'On-field umpires should be respected' - Jayawardene
Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, feels that the new umpire decision review system that will be implemented on a trial basis during the home Test series against India next month should be utilized in a manner that shows respect to the on-field umpires. Jayawardene said he welcomed the trial but admitted that it would place more responsibility on the captains.
"In general, the system will be good for the game as it will reduce the scope for mistakes," Jayawardene told Cricinfo. "But you need to do it in a respectful way. The on-field umpires are human, after all. They do make mistakes, just as everybody else does, and we should respect that during the trial. We should be clear that the idea is only to reduce the mistakes."
Jayawardene revealed that his team would be holding extensive discussions prior to the series on how to utilise the system in the "best manner possible". "We will take the views of everybody on what is best for the team. We want to keep it simple and not make it into a complicated issue."
He dismissed suggestions that the system would mean extra pressure on the captain, but admitted that it will bring in added responsibility. "It seems so. Especially because you have three chances and the captain takes the call for the fielding side. But while batting, others share the responsibility - it's the batsman who has to take the call and maybe, he can consult his partner before doing so."
David Richardson, the ICC's acting chief executive, said that the decision to trial the system during India's visit to Sri Lanka is "an attempt by the ICC to enhance still further the game at the international level".
"The system will see the fielding and batting side allowed three unsuccessful appeals to the umpire per innings to change a decision if it is perceived to have been incorrect," the ICC said in a press release. "These appeals can be made only by the batsman in receipt of the umpire's original decision or the captain of the fielding side, in both cases by the player making a 'T' sign with both forearms at shoulder height.
"The on-field umpire will consult with the third umpire, who will review available television coverage of the incident before relaying fact-based information back to his colleague. The on-field umpire will then deliver his decision either by raising his finger to indicate "out" or by crossing his hands in a horizontal position side to side in front and above his waist three times - as per a "safe" decision by an official in baseball."
The BCCI said on Monday that it has agreed to implement the trial for the three-Test series from July 23 to August 12.
Ajay Shankar is deputy editor of Cricinfo in Bangalore