July 22, 2003

Umpires won't be explaining decisions in NZ this summer

Umpires through all levels of cricket in New Zealand this summer will not be giving explanations to players for their decisions.

No longer will there be the signal of which way an umpire thought the ball was going after a leg-before-wicket appeal and there will be no comments on why, or why not, a particular bat-pad catch appeal was not upheld.

New Zealand Cricket's umpires manager Brian Aldridge said today that the policy of not explaining to players the reason for particular decisions was being employed on a trial basis but it was his belief that it would become a permanent policy, especially if, as he imagined, it was employed by all nations in the future.

"It will take players a while to get used to and there may be the odd umpire who will break ranks in an attempt to keep in with the players," Aldridge said. But he believed the policy of giving an explanation in the interests of communication had backfired.

Players, once given a reason, had sometimes taken issue with the decision and this had been the cause of many of the code of conduct violations that have occurred. The decision to abandon the policy has been backed by New Zealand Cricket and it will be implemented this season.

Player reactions to decision-making was just one area of potential conflict and removing it was one small step in reducing the opportunity for problems to develop. Aldridge said the reaction of players, even at club level, had been making it difficult to retain umpires who felt they could do without some of the problems that developed.