Review of umpiring decisions July 24, 2008

Bugs in the system

A few questions emerged on the day when for the first time a player challenged the umpire's decision
  shares 36


Two of Harbhajan Singh's deliveries prompted reviews, but none went India's way © AFP
 

The look of confusion on Anil Kumble's face epitomised India's predicament. With the embers going out on the second day's play - a day when Sri Lanka had piled on more than 300 runs for the loss of just two wickets - Harbhajan Singh appealed vociferously for a leg-before against Tillakaratne Dilshan. The fact he was bowling round the wicket would surely have registered in Kumble's mind, but the fervour with which Harbhajan appealed made him wonder whether he should take a chance, even though India had only two reviews left.

The seconds ticked by as Kumble went up to the umpire, exchanged a few words and then asked for the review. The dressing room would have got the bad news first, with the very first replay showing that the ball had pitched a couple of inches outside the line of leg stump. Dilshan finished the day unbeaten, and India were left with just one wild card and another six wickets to get.

An hour later, Mahela Jayawardene sympathised with his counterpart's situation. "That's something we've discussed at length in our team meetings," he said. "The 50-50 ones are going to be really tough. If the wicketkeeper and the bowler are not 100% [sure], I don't think we should go for it," Jayawardene said. "The umpire would give it not-out if there was some doubt. The wicketkeeper would be the ideal guy to get some information from for a decision like that, but with the 50-50 ones you need to be very careful because you only have three referrals. You're better off keeping one or two [in hand]."

Harbhajan had been in the thick of the action when history was created 23.4 overs into the morning session on Thursday. Again, he had been bowling round the wicket, but this time to a left-hander, Malinda Warnapura. With the pitch not affording extravagant turn, a delivery that pitched just on or around the line of leg stump was always likely to be drifting out of harm's way. But such was India's plight, with Warnapura and Jayawardene stroking the ball fluently, that they felt they had no option but to seek a second opinion.

Virtual Eye, which tracked the ball up to the point of impact with the pad, showed the ball hadn't straightened enough to hit the stumps. Warnapura, then on 86, went on to make a century, and the partnership swelled to 155 before Rahul Dravid's smart catch at slip briefly eased the frown lines on Harbhajan's face.

The really contentious decision was still to come though. Ishant Sharma had seen off Jayawardene and Dilshan had made just 1 when Zaheer Khan slanted one across his bat. There was a big plume of dust as the ball passed over the top edge of the bat, and a sound as well. As the Indians appealed, Mark Benson thought for a moment and then raised his finger. The celebrations had already begun by the time the Indians suddenly realised that Dilshan had no intention of leaving the crease.

As Benson signalled for the replay, all eyes turned to the TV screens. Replay followed replay, yet no one could be absolutely sure whether there had been the thinnest of edges, or if the sound heard was merely bat striking ground. The technology that's often used by broadcasters in such situations, the Snickometer, wasn't employed because doubts remain about its efficacy, while Hotspot, used by Channel Nine during the last Ashes series, has yet to be officially tested for accuracy.

 
 
The one positive that could be immediately gleaned came from the nature of the appeals. There were far fewer nonsensical ones, and the distasteful recent habit of fielders crowding the umpire and pressuring him into mistakes was nowhere to be seen
 

With Rudi Koertzen, the third umpire, as undecided as anyone watching, Benson, who had no access to the replays, had little option but to change the decision. In doing so, he opened up an entirely new can of worms. On the first morning of the Test, Dave Richardson, the ICC general manager, had spoken to the media, and emphasised the fact that the final decision would be made by the umpire on the field.

But how could anyone call it Benson's decision when it was Koertzen that actually got to watch the replays and then pass on his perception of what happened? How much is the on-field umpire allowed to ask his colleague anyway? The reversal was Benson's, but in reality, he was doing little more than the job the red and green lights do when the third umpire decides on a run-out or stumping.

The other thorny issue is that of technology. If the game is to embrace it, why not go the whole hog and use all the tools at your disposal? The fact that Snickometer and Hotspot can't be used in these cases is an admission that the technology isn't entirely reliable. Even in the case of Hawk-Eye or Virtual Eye, we know that the predictive element is dependent on the individual who operates it.

Whose responsibility is it to ensure the best technology is used? Does the broadcaster need to invest in it, or should the ICC take up the mantle to ensure the stated aim of minimising avoidable errors is achieved? A sub-committee featuring the likes of Anil Kumble, Sunil Gavaskar and Kumar Sangakkara will debate these issues at the end of the series before broad guidelines are laid down for future contests.

The one positive that could be immediately gleaned came from the nature of the appeals. There were far fewer nonsensical ones, and the distasteful recent habit of fielders crowding the umpire and pressuring him into mistakes was nowhere to be seen. Maybe some good will come out of it after all.

Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY iamsrilankan on | July 29, 2008, 0:11 GMT

    There is a consensus that as a fielding team you have to select which decisions you want to appeal against (The Indians discovered this the hard way). The same applies to the batting team as well and perhaps more so!

    Batsmen nicking the ball, umpire not giving out and fielding team appealing the decision is different to the ump giving it out, and the batsmen saying 'no I didn't hit it' (or hoping the rest of the world didn't see it). It would be rather silly for batsmen to stand their ground (once given out), if they knew they nicked it (under the referral system). If you thought not walking when you know you nicked it would make you look dishonest, appealing a decision when you were truly out has to be worse (doesn't mean there won't be people who won't try)

  • POSTED BY Sarda on | July 28, 2008, 18:19 GMT

    Few years ago, could you accept the fact that for run-outs, stumping & at times for catches, umpires should use technology? Whether to use the technology or not should not even be discussed, instead we should talk about how best we can use it. Yes we all know it's not full-proof neither the umpire. Whatever technology we have can help making better decisions for LBWs (nicked / pitched outside the leg stump), catches (touched the bat / gloove) etc. as it has already improved decision making ability for run-out, stumping etc. We will learn more with time, technology will improve in due course. For now, let's decide how best the available technology can be used in cricket as it has been successfully used on other sports and also in cricket.

  • POSTED BY Sheela on | July 28, 2008, 3:37 GMT

    Referrals seems to be in order. No point in blaming referral system. Indian bowlers did not look like capable of taking wickets unless batsmen make mistakes. Compare this with Sri Lankan who had two wicket taking bowlers. Talking about the quantum of Indian bowlers without taking into account their wicket taking abilities seems not to be intelligent.

  • POSTED BY Arunjay on | July 27, 2008, 15:03 GMT

    Lack of excessive appealing The review system is indeed a huge step in the right direction. The biggest improvement for me was the lack of excessive appealing by the fielding team. On day 3 of the first test, Saurav Ganguly was given "not out" when in fact the TV replays showed that he probably was out LBW. The Sri Lankan team didn't review the decision because they themselves weren't sure, which means if the bowler and wicket keeper aren't sure, then how can you expect the umpire to be? Now without the review system, the fielding team would have all gone up appealing and the umpire would have to take the blame for the decision. The pressure has now shifted to the fielding captain, and rightly so. It is a good way for him to keep his teammates in check and avoid excessive appealing.

  • POSTED BY Udendra on | July 27, 2008, 14:39 GMT

    It seems as if the review system is playing mind games with umpires, batsmen and fielders+bowler. A batsmen who'd normally be gentleman enough to walk if he's sure he's out is seen abstaining from it thinking the fielding side wouldn't call for a review. But if the review rules the batsmen out then his image is sure to be tarnished. No more gentleman! The fielding side will always think twice before calling for review, since only 3 unsuccessful attempts are allowed. Umpires are the most effected by this. Their skill and judgement ability is greatly tested. If an umpire's decision is proved to be wrong by the review then it will make the umpire look hopeless echoeing to him: you were wrong! The downside is they'd have much a lesser job to do, because although they knew the decision, instead of ruling OUT or NOT OUT might as well keep the finger in the pocket and let the fielders/review sytem do it for them. Hmm...What are they paid for then is a good question to be asked.

  • POSTED BY Afta on | July 26, 2008, 15:55 GMT

    Cricket calls for fairplay and honesty but tell me how many batsmen have walked even when they knew that they had nicked the ball or how many times a batsmen have employed pad play. It's so frustrating for the bowler. Obviously Rahul Dravid and Tendulkar must have known that they nicked it, but still the situation was too grave for them to have walked. It was the umpire's job to make the decision, and quite rightly so. How come India's referrals were negated and most Srilankan referrals were upheld? Surely the umpires were not biased. Since India lost so badly, all Indians got to complain about something! Referrals or no referrals, the truth of the matter is Sri Lanka played professional, mature and brilliant cricket. 'Referrals' is very fair to both teams and should be the order of the day.

  • POSTED BY friend987in on | July 26, 2008, 12:10 GMT

    Its good to see teams like zimbabwe, bangladesh, UAE n Sri Lanka playing competitive cricket. There should be more tournaments amongst these small teams to support and bring them up.

  • POSTED BY popcorn on | July 26, 2008, 11:46 GMT

    Go back to honouring the Authority of the On Field Umpire taking the decision.Right or Wrog.The Beauty of the game is in the glorious uncetrainties.Until all this talk of Technoolgoy came into cricket, the verdict of the Umpireswas respected, for ALL TYPES of dismissals. India started this shit questioning Steve Bucknor,and now India has lost the first Test against Sri Lanka humiliatingly. Technology can NEVER account for the Turning Ball or the Wind Factor,or the Friction between the ball and the pitch.

  • POSTED BY ramsay18477 on | July 26, 2008, 11:46 GMT

    The review system should be an appeals' system, like the judiciary appeals' system, against the on-field umpire's decision. Until now, the 3rd umpire was referred only for an out decision by the on-field umpire on the appeal made by the fielding side. In this, the on-field umpire did not make any decision and the 3rd umpire had to directly decide first-hand whether the batsman was out or not. But, in the referrals system, a decision is already made by the on-field umpire and then it is appealed against by either the fielding side or the batsman. So, the third umpire should ideally look to find merit in the appeal, be it by the fielding side or the batsman, and if found correct, overturn the umpires' decision or if he cannot find the appeal correct or if he is unable to decide, then the on-field umpires' decision should stand. This would lead to more fair decisions & less time wastage.

  • POSTED BY Kirk-at-Lords on | July 25, 2008, 18:58 GMT

    An interesting twist in the tail occurred on Day 2 of the Colombo Test. Zaheer Khan had a margial no-ball called, but there can be no referral because, as the commentators put it, "the batsman might have changed his shot selection upon seeing the no-ball signal." That tilts things back toward the bat over the ball rather heavily! A simple solution: Let the 3d umpire make all no-ball decisions beased on the perfect camera angle along the crease line. He can radio the result to the 1st umpire who can make the signal AFTER any shot has been played. This would virtually eliminate incorrect no-ball calls, put the decision in the hands of an umpire with a really good view, and release the 1st umpire to focus attention solely on what is happening 20 meters away at the other end. Everyone involved would benefit and likely approve, I think.

  • POSTED BY iamsrilankan on | July 29, 2008, 0:11 GMT

    There is a consensus that as a fielding team you have to select which decisions you want to appeal against (The Indians discovered this the hard way). The same applies to the batting team as well and perhaps more so!

    Batsmen nicking the ball, umpire not giving out and fielding team appealing the decision is different to the ump giving it out, and the batsmen saying 'no I didn't hit it' (or hoping the rest of the world didn't see it). It would be rather silly for batsmen to stand their ground (once given out), if they knew they nicked it (under the referral system). If you thought not walking when you know you nicked it would make you look dishonest, appealing a decision when you were truly out has to be worse (doesn't mean there won't be people who won't try)

  • POSTED BY Sarda on | July 28, 2008, 18:19 GMT

    Few years ago, could you accept the fact that for run-outs, stumping & at times for catches, umpires should use technology? Whether to use the technology or not should not even be discussed, instead we should talk about how best we can use it. Yes we all know it's not full-proof neither the umpire. Whatever technology we have can help making better decisions for LBWs (nicked / pitched outside the leg stump), catches (touched the bat / gloove) etc. as it has already improved decision making ability for run-out, stumping etc. We will learn more with time, technology will improve in due course. For now, let's decide how best the available technology can be used in cricket as it has been successfully used on other sports and also in cricket.

  • POSTED BY Sheela on | July 28, 2008, 3:37 GMT

    Referrals seems to be in order. No point in blaming referral system. Indian bowlers did not look like capable of taking wickets unless batsmen make mistakes. Compare this with Sri Lankan who had two wicket taking bowlers. Talking about the quantum of Indian bowlers without taking into account their wicket taking abilities seems not to be intelligent.

  • POSTED BY Arunjay on | July 27, 2008, 15:03 GMT

    Lack of excessive appealing The review system is indeed a huge step in the right direction. The biggest improvement for me was the lack of excessive appealing by the fielding team. On day 3 of the first test, Saurav Ganguly was given "not out" when in fact the TV replays showed that he probably was out LBW. The Sri Lankan team didn't review the decision because they themselves weren't sure, which means if the bowler and wicket keeper aren't sure, then how can you expect the umpire to be? Now without the review system, the fielding team would have all gone up appealing and the umpire would have to take the blame for the decision. The pressure has now shifted to the fielding captain, and rightly so. It is a good way for him to keep his teammates in check and avoid excessive appealing.

  • POSTED BY Udendra on | July 27, 2008, 14:39 GMT

    It seems as if the review system is playing mind games with umpires, batsmen and fielders+bowler. A batsmen who'd normally be gentleman enough to walk if he's sure he's out is seen abstaining from it thinking the fielding side wouldn't call for a review. But if the review rules the batsmen out then his image is sure to be tarnished. No more gentleman! The fielding side will always think twice before calling for review, since only 3 unsuccessful attempts are allowed. Umpires are the most effected by this. Their skill and judgement ability is greatly tested. If an umpire's decision is proved to be wrong by the review then it will make the umpire look hopeless echoeing to him: you were wrong! The downside is they'd have much a lesser job to do, because although they knew the decision, instead of ruling OUT or NOT OUT might as well keep the finger in the pocket and let the fielders/review sytem do it for them. Hmm...What are they paid for then is a good question to be asked.

  • POSTED BY Afta on | July 26, 2008, 15:55 GMT

    Cricket calls for fairplay and honesty but tell me how many batsmen have walked even when they knew that they had nicked the ball or how many times a batsmen have employed pad play. It's so frustrating for the bowler. Obviously Rahul Dravid and Tendulkar must have known that they nicked it, but still the situation was too grave for them to have walked. It was the umpire's job to make the decision, and quite rightly so. How come India's referrals were negated and most Srilankan referrals were upheld? Surely the umpires were not biased. Since India lost so badly, all Indians got to complain about something! Referrals or no referrals, the truth of the matter is Sri Lanka played professional, mature and brilliant cricket. 'Referrals' is very fair to both teams and should be the order of the day.

  • POSTED BY friend987in on | July 26, 2008, 12:10 GMT

    Its good to see teams like zimbabwe, bangladesh, UAE n Sri Lanka playing competitive cricket. There should be more tournaments amongst these small teams to support and bring them up.

  • POSTED BY popcorn on | July 26, 2008, 11:46 GMT

    Go back to honouring the Authority of the On Field Umpire taking the decision.Right or Wrog.The Beauty of the game is in the glorious uncetrainties.Until all this talk of Technoolgoy came into cricket, the verdict of the Umpireswas respected, for ALL TYPES of dismissals. India started this shit questioning Steve Bucknor,and now India has lost the first Test against Sri Lanka humiliatingly. Technology can NEVER account for the Turning Ball or the Wind Factor,or the Friction between the ball and the pitch.

  • POSTED BY ramsay18477 on | July 26, 2008, 11:46 GMT

    The review system should be an appeals' system, like the judiciary appeals' system, against the on-field umpire's decision. Until now, the 3rd umpire was referred only for an out decision by the on-field umpire on the appeal made by the fielding side. In this, the on-field umpire did not make any decision and the 3rd umpire had to directly decide first-hand whether the batsman was out or not. But, in the referrals system, a decision is already made by the on-field umpire and then it is appealed against by either the fielding side or the batsman. So, the third umpire should ideally look to find merit in the appeal, be it by the fielding side or the batsman, and if found correct, overturn the umpires' decision or if he cannot find the appeal correct or if he is unable to decide, then the on-field umpires' decision should stand. This would lead to more fair decisions & less time wastage.

  • POSTED BY Kirk-at-Lords on | July 25, 2008, 18:58 GMT

    An interesting twist in the tail occurred on Day 2 of the Colombo Test. Zaheer Khan had a margial no-ball called, but there can be no referral because, as the commentators put it, "the batsman might have changed his shot selection upon seeing the no-ball signal." That tilts things back toward the bat over the ball rather heavily! A simple solution: Let the 3d umpire make all no-ball decisions beased on the perfect camera angle along the crease line. He can radio the result to the 1st umpire who can make the signal AFTER any shot has been played. This would virtually eliminate incorrect no-ball calls, put the decision in the hands of an umpire with a really good view, and release the 1st umpire to focus attention solely on what is happening 20 meters away at the other end. Everyone involved would benefit and likely approve, I think.

  • POSTED BY inswing on | July 25, 2008, 18:03 GMT

    It seems that the logic behind reviews has not been established clearly. The cleanest would be to have the on-field umpire give the decision first. Clear evidence should be required to overturn *that decision*, whatever it is. It can't be that you need clear video evidence to give someone out. The batsman can always stand and hope that the cameras didn't catch something clearly. What if the umpire saw it clearly? If the umpire says the batsman is out, and if the replays are not clear, he is out. Otherwise, the rule becomes "not out unless you can prove it on replay". Not fair to the fielding side. With the method above, decisions will never be worse than what they would have been without the replays. With the method they are using now, decisions can indeed be worse when the cameras are not clear.

  • POSTED BY boing on | July 25, 2008, 15:41 GMT

    The problem with this system is the assumption that underlies it. It should be like American Football, where the assumption is that the onfield umpire / referee is correct unless the technology INCONTROVERTIBLY proves the decision was wrong. In this case, the player would still have been given out, as the initial decision is the base case and if they are not sure, then the on-field decision would stand.

    That way we all know where we stand

  • POSTED BY Lairgite on | July 25, 2008, 15:00 GMT

    This is a bit of left field comment but why not just go the way and remove the umpires from the ground all together and have all decisions made by the umpires using watching the video from the grandstand. It solves the issues such as players influencing decisions with over zealous appealling or intimidation. The umpires will be comfortable and able to apply full concentation to ensure the right decision after watching live and then reviewing the all replays . Communication of their decisoon to player and the crown would be via the ground PA and the video screens. This would reduce the human element from the the officiating of the game and human part of umpiring the game would be almost removed. The result would be all matches solely decided by the players and everyone able to see who made the mistakes that lost the match.

  • POSTED BY mirchy on | July 25, 2008, 14:18 GMT

    Like on so many other issues in recent times, the ICC just can't seem to do anything right. Technology is introduced, but only half-heartedly and more likely than not as an alibi. Why not go the whole hog and allow the best available technology even though it may not be perfect at this stage? It probably is better than the human eye anyway and is void of any human perception or bias. Hawk-eye, the snick-o-meter and the hot spot are all tangible technologies, which, in any case, eliminate any ambiguity and have a much higher degree of acceptability between the teams involved and the public at large. How can a batsman (Dilshan) be first perceived and given out and then the decision be rescinded although the applied technology is non conclusive? Maybe Richardson should try explaining that away instead of giving lectures on how the umpires are "in any case" 94% correct in their decisions without stating the mathematical analysis upon which that conclusion was made? Are we that gullible?

  • POSTED BY rameship on | July 25, 2008, 12:02 GMT

    The writer is perhaps incorrect in his assumption that snickometer has not been used in the referals as its accuracy is not confirmed. In Dilshan's case the snicko was shown after a while and it clearely confirmed that he was out. The reason why Rudy could not bring snicko into play is becuase it takes a good 5-6 minutes before it can be produced and shown to the viewers.

    One of the commentators rightly mentioned yesterday that if the 3rd umpoire finds the replays inconclusive then the on field umpire's decision should remain unchanged.

  • POSTED BY ppramesh on | July 25, 2008, 9:50 GMT

    I think This Reviews had to be utilized before India tour of Australia. If that was done then i am sure India had claimed first test series victory in Australia. Anyway It will help them in 2011 tour.

  • POSTED BY Ellis on | July 25, 2008, 9:16 GMT

    How it is possible for three experienced cricketers such as Kumble, harbhajan Singh and Karthik to seek referrals in the case of the LBWs, is beyond me. Kumble is a most gracious man and cricketer and has to have been convinced by Singh and Kartik. Kartik has had a very poor game and his involvement in the referrals reflects that. Benson is way below International standards in umpiring. To my mind, all three referrals produced the correct decisions. Why the ICC has to continue the fiction that the on-field umpire is the one making the decision in these cases, is beyond belief. He does not get the benefit of all the reviews the third umpire has. There is clearly consultation between on-field and third umpires, with the third umpire coming up with the decision. It is positions like this that vitiate against the inevitable use of technology in Cricket. Better umpiring and more selective judgement from players will make a success of a process whose time has come.

  • POSTED BY ladycricfan on | July 25, 2008, 9:04 GMT

    I think the ICC got it right. The 3rd umpire should forget about the 1st umpire's decision and start from scratch. The 3rd umpire first checks if it's a no-ball and using the technology available to him to make his own decision and convey it to the 1st umpire. As always benefit of the doubt goes to the batsman. The 1st umpire only gives the signal out/notout. I'm sure as the umpires get used to the system 3rd umpires will be given the authority to press the button as they currently do for runouts, stumpings etc. Mind you 1st umpires are 22yards away from the action whereas 3rd umpire has everything closer to him.

  • POSTED BY pankajathawale on | July 25, 2008, 7:58 GMT

    the use of technology is a very interesting step in the game. but i guess changes should come in when required and not just when changes are needed for the sake of it. also the hawkeye technology a graphical representation of the trajectory of the delivery. the on field unpire and his human acumen is far more better than hawk eye. teams need to understand that the referral needs to be used more in the 50 50 decisions rather than using it to avoid postmortem by the experts and media after the game. cricket is a human game and technology helps humans to play better rather then convert them into mechanical robots.

  • POSTED BY DravidTheMonk on | July 25, 2008, 7:48 GMT

    I 100% agree with michaelfernando. Where a decision has already been made by the field umpire and the referral does not throw up conclusive evidence as opposed to the decison already made, the man in the white coat should prevail. There is no harm in giving the benefit of doubt to the field umpire. It will also be a blow to an umpire's self confidence & belief if he has to overturn his decision despite lack of damning evidence. Also, why should the referral be communicated by the third umpire? No umpire will be dishonest enough to stand by his decision if giant screen proves him otherwise. These are still early days, am sure the reader's thoughts will combine to make an evolved system where players get the right decisions & field umpires still have the feel that they are the helm of the show rather than being reduced to a side kick.

  • POSTED BY cubkel on | July 25, 2008, 7:22 GMT

    What a codwallop of crap we see and hear about right and wrong decisions. Most of all the age old principle that batsmaen get the benefit of the doubt has been cast into oblivion. The commentators said replays were inconclusive and out decision should stand. Surely if replays were inconclusive (I dont think so at all)then batsman gets benefit and is not out. What do the commentators and others who say Bensons decision should not have been altered have to say?? Interesting Ranjit????

  • POSTED BY Kilat on | July 25, 2008, 7:15 GMT

    I agree with the other respondents who have said the umpire should receive the benefit of the doubt. The ICC has replaced the myth of the infallible umpire with the infallible replay. If the replay is inconclusive, it is of no use and the umpire's original decision should stand as it is not proven it is wrong. The review system should be seen, at this stage, as a way to eliminate howlers, the sort where everyone but the umpire knows what really happened. Until we get some new, revolutionary technology, we have to let the 50-50 decisions be. All but the most biased fan can accept an umpire giving a batsman not out if Hawkeye says 0.5mm of the ball will hit 0.5mm of the top of leg stump, but few can stomach the clear-cut shockers we saw in Sydney. The review process, if properly implemented, removes these.

  • POSTED BY Kilat on | July 25, 2008, 5:44 GMT

    This article highlights a key problem: why is it the on-field umpire who makes the decision after the third umpire watches the replay? Surely it should be the same as it is for run-outs, where it is given completely to the third umpire.

    I hope that if this turns out to be a major flaw, the ICC will make the necessary change rather than just abandoning the idea of a review process. Once again, the ICC has reacted late to a problem and provided an inadequate solution. The conspiracy theorist would be wondering whether they deliberately nobbled the review process, in order to ensure its failure and preserve the sanctity of the on-field umpire...

  • POSTED BY rkannancrown on | July 25, 2008, 5:18 GMT

    The arguement about use of snickometer is not correct. There are several instances when it picks up a noise but there is a gap between the bat and ball. The technology needs to be improved greatly before it can be considered reliable. It is good to have the reviews as a lot of biased decisions can be avoided. Do not forget that Mark Benson was the notorious umpire who , in partnership with Steve Bucknor, converted an Australian defeat at Sydney into a victory. The real question is why is it that ICC sticks with such umpires, biased or incompetent, but finds no Indian umpire fit to officiate in tests? The availabilty of technology can improve decisions but we have had enough third umpire mistakes as well. Till ICC moves towards better quality umpires, the problems will only increase.

  • POSTED BY snarge on | July 25, 2008, 4:41 GMT

    Dilshan was definitively not out-the sound clearly coming before the bat went past the ball-a poor decision by Benson, a poor umpire. The replay was inadequate in terms of showing whether there was a change in rotation of the ball after going past the bat-a vital component which would have made it even more definitive.

    Overall a good development. Nchandra it's not going to lead to higher scores-quite the opposite as there will be many more lbws given-again a good thing. As for the writer's comment on ridiculous appealing: the huge yell for lbw when Warnapura played a cut shot off Harbhajan and was struck on the pad 40 cm outside off stump was about as stupid as you ever got in the old days. Makes a mockery of any complaints about the Australian's appealing last summer.

    Can't wait to see Monty Panesar operating under this system. I can just imagine him urging his captain to seek a review for an lbw which would have missed the stumps by half a metre.

  • POSTED BY mahendreg on | July 25, 2008, 3:44 GMT

    Benefit of the doubt should go to the batsman. Use of Technology should be persisted with, as human errors may cost the spirit of the game more than anything.

    I prefer if we can increase the referals to even five/six times for a test match single inning.

  • POSTED BY wizman on | July 25, 2008, 3:16 GMT

    What a farce, and what a surprise. Not.

    Can we now segregate test matches for those grounds with technology and those without? Separate averages for batsmen and bowlers?

    All we have now is three peoples (umpires) opinions rather than just one, and that makes it more confusing and promotes more benefit of doubt decisions.

    Let's throw ALL the technology away, including for stumpings and runouts, and go back to the way that appeared to more or less work OK for a century or so. That way CricInfo wont have to produce it's lists with the "without Zimbabwe and Bangladesh" or "pre-Hawkeye" or "pre-covered wickets" or whatever as caveats.

  • POSTED BY vswami on | July 25, 2008, 3:07 GMT

    The bug in the process is that the 3rd umpire makes the decision. The process must be as follows .. on field umpire makes a decision, and if there is a appeal, and the 3rd umpire can conlusively judge using technology ( that the on field umpire has made a wrong decision ) then he advices the on field umpire of the mistake and the on field umpire should choose to reverse his decision. If the 3rd umpire is in doubt because the technology is not adequate, he advices the on field umpire accordingly, and on field umpire upholds his own decision because he has a better judgement than technology. The third umpire must remain in the background and make a decision that is visible to the public. Thats the only way the on field umpire does not feel undermined by the 3rd umpire. The issue is to use common sense to judge when technology is adequate and when its not, and why cant they use the walkie talkie and talk to each other rather than only using hand signals and electronic buttons.

  • POSTED BY zulfe_khan on | July 25, 2008, 3:03 GMT

    There'll always be some decisions that will be controversial no matter what type of technology we use or what methods we adopt. During the heat of the match, players do want to get some results in their favour. Lets face it - how many cricket players are out there and how many of these players have insisted on something that was not correct but was close? At the end of the day, a bad decision will go against a player and a team. We can improve the decision making process but at the same time we have to live with the fact that there is not going to be 100% accuracy without 100% honesty of players. Why do we need umpires? Its because there is controversy between fielding side and batting side on close calls, umpire has to make a decision. Any technology or method that is adopted must assist the umpires in decision making and not the players to use it in their favour.

  • POSTED BY vshar on | July 25, 2008, 3:02 GMT

    If they are to follow NFL then the field empire should have access to the replays and decide if his/her decision was correct or not. No need of third empire let the field empire judge their own decision using the technology. Moreover, to save time field empires can be handed out palm TVs to take their decision right in the field in case of referral.

  • POSTED BY michaelfernando on | July 25, 2008, 1:42 GMT

    I think, the NFL got the replay thing right when they require "indisputable video evidence" to overturn the decision already made on the field. Since Dilshan was given out, there should have been sufficient proof to _overturn_ that. At that point the benefit of doubt should go to the decision already made, not to the batsman. Said another way, the third umpire should be instructed not to overturn an on-field decision unless there is very good proof on tape. (In this case, the on-field umpire reversed himself on word from the third umpire, so there's enough confusion as to who made what decision.)

  • POSTED BY bluemagik on | July 25, 2008, 0:57 GMT

    The Dilshan dismissal clearly demonstrates a bug in the review system. The on field umpire might have made a decision that is right or wrong which even the camera could not prove conclusively. Now we have no way of knowing what the umpires spoke about but if Rudi was sure it was not out then we can just let the whole thing rest but if he pointed out to Benson that there was an element of doubt in what the camera showed then they should have deferred to his judgement as the on field umpire as he is closest to the action...maybe he heard a nick...so if camera in doubt ...go to the man behind the stumps...right or wrong decision.Of course all this is pointless if Rudi felt dead sure that there was no nick....thereby introducing a third element of human error....judging what the camera is telling you instead of factual information.At home the replay looked inconclusive, being an Indian supporter might have had something to do with that view, which is what i mean..open to interpretations

  • POSTED BY nChandra on | July 25, 2008, 0:16 GMT

    I agree with the last point. I see that as a definite advantage. There will be fewer of the stupid appeals that make you wonder whether the guys who play for their country understand the rules. The downside that I see is that with everybody erring on the side of caution, it would lead to more batting records and drawn matches. I guess the solution lies elsewhere - in the pitches on which test cricket is played.

  • POSTED BY raghavmadan on | July 24, 2008, 22:33 GMT

    I think now, with the referral system, the benefit of the doubt should go to the umpire rather than the batsman. So, in case if nothing clear can be made out from the technology, the umpire's initial decision would be upheld

  • POSTED BY Hazzak on | July 24, 2008, 22:16 GMT

    In my opinion, the best solution is that once a decision is referred, the benefit of the doubt can no longer automatically be given to the batsman if he was originally given out. The law must be that compelling evidence needs to be provided to reverse the decision. In other words, in that situation there should be conclusive proof that the ball has not hit the edge and the benefit of the doubt should lie with the umpire's decision rather than the batsman.

  • POSTED BY crick_admirer on | July 24, 2008, 22:04 GMT

    Awesome article, Dileep rocks! I think all sorts of technology need to be employed or nothing should be, its ridiculous to just use a part of the available technology, is money involved here? even though Dave said the on-field umpire's decision is final, that is never going to be case ... this technology was introduced just to make sure the opposite is true at least in three incorrect claims and infinite correct claims ... as Dileep said, appealing is gonna be more appropriate and genuine hereafter and also, whining and umpire-blaming for losses by the captains and media would be lesser ...

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • POSTED BY crick_admirer on | July 24, 2008, 22:04 GMT

    Awesome article, Dileep rocks! I think all sorts of technology need to be employed or nothing should be, its ridiculous to just use a part of the available technology, is money involved here? even though Dave said the on-field umpire's decision is final, that is never going to be case ... this technology was introduced just to make sure the opposite is true at least in three incorrect claims and infinite correct claims ... as Dileep said, appealing is gonna be more appropriate and genuine hereafter and also, whining and umpire-blaming for losses by the captains and media would be lesser ...

  • POSTED BY Hazzak on | July 24, 2008, 22:16 GMT

    In my opinion, the best solution is that once a decision is referred, the benefit of the doubt can no longer automatically be given to the batsman if he was originally given out. The law must be that compelling evidence needs to be provided to reverse the decision. In other words, in that situation there should be conclusive proof that the ball has not hit the edge and the benefit of the doubt should lie with the umpire's decision rather than the batsman.

  • POSTED BY raghavmadan on | July 24, 2008, 22:33 GMT

    I think now, with the referral system, the benefit of the doubt should go to the umpire rather than the batsman. So, in case if nothing clear can be made out from the technology, the umpire's initial decision would be upheld

  • POSTED BY nChandra on | July 25, 2008, 0:16 GMT

    I agree with the last point. I see that as a definite advantage. There will be fewer of the stupid appeals that make you wonder whether the guys who play for their country understand the rules. The downside that I see is that with everybody erring on the side of caution, it would lead to more batting records and drawn matches. I guess the solution lies elsewhere - in the pitches on which test cricket is played.

  • POSTED BY bluemagik on | July 25, 2008, 0:57 GMT

    The Dilshan dismissal clearly demonstrates a bug in the review system. The on field umpire might have made a decision that is right or wrong which even the camera could not prove conclusively. Now we have no way of knowing what the umpires spoke about but if Rudi was sure it was not out then we can just let the whole thing rest but if he pointed out to Benson that there was an element of doubt in what the camera showed then they should have deferred to his judgement as the on field umpire as he is closest to the action...maybe he heard a nick...so if camera in doubt ...go to the man behind the stumps...right or wrong decision.Of course all this is pointless if Rudi felt dead sure that there was no nick....thereby introducing a third element of human error....judging what the camera is telling you instead of factual information.At home the replay looked inconclusive, being an Indian supporter might have had something to do with that view, which is what i mean..open to interpretations

  • POSTED BY michaelfernando on | July 25, 2008, 1:42 GMT

    I think, the NFL got the replay thing right when they require "indisputable video evidence" to overturn the decision already made on the field. Since Dilshan was given out, there should have been sufficient proof to _overturn_ that. At that point the benefit of doubt should go to the decision already made, not to the batsman. Said another way, the third umpire should be instructed not to overturn an on-field decision unless there is very good proof on tape. (In this case, the on-field umpire reversed himself on word from the third umpire, so there's enough confusion as to who made what decision.)

  • POSTED BY vshar on | July 25, 2008, 3:02 GMT

    If they are to follow NFL then the field empire should have access to the replays and decide if his/her decision was correct or not. No need of third empire let the field empire judge their own decision using the technology. Moreover, to save time field empires can be handed out palm TVs to take their decision right in the field in case of referral.

  • POSTED BY zulfe_khan on | July 25, 2008, 3:03 GMT

    There'll always be some decisions that will be controversial no matter what type of technology we use or what methods we adopt. During the heat of the match, players do want to get some results in their favour. Lets face it - how many cricket players are out there and how many of these players have insisted on something that was not correct but was close? At the end of the day, a bad decision will go against a player and a team. We can improve the decision making process but at the same time we have to live with the fact that there is not going to be 100% accuracy without 100% honesty of players. Why do we need umpires? Its because there is controversy between fielding side and batting side on close calls, umpire has to make a decision. Any technology or method that is adopted must assist the umpires in decision making and not the players to use it in their favour.

  • POSTED BY vswami on | July 25, 2008, 3:07 GMT

    The bug in the process is that the 3rd umpire makes the decision. The process must be as follows .. on field umpire makes a decision, and if there is a appeal, and the 3rd umpire can conlusively judge using technology ( that the on field umpire has made a wrong decision ) then he advices the on field umpire of the mistake and the on field umpire should choose to reverse his decision. If the 3rd umpire is in doubt because the technology is not adequate, he advices the on field umpire accordingly, and on field umpire upholds his own decision because he has a better judgement than technology. The third umpire must remain in the background and make a decision that is visible to the public. Thats the only way the on field umpire does not feel undermined by the 3rd umpire. The issue is to use common sense to judge when technology is adequate and when its not, and why cant they use the walkie talkie and talk to each other rather than only using hand signals and electronic buttons.

  • POSTED BY wizman on | July 25, 2008, 3:16 GMT

    What a farce, and what a surprise. Not.

    Can we now segregate test matches for those grounds with technology and those without? Separate averages for batsmen and bowlers?

    All we have now is three peoples (umpires) opinions rather than just one, and that makes it more confusing and promotes more benefit of doubt decisions.

    Let's throw ALL the technology away, including for stumpings and runouts, and go back to the way that appeared to more or less work OK for a century or so. That way CricInfo wont have to produce it's lists with the "without Zimbabwe and Bangladesh" or "pre-Hawkeye" or "pre-covered wickets" or whatever as caveats.