like their policy is to protect the big name players as opposed to making a clear and informed decision when the time arose. Both SA and Aus also struggled with making those calls initially but got better at it. its a bit of an adjustment thats all.

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