New Zealand v West Indies, 2nd Test, Napier, 5th day December 23, 2008

Vettori for more high-tech review system

Cricinfo staff

Daniel Vettori feels umpires must have access to more technology to make accurate decisions © Getty Images

The review system trialled in the recently concluded Test series between New Zealand and West Indies has drawn concern from both teams, particularly with regard to the limited availability of television technology to the third umpire.

Brendon McCullum's controversial dismissal on the final day of the second Test in Napier raised doubts over the system's ability to produce accurate decisions. McCullum was adjudged caught behind by umpire Rudi Koertzen and the decision, when referred, was upheld by third umpire Mark Benson. However, Benson's review of the decision was, under the rule, limited to normal television coverage and not the advanced "hot spot" technology, which indicated no contact between bat and ball. The decision was crucial as New Zealand, batting aggressively in pursuit of 312, called off their chase with 92 required off nine overs.

Daniel Vettori said all available technology should be used in the referral process, without which it would not meet its intended purpose. "It was clear he didn't hit it," he said of McCullum's dismissal. "If you're going upstairs you should give umpires as much technology as they can have.

"Hot Spot seems to be the best one I've seen in my time. You couple that with the snicko and the naked eye and you'd think you'd get the decisions right 100% of the time."

John Dyson, the West Indies coach, agreed. "I think if the feeling about technology like snicko is very good, that should be another tool given to the umpires to make decisions. Sometimes the eyes and the cameras don't pick up everything." There were a total of 19 reviews in the Test series, with seven used on the final day in Napier.

Vettori, who had earlier called for referrals to be used only for 'obvious calls', also felt the three unsuccessful challenges allowed for each team gave captains an opportunity to use the system quite liberally for marginal decisions, as he did when he appealed for a leg-before decision against Chris Gayle early in his innings of 197.

"We took a chance with Chris because it was such an important wicket. I don't think that's why the referral system was brought in. If we're looking to rid the game of the obvious wrong decisions then it has to be brought back to one (challenge) in my opinion. If we get caught up in the 50-50s (decisions), that takes the power out of the umpires' hands. Everyone involved in the game still wants that human element."

Dyson preferred two challenges. "With three there's a bit of a feeling there; 'Oh well, we'll give it a go because we've got three'."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Daniel on December 24, 2008, 4:34 GMT

    I have to disagree with popcorn. They have this review system in Tennis and the tennis umpires don't seem demeaned to me. Review of decisions made is common in a number of professions, notably in trial law for example.

    If anything I see the review process as being advantageous for the Umpires' credibility. Nobody is going to harp over a bad decision correctly challenged (certainly not once we get over the novelty of it). However, we do remember for quite some time the shockers that influence the outcome of test matches. And, if we are the BCCI, we even carry on enough to have the Umpires removed and sent home. That is demeaning! Having a player say I'd like to check that one pleas Umpire and the having your colleague with the aid of sophisticated technology making the call instead is not in any way demeaning.

  • Daniel on December 24, 2008, 4:27 GMT

    I largely agree with Vettori, though I think perhaps 2 challenges per innings would be better. Not all technology should be used though. Hot Spot is an excellent innovation and should certainly be used. Snicko is just the stump mic output synched up with the tv picture, and so that is fine as well. The blue strike zone showing the line of the stumps is also good.

    However, using Hawkeye seems questionable, if we are even going to think about using it then it should display the uncertainty in the ball's path not just the predicted line. Then you should only give the batsman out if there is a 95% or greater chance of the ball hitting the stumps.

    Using tv for catches is a terrible idea though, since the way the camera foreshortens the image actually introduces doubt. The only camera that should be considered for catches is the super slow-mo camera that has a much higher frame rate.

  • Kristan on December 24, 2008, 1:32 GMT

    Just make correct decisions, whatever it takes. Mccullum's decision was terrible and so was Haydens. "Demeaning to umpires", that sort of thinking is what keeps cricket from moving forward. Umpires are human and understand the game and getting the decisions right is more important than their involvement in the game.

  • Peter on December 23, 2008, 22:24 GMT

    I think the third umpire should automatically review all line ball decisions, and advise the field umpires if there might be an obvious reason for review. It doesn't make sense to allow reviews of run outs, and whether a fieldsman touched the rope in order to determine a boundary, yet still allow the howlers like Hayden's critical caught and bowled decision to remain uncorrected..

  • Keith on December 23, 2008, 21:10 GMT

    I think Vetorri and Dyson are generally right with their views, but I have to disagree with Popcorn. It would be horrendous if umpires cold go upstairs for any snicks or LBWs. We'd be lucky to get forty overs bowled in a full day! Umpires nowadays go to replays for nearly every run out decision, even when so many are very clear from the start (like a batsman having gone past the stumps before the stumps are hit). We'd have dreary stoppage after dreary stoppage. I think two referrals are the way to go, whether they are upheld or not. As Vetorri has said, it's about the very clear mistakes umpires make, not the line-ball decisions.

  • Prathap on December 23, 2008, 20:59 GMT

    The whole business with umpiring and technology boils down to just one core thing: if the team making the 'suggestion' got the result they wanted or not. And New Zealand has become cricket's greatest 'whiner'. This article suggests that this is Vettori's opinion on this matter. My question is, why did he wait till Brendon McCullum's dismissal and the test series was drawn to give his opinion. Would he have made his 'suggestion' if New Zealand were to win this series despite these bad calls?

    Teams have to learn to go along with existing rules. Such wonderful and exciting cricket was played up to the late 80's without any major complaint or whining by international teams. Only after the early 90's this has become a big issue. I think ICC should ask the players to just shut up and give the umpires the authority to decide on what to do on the field.

  • Srini on December 23, 2008, 20:45 GMT

    Seeing the incident and the outcome was just plain sense where common sense didn't apply. At first sight, I assumed Koertzen just gave Mccullum out because he was not sure and wanted it to go upstairs. The replies from normal television do not pick up faint nicks in the best of times and it seems silly to base such decisions on the limited footage. NZ could have won the game had decision gone their way and Mccullum played one of his trademark knocks, but it just was not to be.

    In regards to the the usage of snicko and hotspot comments, only hotspot is a proven technology. It works simply based on friction between objects where as snicko is more a hit and miss technology. After watching years of snicko, it is not accurate enough to determine very minor snicks as there is so much noise picked up in the stump Microphone and filtering it out for just the edge is very difficult. This is one of the reason why snicko can not be obtained immediately after the incident has occurred.

  • Andy on December 23, 2008, 15:42 GMT

    I agree with Vettori's sensible views on this. I haven't seen the incident in question, but Hot Spot in particular is a must. If we're going to use technology, we should use all technology that is available. It should also be applied to all international matches, rather than to selected matches here and there. The umpires should also support it.

  • Rajaram on December 23, 2008, 13:49 GMT

    It is totally incorrect to allow cricketers to challenge the umpire's decision, asking for a replay.It demeans the umpires. Instead, umpires should be permitted to refer to the third umpire for ALL snicks and lbw appeals, and the dialogue should be ONLY between the on-field umpire(s) andf the third umpire - just as the on field umpire refers EVERY run out appeal to the third umpire. Let us remember that these actions take place in a split second, so the umpire should be given ALL assistance to make a decision. Incorrect decisions like Aleem Dar,a respected umpire on the Elite panel,made,giving Mathew Hayden out lbw, and admitted his error afterwards, (too late, though),will be avoided.

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