Investec Ashes 2013 July 16, 2013

Take DRS off players' hands - Haddin


Decision referrals should be taken out of the hands of players and left as a tool of international umpires, Australia's vice-captain Brad Haddin believes. A central and heroic figure in the closing passage of the Trent Bridge Test, Haddin also admitted he knew he had hit the ball that ended the match, and had no problem at all with Stuart Broad's decision not to walk after a much thicker edge on the third evening.

The drawbacks of a review system used by the players became clear at Trent Bridge, as the one most obvious errors was left to have a huge bearing on the result while a string of other more marginal calls were debated over due to the players' instincts to review anything they thought was out. As wicketkeeper, Haddin was a key man in Australia's flawed use of the system during the match, and said it was a consistent challenge to take emotion out of decision referrals.

"I personally think the umpires might as well use the reviews. I don't think they need to be in the players' hands, to be honest," Haddin said. "I see nothing wrong with what Stuart did. The umpire is there to make the decision and he has seen it different to everyone else.

"That's what the system was brought in for, the howler. The system is the same for both teams, we just haven't used it very well. That's the bottom line. We have to take emotion out of the decision and go on what we see. If you think it's out, challenge it. We obviously got it wrong this Test but it might be different next Test."

Haddin's views on the use of the system mirror those of the former umpire Daryl Harper, who said decisions should be left with the appointed decision-makers rather than turned into a tactical device by the players. "If this current system is the best we can come up with then something is wrong," Harper told The Advertiser. "If the reviews were taken out of the players' hands and given to the umpires then eventually the stronger performing umpires would emerge and be identified by the lesser number of reviewed decisions.

"In the third umpire's chair, a full time television umpiring analyst would act swiftly and without fear or favour. That is what the umpires wanted in the first place, five years ago. Once Australia frittered its reviews away with poor judgment, then the door was opened for a howler and Stuart Broad's non-dismissal was a howler."

Broad's reprieve was a telling moment of a great match, but so too was Haddin's innings on the final day, when he guided the tail to within 15 runs of victory before succumbing to the thinnest of edges behind from the bowling of James Anderson. Haddin made a calculated attack on Steven Finn, and said Australia had to do their best to tire Anderson, taking advantage of the fact that England rely on him so much more than any other bowler.

"Obviously Jimmy was the difference. He was at you the whole time. I had the opportunity when Finn came on to force the game a little bit," Haddin said. "I had the feeling England didn't really want to bowl him. I was always going to go then and see where it got to, see if they could bring Jimmy back quicker than they wanted to. In the end it worked against me, he got me in the end.

"He has shown over a long period of time that he has got a pretty big engine. It's obvious he is the one we've got to work through. He bowled extremely well in difficult conditions for fast bowlers. It's important to get him bowling a lot of overs. My mindset was to take the game to Finn because I had the feel England didn't really want to bowl him when the pressure was on."

Australia's response to pressure was variable across the match, but Haddin's innings reflected a fearless approach first taken by the 19-year-old debutant Ashton Agar. "He was pretty relaxed actually, bulletproof. A 19-year-old kid playing in his first Test match with no fear," Haddin said. "Whether he understood the enormity of the situation he just watched the ball, blocked the ones on the stumps and hit the ones off the stumps. He was just enjoying the whole time. He showed us how to play, he didn't play on reputation, he just played on watch the ball and hit it.

"He's a pretty intelligent kid, he knows what he's trying to do with the ball and the bat. It'll be interesting to see how he handles the second Test after all the emotion of your first Test."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • shankar on July 18, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    England MUST be penalized 5 runs for abusive use of DRS. Joe Root used DRS for LBW, as a tactical review after consulting with his partner. That is exactly the problem with DRS. Any player wanting to use DRS must use it WITHOUT consulting any other person. If you genuinely feel hard-done by the umpire, use DRS. But not for tactical purposes. Penalize the team that uses it for tactical purposes. England are 2 wickets down, and honestly I could not enjoy the 2 moments, because umpire's decision is no longer the final verdict. DRS is a not a joke, but its implementation is.

  • Bruce on July 18, 2013, 7:21 GMT

    The DRS was introduced to get rid of the howlers. It's never going to work if the captains and players insist on using it to try and get marginal calls to go their way. Don't blame Broad, don't blame Aleem Dar, don't blame the ICC - its not their fault the captain had used up his reviews by the time the howler came along...!!

  • Chris on July 18, 2013, 2:17 GMT

    Finchy63 - Great point which is why if DRS was implemented the way I see it, Dar would have signalled his intention to go upstairs, creating 30 seconds of tension and heart-attacks, and then at the end raised the finger. In another scenario, the 3rd umpire could have got on a call with Dar and said "hang on a sec, I think that one might have been wrong" but personally I like the former scenario where the umpire gets on a call with the 3rd umpire, but this is providing that DRS is tuned to be MUCH faster for the easier calls (<15 seconds) and more consistent (which it would be if there was a discussion with the field umpire and they had the last say). Ideally, a less than 30 second consultation on those line-ball decisions wouldn't slow the game down alot, PLUS we'd get back to the real cricket tradition of the umpire giving a batsman the finger rather than a screen (except in run outs) and brings back the celebration of when a batsmen is out, they're out. No more half-celebrations.

  • John on July 18, 2013, 2:07 GMT

    Sorry, salman.ali.rai, but without going any further than this match your proposals fall down.

    First, why have you arbitrarily selected catches as being allowed unlimited reviews, but LBWs some (unspecified) limit? A poor review is a poor review, whatever it's for.

    Second, your proposal on LBWs is that only the place the ball pitched and any contact with the bat be checked. However, where the ball hit the batsman is also one of the requirements and, most importantly, whether the ball would have hit the wicket. Under your scenario Bell would have been out even though the ball was clearly missing the stumps.

    It seems to me that your proposals were put together to accommodate the Broad situation without thinking about what else would be involved. Back to the drawing board.

  • Dummy4 on July 18, 2013, 1:19 GMT

    Have to agree with Haddin. Take it out of the player's hands. Test cricket is such that there is time after each ball for the third umpire to watch a replay. If he sees something that looks wrong, as all us armchair experts are also able to see, he can whisper into the on-field umpire's ear to hold up play while he reviews it further, thus ensuring that the correct decision is made. Very simple and will eliminate all howlers and 99% of other errors. Also eliminates the situation where player's have to decide whether or not it is worth risking a challenge on something they are not sure of. Also reduces time wasting as frivolous challenges no longer occur. At the end of the day the important thing is getting as many decisions correct as possible.

  • Vaibhav on July 17, 2013, 21:05 GMT

    They need to take the reviews out of captains/players hand and leave it on umpires(including third umpire).. Why are we not using Third Umpire effectively ? If it is an howler, then third umpire can immediately correct the on field umpire. And in case of on field umpire's having slightest of the doubts, then they need to immediately ask third umpire to check if the decision is correct.. I don't think time is a problem in test cricket..

  • H on July 17, 2013, 19:41 GMT


    Of course the issue with "Umpire's Call" is when different umpires give very similar decisions different ways. This wouldn't actually be any different with third umpires (Oxenford gave Bell out stumped in the Champions Trophy final while Erasmus said Agar was not out in very similar circumstances).

    That's why I think if people's objection is that almost identical decisions are being decided differently (and I agree with that; Root lbw to Starc was turned down, but Watson, and worse still, Rogers from around the wicket, were given) I understand their resentment. I hate seeing inconsistency as much as anyone.

    The problem is, I'm not sure giving the power to the third umpire would cause any more consistency in decisions. Trusting HawkEye, warts and all, accepting margin of error and making it the same for every side, should do.

    We can't eliminate bad decisions, but if we can ensure a) more right ones and b) more consistency, so all sides are judged equally, why not?

  • H on July 17, 2013, 19:34 GMT

    @salman.ali.rai We do see people argue about HawkEye more than hotspot, which is weird because hotspot is less reliable than HawkEye. A good example is the Root nick down the legside. There was a noise. It was given out. Hotspot didn't show any mark. Doesn't mean he didn't hit it (I don't think he did, but several Australian fans have argued he did based on the noise, and that's fair enough).

    Besides, there were plenty of complaints about the hotspot in this one, trust me. If it wasn't the Haddin nick (which he has confirmed) it was the Clarke one. Feels like the complaints about HawkEye from the BCCI have convinced people of falsehoods.

    It's not 100% accurate. But the margin of error is very very small (5mm on average based on Tests conducted by the MCC) as long as the batsman isn't struck 2 metres or more from the stumps. And even then the margin is 25mm. Which is less than a stump's width. That's why clipping reviews are "umpire's call" (which covers 45mm).


  • Andrew on July 17, 2013, 17:29 GMT

    I really don't agree with Haddin's position. In my mind, it would place an incredible amount of extra pressure on the umpire, leading to player clashes, and player/umpire clashes. Imagine the scenario in the two decisions at Trent Bridge. Dar gives Broad not out - now, maybe he sees the Aussie reaction and thinks 'ok, I should review this.' But he gave Broad not out, so if he chooses not to review it, suddenly the Aussie are pressuring him, instead of kicking themselves that they used up the last review for the Pattinson LBW shout. Then for the Haddin review to end the game, if it's solely in the umpire's hands, this time with a far less obvious nick, and with Anderson not really appealing - the umpire does not go for the review, and Cook, Prior etc begin pressuring him to do so. I say leave it to the captains as is, and they need to learn to use them better, as Strauss, Cook have done. Maybe have the umpire have one review per innings.

  • Salman on July 17, 2013, 15:49 GMT

    H_Z_O: I don't oppose what you're saying. Sure the DRS can simply give it out once it is confirmed that the ball is hitting the stumps (doesn't matter by how much) but I am sure many people wouldn't be satisfied with the ball tracking/path prediction feature of HawkEye. Folks in India oppose DRS mainly because the HawkEye is unreliable. I haven't seen people objecting to HawkEye's ability to tell us if the ball pitched outside leg or not or the hotspot showing an edge or not (some exceptions are there such as Trot dismissal) but we do see people arguing if the technology is good enough to predict what's going to happen after the ball pitches. Anyways I hope we do see a major improvement in the administration of the DRS.