West Indies in New Zealand 2008-09 December 15, 2008

Use referrals for 'obvious' calls - Vettori

Cricinfo staff

Daniel Vettori has a word with Mark Benson while the Denesh Ramdin verdict was challenged © Getty Images

Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand captain, has expressed concern that the new umpire referrals system could dilute the powers of the on-field officials if it is used constantly for marginal calls. Vettori suggested that it would be a better approach for the more obvious decisions like detecting inside-edges for lbw appeals or nicks to the wicketkeeper.

He also proposed only one referral per team per innings instead of the three being used in the New Zealand-West Indies series. "What's happening a little bit is the 50-50 ones are coming into play and I don't think that's what it was invented for," Vettori told NZPA. "It's when you nick it onto your pad and you're given out lbw or you nick it behind and you're given not out - those are the ones we want to get out of the game as opposed to the good umpiring decisions."

A total of six referrals were used during the drawn first Test in Dunedin. Daniel Flynn, the New Zealand batsman, was the first to be out in such a manner in this series, lbw to Chris Gayle for 95 on the opening day. He was initially given the benefit of the doubt but Gayle challenged the verdict and Rudi Koertzen, the third official, agreed with the West Indians.

"If you look at it [the Flynn replay], you can see it's out but is that the reason it was brought in ... to decide on such a fine-line decision?" asked Vettori. "The premise of cricket is the batsman always gets the benefit of the doubt and I think you want to still keep that part of the game in."

Vettori benefited off one such appeal, against Denesh Ramdin on the fourth day. Ramdin came a long way forward to defend and it appeared as if the ball was slipping down the leg side when it struck the pad. Initially given out, Ramdin challenged and Koertzen upheld the decision after studying replays for more than three minutes. Despite winning the appeal in his favour, Vettori wasn't entirely convinced. His earlier shout for a bat-pad catch off Xavier Marshall was far more obvious.

"I think there's probably a little bit of fine-tuning needed," he said. "Some of us have talked about having only one referral an innings so you know it's out when you ask for it. In the end, it's the obvious ones you want fixed by the third umpire." The system was first trialled during India's tour of Sri Lanka earlier this year.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Geoff on December 16, 2008, 23:45 GMT

    I think this challenge system is excellent. It's a much better idea than direct referral by the umpires. There would be many of these latter per day and would slow the over-rate down to a funereal pace. The system put in place remains in the traditions of cricket since it is an *appeal* to the umpires (albeit a secondary one).

    At long last the time's up for the non-walkers. Any edge that's given not out will be referred and the decision overturned. Having said that we must have all the technology available, and for edges that means "Snicko". It's also good for obvious miscarriage-of-justice lbw decisions too. Again we must have "HawkEye" available. I may be wrong but I think in this game just gone the TV umpire had only the TV footage to refer to.

    I just have one ocomment. At all times the FINAL decision MUST remain in the hands of the umpire whose job it was to make the original decision. This is especially true for close lbws.

  • Adhil on December 15, 2008, 15:55 GMT

    I agree with Dan,i think the real purpose hasnt been archievd yet but great to see a bit of history created on our home turf & the sky's coverage is exceptional

  • Chetan on December 15, 2008, 11:40 GMT

    Better than a no-penalty No. of incorrect calls, what ICC should do is a penalty for every failed challenge and the penalty should be something that really hurts so challenges are not made for trivial reasons. Maybe 20 runs added to the batting side for a failed fielding side challenge OR 20 runs deducted for a failed batting side challenge.

  • Dimuthu on December 15, 2008, 10:30 GMT

    i cant really take vettori's comments 100% seriously considering he's a bowler. would he really NOT want an LBW off his own bowling given out, just because there's a bit of (apparently unjustified) doubt in the umpire's mind? sour grapes 'cos it's his own team's batsman methinks.... also, bowlers are always complaining that it's a batsman's game and the bowler's need something. so since this system works both ways, and the bowlers are at least rewarded for their work, i seriously don't see anything wrong with the referral system. that's my humble opinion anyway :)

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