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ICC trials instant replays for third umpire

Nagraj Gollapudi

July 18, 2013

Comments: 72 | Text size: A | A

Stuart Broad edged to slip but was given not out, England v Australia, 1st Investec Test, Trent Bridge, 3rd day, July 12, 2013
A third umpire with access to instant replays could overrule obvious on-field mistakes © PA Photos

David Richardson, the ICC chief executive, has revealed a trial is underway during the current Ashes series to enhance the role of the third umpire by feeding him direct pictures that would avert controversial incidents like Stuart Broad getting away with a thick edge in the first Investec Test last week. Broad stood his ground having edged a ball from Ashton Agar, after the on-field umpire Aleem Dar failed to spot the deflection off the bat. Having spent all their reviews, Michael Clarke's Australia were left high and dry.

Speaking on the BBC's Test Match Special, Richardson admitted it was frustrating that, in the age of technology, Broad managed to escape. "It is, of course," Richardson said. "For that reason, up to the third Test, we have a trial going on, independent of what is happening on the field, to allow the third umpire to have a bank of televisions where he can actually choose and get access to the technology much quicker than he would if he simply relies on the director or producer sending him the pictures up to him. If we progress along these lines ... there is an opportunity for the third umpire to have the say and to overrule where he thinks an obvious mistake has been made."

Richardson stressed it was a long-term process but the ICC remained optimistic. "I don't think people should think it is going to be introduced for the next series," Richardson said. "It is at a very basic phase and we need to progress a lot further before we get it on board in a match."

Speaking on the unusual move by the ICC to reveal the assessment of the three umpires (Aleem Dar, Kumar Dharmasena and Marais Erasmus) and the various decisions they made during the Trent Bridge Test, Richardson reiterated that it was necessary bring the numbers out into open to erase certain doubts. However, he indicated that the ICC would not make it a norm to make the umpires assessment public.

"We will take on a case-by-case basis," Richardson said. "In this case we had put everything in perspective because it was an unusual Test match. There were so many decisions to be made, almost 75% more than normal." The ICC release had stated that the on-field umpires made a total of seven errors, three of which were uncorrected.

Not included in that list was a controversial ruling in favour of Australia debutant Ashton Agar, who was given not out when England appealed for a tight stumping. Richardson reasoned why it was not considered a mistake. "We have got a team of three who look at it," he said. "First of all the match referee. Then if there is a bit of doubt then it goes to Vince van der Bijl, our umpires' manager and then it goes to Geoff Allardice [the ICC's manager of cricket]. They all felt there was just that element of doubt: was his foot in the air, maybe there was a spike on the ground? So there was just not enough for the third umpire to give actually give the decision against the batsman."

Asked if there was scope for benefit of doubt in favour of the player Richardson said primarily the ICC was looking for definitive proof to make a decision, "as far as it is possible". He cited the example of the England of Joe Root, who was adjudged lbw at Lord's on Thursday morning. "Anyone other than maybe an English supporter would acknowledge that it was fractionally pad first. In which case the correct decision, unfortunately, is out," Richardson said.

Richardson followed that by revealing an aspect of how the umpires' assessment worked. "Let us say the on-field umpire had got it wrong, and he thought it was bat first," Richardson said. "Then we will mark that technically incorrect because we say, look, there must have been some doubt in your mind so you have actually made a good cricket decision. So we don't mark him in his personal records as having made a mistake. But technically it was an incorrect decision and we get it changed."

On Wednesday, the MCC's World Cricket Committee, restated its backing for the DRS while pointing out that to make the system much more streamlined, the ICC needed to take control of it. But Richardson was defensive about such a step.

"People say ICC should take complete control of technology," he said. "Today we have two Hot Spot cameras, some ball tracking cameras and a couple of slow-motions cameras. But next year there will be something else … there will be real-time Snickometer. Then next year there is something else. So in a way we don't want to hamper development. But it is going progress and it is going to become even more difficult to resist taking full advantage of the technology that gets developed. Our strategy has been: let us introduce technology but not on the basis they are just ball counters and coat hangers."

Richardson said that introducing various technologies into the game was never to make the role of the umpires obsolete. "We want them to be part of the game, the on-field umpires in particular, and that is why one of the reasons why we like the idea of them making the decision and then the players, if they really disagree, asking for it to be reviewed," Richardson said.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by jay57870 on (July 23, 2013, 12:05 GMT)

This ICC action of trialing instant replays is curiously similar to what baseball is pushing for in MLB. Even with its home in technology-driven USA, MLB has moved very cautiously. Technology for technology's sake is not desirable. MLB started with instant video replays for home runs - 'boundary' calls - in 2008 (same time as DRS). Yet its plans to expand video reviews to other areas - trapped catches, batted fair/foul plays, safe or out baserunning - have stalled because of complex issues with technologies, costs & implementation. Only balls & strikes are rightly off-limits for replay review (This should raise red flags about DRS for LBWs)! MLB is testing Hawk-Eye too, but the jury's still out. That's why MLB is carefully examining the expansion of an advanced instant video replay system by umpires in 2014. Hence ICC's move to trial instant replays is the right thing to do, given the big DRS controversy. It's incumbent upon ICC to deliver a credible & reliable review system!

Posted by funkybluesman on (July 22, 2013, 1:38 GMT)

I believe that Hawkeye can be produced very, very quickly. I could be wrong here, but I don't think so. If that's the case, then the moment there is an appeal for LBW, Hawkeye could already be producing a result and showing to the third umpire. If the onfield umpire gives it out and Hawkeye shows any green, then the third umpire gets in the ear of the onfield umpire to overturn it, and the same if it's given not out but has all red's. If it comes up umpires call then he stays silent.

Then the DRS for the players ONLY needs to be used for edges which are things the players can often tell, sometimes better than the umpires.

That would actually speed up the game, as there'd be less discussions with players about challenges and the 3rd umpire getting an instant Hawkeye feed then he could relay to the onfield umpire if he's got it wrong would be ultra-quick.

Posted by simpleguy2008 on (July 21, 2013, 11:51 GMT)

DRS for all teams should be implemented including for team india also with 5 reviews per innings.

Posted by rapidrg on (July 20, 2013, 12:43 GMT)

Cricket, its players, fans and all must realize that there were errors in umpiring decisions all along. The DRS has begun to help eliminate a number of them, but not everything is perfect. My question is why is each team restricted only to 2 reviews? 2 reviews for a full innings is quite small in number. Why not raise it to 5 and thereby have more dismissals reviewed for accuracy? Gives teams more freedom. No batsmen should be given out, if he is not out, and no bowler should be granted a wicket if the batsmen indeed is not out. It takes 1 bad decision to turn the match on its head. DRS should be used in maximum, and while increasing the reviews per innings, it can help prevent more errors in the future.

Posted by   on (July 20, 2013, 3:42 GMT)

The third umpire should be given more powers. If he has a suspicion, he should talk to the on field umpires. That would save time.

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (July 20, 2013, 0:02 GMT)

Now there is a match inside a match. Who is best at using the 2 DRS reviews. This match should be out of the game.

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (July 20, 2013, 0:01 GMT)

5 DRS reviews per innings should be the rule.

Posted by Zahidsaltin on (July 19, 2013, 23:59 GMT)

Dear David Richardson, May I ask why it is so that if it happens to an English player then remidial proceeding start without a days delay but if it happens to others then the cricket committee doesn't even notice. Just go through the last Sirilanka home series against Pakistan and try to observe the 21 wrong decisions by the umpires and see what you could do to avoid such mistakes and pathetic umpiring as by Devies and Gould in that series.

Posted by aus_trad on (July 19, 2013, 22:08 GMT)

@Munkeymomo - beg to differ. The rhetoric has always been that DRS is meant to eliminate the "howler". Clearly it has not done that effectively in this series (Broad, Rogers), therefore it does not work. There has to be a "3rd umpire override" facility, and it is heartening that ICC is moving towards that.

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