The Investec Ashes 2013

Umpires have 'cracked under pressure' - Haddin

Brydon Coverdale

August 19, 2013

Comments: 76 | Text size: A | A

Alastair Cook watches an edge loop off Brad Haddin and short of slip, England v Australia, 3rd Investec Test, Old Trafford, 2nd day, August 2, 2013
Brad Haddin is unimpressed with the standard of umpiring this Ashes © AFP
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Australia's vice-captain Brad Haddin has questioned the standard of umpiring throughout the Ashes series and believed that on-field officials were second-guessing themselves because of the presence of DRS. Haddin also reiterated the call he made after the first Test at Trent Bridge to have the review system taken out of the hands of the players and left at the sole discretion of the umpires.

Haddin was clearly upset when he was given out lbw by umpire Tony Hill in Australia's second innings in Chester-le-Street, where he tried to work a Stuart Broad delivery to leg. Haddin asked for a review and the umpire's call stood after HawkEye suggested the ball would have just grazed the very top and edge of the leg bail. When asked what it was he had said to the umpire as he walked off, Haddin said he had muttered the words: "Not again".

Haddin was quick to point out the umpiring had not been the cause of Australia's disappointing scoreline in the series and he commended England for having performed better, but he said that both teams would likely feel that the standard of officiating in the series had been below-par. Hill particularly was under the spotlight in the fourth Test, where he made a number of incorrect decisions, but all the officials have erred throughout the series.

"I think England deserve to be in the position they are at 3-0. I think they've played the better cricket," Haddin said. "But in all honesty, I think the standard of the umpiring in this series has been something that they could have a look at. I know players deal with pressure in different situations and some guys respond to it and some don't. I think with the umpiring in this series, there have been times when they have cracked under the pressure of a campaign like [this].

"I think DRS has put too much pressure on the umpires on the field. I think they're second-guessing themselves with their decisions ... I should've hit it [in Chester-le-Street]. But I think from both teams we've had some things that we've sat back and said 'how can this be happening?'."

Teams haven't always had to sit back and say it - they can do so out on the field while the replays are unfolding live on the big screen. After a review, the umpires and players typically stand around the pitch in their own little groups and watch the big-screen replay, which often brings plenty of jeering from the crowd if the umpire was shown to have made a mistake.

"I do think it does place pressure on the umpires because the crowd react," Haddin said of the replays. "If it's a home crowd here they're always going to lean towards England. I do think DRS has put a lot of pressure on the umpires on the field. I've gone on record before saying it should be taken out of the players' hands and let the umpires deal with it. If they think it needs to go upstairs, let them go upstairs."

There are also questions over whether umpires would make the same decisions for the same deliveries, depending on whether a team still holds reviews or not. If, for example, an Australian bowler appeals with no reviews left, and the England batsmen still have reviews available, an umpire might feel more inclined to give a line-ball decision out because England have the option of challenging, whereas Australia do not.

"I think the umpires are aware where DRS is at, who's got one left or who's got none left, and I think it can influence their decision," Haddin said. "I think it needs to be taken out of the players' hands, and let the umpires have total control. The bottom line is you just want to have more decisions right than not. You don't want to be talking about DRS or umpire decisions in such a big series."

The fifth Test at The Oval begins on Wednesday with Aleem Dar and Kumar Dharmasena standing as the on-field officials and Hill as the TV umpire. Together with Marais Eramsus, they are the only four members of the ICC's Elite Panel of umpires who are able to stand in an Ashes series, as the remaining eight men on the panel are either from England or Australia.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by SarathW on (August 21, 2013, 1:26 GMT)

Poor Aussies can not stomach defeat. Haddin obviously has a poor memory.Mcgrath had to only say who he is targeting and the Aussie umpires obliged. The umpires almost destroyed Andrew Struss's carrier when he toured Australia for the first time.His first three dismissals were dubious.For decades Aussie umpires gave dubious decisions and things did not improve with neutral umpires as well in Australia. Remember the series against India when Harabajan changed things?I am sure Haddin played in that series.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 19:39 GMT)

So the ball hit his pad and was going on to hit the stumps. The umpire thought it was - DRSA thought it was - he was out. And yet he's whinginh. This "1/2 a ball" stuff is nonsense. 999 times out of 1000 the ball only has to clip the very edge of the stump and you're bowled. So why give the batters an extra inch and a half off both sides of the stumps and off the top. Shrinking the stumps by 3 inches side to side and 1/2 inces top to bottom. If it's going to's going to hit - and you're out. In Haddins case umpire said out, DRS said out - he was out - yet he still has a whinge. It's a batsmans game alright. Somehow they've convinced the ICC to shrink the stumps for LBW now - and batsmen have got a feeling of "entitlement" about it very quickly...whatever next? Wider bats? Not caught if you didn't mean to hit it? Nonsense!

Posted by AllanofSouza on (August 20, 2013, 16:18 GMT)

Haddin's argument about the umpires is ridiculous because the example he is giving of him being given out was actually 'OUT'. Giving the onfield umpires the DRS is not going to solve all the problem. Here's a scenerio, umpires give Haddin LBW and is 100% sure he is out so does not need the DRS. Haddin think he insn't. Problem. With teams having reviews, it makes beeter sense as you have more power to overide the umpire's decision. DRS the way it is is fine. There were some bad third umpre decisions that should never have happened. No fault of DRS. Let the games begin.

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

I don't understand the logic behind umpire's call. Hawkeeye is only a calculation so the projected path is just an approximation, but surely it is more accurate than the what umpire predicts off his naked eye. But for technology used for where ball is pitched or hits - isn't that tracked by the camera - so shouldn't this be almost 100% accurate. So why does an umpire, whose call is based off a naked eye generally (so I am ignoring shockers) determines the decision used by DRS.

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (August 20, 2013, 11:54 GMT)

1) Take reviews out of the hands of players. It's being used as a tactic to try and overturn 50:50 decisions at critical moments of games.

2) Have specially trained 3rd umpires. It's a special skill to interpret what is seen on the screen and make a decision.

3) Allow the 3rd umpire to intervene if an obvious error has been made.

4) Don't show the replays on the big screen.

We are not ever going to get perfection, but eliminating the howler is possible if these 4 changes are followed.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (August 20, 2013, 9:07 GMT)

Why dont we just fire the onfield umpires (saving billions!) & only have a 3rd umpire in a studio somewhere. Just use a coat/hat rack behind the stumps which the mid-on/off could move behind the stumps during the over changeover. Also change the rules so instead of the usual appeal, the bowler must perform a backflip over the stumps in order to appeal (this will assure the game doesnt slow up too much).

Posted by ModernUmpiresPlz on (August 20, 2013, 8:49 GMT)

I think it says it all that 66% of the elite panel are either Australian or English. Having the neutral umpire rule is the same as saying we truly believe there will be decisions given that favour a particular country, even in our most elite group of umpires we can possibly assemble. Quality message, right?

And if Hill and Dharmaseena remain as part of the elite panel it would be more like saying anyone can be an umpire on the elite panel, it doesn't really matter what decisions you make. Just guess and you could end up on the elite panel too.

Oh and for the front foot no ball thing. Can anybody possibly mount an argument as to why it has NOT been made the third umpires job to watch a running feed on the no ball lines (yes, plural, there are two lines for a no ball). After the fact checking is ridiculous, and it would allow the on field umpires to perform much better. Number of no balls missed is through the roof, especially on the back foot no balls. It's a rule for a reason.

Posted by Insult_2_Injury on (August 20, 2013, 4:35 GMT)

Lotta sense in what you say Smithie. Time the ICC put their reputation where their technology is. If the ICC believe that DRS in it's current format is adequate enough to determine a players' innings and that the player has a right to say that the umpires decision is not final, then it's time for the ICC to say any of the 12 umpires on their independent panel can umpire any game regardless of their nationality.

Posted by landl47 on (August 20, 2013, 4:33 GMT)

I'm with Haddin that all reviews should be in the hands of the umpires. Incidentally, the article mentions one of the problems, which could easily be solved: the players stand around in groups (with drinks brought in from the boundaries) waiting for the decision. The rule should be that the players must prepare for the next ball to be bowled immediately in the event that the review decision is 'not out'. If it's 'out' they have a couple of minutes to celebrate while the next batsman comes in anyway. That would reduce time wasted to a minimum. Anyone not ready would be in breach of Law 42 and penalized accordingly.

By the way, if Haddin's decision at ClS had been taken by the 3 umpires, he'd still have been out. The decision that would have been different was Bresnan being given 'not out' and that might have had an influence on the game.

Posted by Thegimp on (August 20, 2013, 2:53 GMT)

@Optic....Mate, I don't think anyone suggests that Aust have been the better side or deserve anything more than what has happenned. We knew we were in for a thumping but have been quietly excited about the prospect that we could have actually snatched a couple of tests. Most Aussies I know acknowledge that a strong England is good for the game. What is disappointing is the reaction from a few Poms (including some of the players). All of a sudden you have a competitive side and you turn into peacocks. Heaven help us all if you manage to win a football World Cup!!!!

All that people in this post are saying including Hadden is that the Umpiring and DRS has a lot to answer for.

Posted by   on (August 20, 2013, 1:51 GMT)

only eight elite umpires and four from england and Aus . what is the BCCI thinking ... oops no I meant ICC

Posted by bobagorof on (August 20, 2013, 1:40 GMT)

I have yet to hear a compelling reason why the on-field umpire's decision has any bearing on the third umpire's ruling when using the DRS. In the case of clearly out or clearly not-out, there is no problem (usually. Khawaja may say otherwise). But in the case of balls fractionally hitting the stumps or just grazing the bails using HawkEye, the administrators need to back the more accurate system. Whether the on-field umpire was right or not shouldn't change the end result. In fact, relying on the on-field umpire's decision means that incorrect close calls will stand - bad umpiring overrules the DRS and results in an incorrect decision, rather than the DRS overruling bad umpiring as was intended.

Posted by wellrounded87 on (August 20, 2013, 1:22 GMT)

@Optic The stumping was a marginal call and you could easily argue that part of his foot was behind the line. Hardly a howler by any means.

By my count of the series there have been 4 absolute howlers, with Khawaja's being the worst call i've ever seen in cricket. 3 of those howlers have gone against Australia 1 against England.

Questionable calls went about 8 in favour of England 5 in favour of Australia.

All in all i think if all the correct calls were made the result would be pretty much the same, though we'd probably have Trent Bridge but still lost at Lords and Old Trafford. We didn't really deserve a win at Trent Bridge anyway if not for a number 11 debutant getting 98 runs we would never have been in it, not exactly deserving of a test match victory

I think 3-0 is reflective of where the two teams are at, though AUS were unlucky at Lords really should be 3-1. Till Australia's batting improves we will struggle to win test matches let alone series.

Posted by android_user on (August 19, 2013, 23:33 GMT)

just cause haddin himself cant use it right. the only thing that needs to change is allow snicko for drs use and have guidelines that determines whats out (i.e. snicko must show a sharp noise at a certain wavelength) and hotspot must show a mark with synchronisation to snicko... having predetermined guidelines to whats out and not out is essential.

also if umpires are so easily overwhelmed by pressure maybe new umpires need to take the role. especially the third umpires.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 22:53 GMT)

anyone who think ausi/english elite umpires are better than the rest.. they probably dont see games involving these umpires

Posted by sailboatmike on (August 19, 2013, 22:17 GMT)

Just how funny is that, Haddin complaining about the Umpires when the DRS showed he was out, If I remember correctly under the LBW rule even if the the ball is just clipping the top of the leg bail it still OUT, so he is complaining about the standard of the umpires when the review shows they gave the correct decision.

How he must yearn for the old days when playing in Australian under Aussie umpires when if you were Australian and it wasnt hitting the middle of middle stump then it was not out, the unfortunate thing is it didnt go the same way for the visitors

Time for the Aussies to stop whinging and blaming everything else but their own inept play and take the hard decisions like dumping the likes of Watson, Clarke and Haddin and work out a way to actually win a game

Posted by android_user on (August 19, 2013, 22:00 GMT)

The other thing is that questioning of umpiring decisions by players has to stop... Cook was out of line on that Chris Rogers review and its amazing how far the disrespect towards umpires by players has gotten, the ICC really need to do something about that or soon we will having players refuse to walk when they are given out...

Posted by android_user on (August 19, 2013, 21:56 GMT)

The on field umpires have actually been to a better standard than the one using the DRS... To real howlers from the on field umpire isn't that bad.. I still remember Andrew Symonds smashing it to first slip and being given not out, then the same thing happening with mike hussey the next game... The way the DRS has been used considering its purpose has been a joke... That includes the randomness of close lbw calls and the confusion around how final decisions are made when it really should be clear to all..

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 21:53 GMT)


<<Agar was clearly stumped when he was on 6

No he wasn't. It wasn't clear at all. There was some doubt.

He got the benefit of that doubt. The way it should be.

Posted by popcorn on (August 19, 2013, 21:22 GMT)

Benefit of doubt MUST GO THE BATSMAN - NOT THE UMPIRE. How can the same ball be both out or not out on review depending on the on-field official's original decision?

Posted by HawK89 on (August 19, 2013, 21:01 GMT)

I think the umpires should be treated like players, based on performances. I saw the Semis and Finals of the FriendsT20 and I saw some very good umpiring there. At the international level, I see the same umpires with the often mistakes. Someone needs to get well performing umpires at county/domestic to the international scene.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 20:56 GMT)

completely agree with Haddin about the suggestion of leaving decision making and DRS referrals to the umpires. That's the way run outs/ stumping decisions are settled in the modern game. If umpires have a doubt in their mind, they should consult the tv umpire. This will improve the accuracy of the decision and also contain the on field malarkey about challenges and no. of referrals. Seriously! cricket needs to move on...

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 20:50 GMT)

Letting go of the concept of neutral umpires wouldn't solve much IMO. ICC turned to neutral umpires because the local umpires had a much more tendency of leaning towards the home side in crunch situations than the neutral umpires. We all know that we can never reach a 100% correct decision rate and even if we have local umpires in the game, it wouldn't stop the opposing team to play the blame game if they get a rough decision. ICC should be more strict on the umpires, even penalizing if they make a blunder. Also some commentators made some excellent suggestions which can be implemented.

Posted by popcorn on (August 19, 2013, 20:28 GMT)

It is disappointing that ICC and the Test Umpires are not publicly owning up their mistakes.

Posted by gandabhai on (August 19, 2013, 20:25 GMT)

SCRAP Drs , THE goal should be to get the BEST decisions as much and as often as possible and then work towards a plan to achieve this . As cricket fans , we deserve that.

Posted by 2MikeGattings on (August 19, 2013, 19:36 GMT)

@PACERONE Get your facts straight. CA contacted the ICC to ask for "clarification" about a recent dismissal, and the Australia PM weighed in via twitter.

Posted by Rahulbose on (August 19, 2013, 18:53 GMT)

Howler review system has failed on all fronts in this series. It generates more controversy than regular umpiring mistakes. It introduces new categories of umpiring errors through technological error (hot spot) and technology interpretation errors. Removing it from players hands has been tried in Aus (surprising that Haddin doesn't know this) and it failed miserably there as well.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 18:18 GMT)

I think that one improvement for DRS would be to remove the LBW review entirely. What the umpire says is the final decision; good or bad. The only exception is when a batsman informs the umpire he has struck the ball - only then may the blunder be overturned.

Posted by GenuineNumber11 on (August 19, 2013, 18:10 GMT)

I don't think that placing DRS in the hands of umpires is a particularly good policy as umpires would end up referring everything just to make sure they don't make an error.

Umpires have been able to use the third umpire for run outs for some time. This has taken out the howler decisions, but now umpires refer pretty much all run out decisions, even if the batsman is a meter out of the crease. This is fine as it is only one type of decision and judging the close run out decisions was an absolute crap shoot.

If all decisions were referable by the on-field umpires though, they would refer everything (so as not to look like idiots if they got one wrong). This would greatly slow down the game and pretty much make the on-field umpire's job null and void.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 15:39 GMT)

Leaving DRS reviews to the standing umpires a la Haddin makes absolutely no sense. Why would an umpire want to review his own decision? We already see standing umpires calling for third umpire reviews of run-outs and stumping appeals that they would have confidently given or rejected a few years back. Leave the reviews to them and they will always 'play safe'. 'Smithie's suggestions make a lot of sense, as do those regarding the inadequacies of the 'on-field umpires call' protocol. As to the quality of the umpires in this series, wasn't umpire Dar considered amongst the best in the world until the present series - can't have 'gone off' that quickly.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 15:19 GMT)

We all want the correct decisions in test matches, right? I agree that in Ashes tests the two umpires could be one each from Eng and Aus, with a neutral one. The three umpires should also alternate during a test to keep them fresh especially where India is involved and the DRS is not used. What really makes me cross are the so-called "howlers". The DRS has to a large extent eliminated that. If the DRS system is not in use or a team has used up its reviews and a batsman is convinced that the decision was obviously repeat obviously wrong he should be allowed to ask the umpire to review the decision. If the batsman is still found to be out, his team should be penalised with 20 runs. Teams can complain as they like, but they often misuse the system, as one writer correctly states for "tactical advantage" reasons. When it bites them, they cry foul. Players play bad shots, like Haddin did at CLS, and then blame the system. He would have been given by most umpires, DRS or not.

Posted by SteveBrook on (August 19, 2013, 14:27 GMT)

Can we not get rid of DRS altogether? There are too many reasons to list here why the system is poor but this summer has seen umpiring decline to the point where their presence and authority had reached an all-time low. I'm not going to tell the cricketing authorities how to do their job but there's 4 umpires at a test match who have at their disposal numerous camera angles, slo-mo cameras, hotspot, snicko and hawkeye. Put all reviews in the hands of the umpires (not the players) before they become bean-counting coat stands.

Posted by Westmorlandia on (August 19, 2013, 14:13 GMT)

The umpires should be very clear that their decision-making - in particular benefit of the doubt going to the batsman - shouldn't change because of DRS. If their decisions are overturned (because DRS doesn't do "benefit of the doubt"), that shouldn't be a problem for anyone.

It is possible that the way their decisions are measured and assessed by the ICC needs to be looked at as well. If umpires just get +1 for every decision uphelp by DRS and -1 for every decision overturned (as it were), they are going to stop giving batsmen the benefit of the doubt and go on the balance of probabilities. That would actually lead to more inconsistency, and this is possibly what we are starting to see.

I don't see how getting English and Aussie umpires involved is the solution, unless we are saying that the elite panel has tiers within it, and the non-English/Aussie ones aren't good enough for big games. But all elite umpires should be good enough for all games, surely?

Posted by Hatter_Mad on (August 19, 2013, 14:10 GMT)

With DRS in place I see no reason to bar home (or away) umpires from standing. Allow English/Australian umpires to stand in Ashes matches and I would hope that standards improve - why bar a significant percentage of the elite panel from participating?

Posted by 2.14istherunrate on (August 19, 2013, 13:36 GMT)

He is not wrong. Staggeringly poor umpiring by all of the officials in this series,in particular those upstairs. I do not think there are excuses for the third upire, and all the onfield umpires need eyetests. The paucity of adequate upires outside Eng ahnd Aus is appalling considering none of those umpiring these tests is any good. The whole system needs looking at.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 13:25 GMT)

I think removal of umpire's call would be a good idea. The benefit of the doubt can be built in. Select an amount of ball that has to hit the stump, 1/3 or 1/4, if that much is hitting, it's out, less it's not out.

One free review, after a failed review you can take more, but further unsuccessful ones cost 10 runs.

The situation is no worse than India refusing to use DRS because their crowds pressure umpires into mistakes in India's favour.

I think using one Aussie and one English umpire with a neutral 3rd umpire might be the way to go for ashes tests.

Posted by Optic on (August 19, 2013, 12:46 GMT)

@ irishwolfhound I think you'll find in that first test it was poor umpiring against England that even made the game close. Agar was clearly stumped when he was on 6, he was the only thing keeping Oz in the game at the time, without that wrong call Aus would have been smashed that Test match, just like they was in the second. Trott also got a stinker of a umpiring call as well that game. It's amazing that some whinging Ozzies have peddled such a myth that they almost believe it themselves. I think you'll find that there's been about the same number of poor calls on both sides but because Oz are getting thumped, they are being all noisy about it.

Posted by PACERONE on (August 19, 2013, 12:39 GMT)

Umpires are under pressure when England is involved.The English management are the only ones continually showing up at their room asking for explanations for decisions given.This practice should be forbidden.I also think that if the ball is shown to be hitting the stumps then it should be out.As for neutral umpires there is no need for this to be happening in games that the DRS is used.

Posted by Optic on (August 19, 2013, 12:37 GMT)

@ Ozcricketwriter There was nothing guaranteed about what would have happened at OT at all. Tbh you're reaching and a bit deluded in everything you say. How many times have England saved games than that one in recent years, quite a few. Only the other month we saved a game in NZ from a worse position. As for umpiring calls, I think you'll find England have been on the end of plenty themselves, so what you say is totally one eyed at best. Even if the umpires got everything around it wouldn't change the score line of this series.For example Agar should have been out stumped in the first test on 6, in the same test Trott got a bad TV umpiring call. If we go on to OT, the game you say you defo should have won, KP was on 100 odd at the time he was wrongly given out, when replays showed hotpot mark and then Snicko confirmed he got an edge on it. At the time you lot didn't look like getting him out and he could have easily got a huge score. This is no more than the usual Aus whinging, man up

Posted by Paul_JT on (August 19, 2013, 12:11 GMT)

Whilst it is fair to say the standard of umpiring has been below the normal high levels and HotSpot has been inconsistent, the players have been far from helpful. Too many challenges have been speculative. The batsmen or fielding captain has challenged given the state of the match, instead of whether the decision has grounds to be overturned. Challenges should be limited to one per innings, but not lost for Umpire's Call. DRS is for correcting mistakes not tactical advantage.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 11:59 GMT)

If there was DRS in times of Dickey Bird, I am sure he too would look like an ordinary umpire. You cant let a player have the same authority as the umpire.

Posted by ozziemandias on (August 19, 2013, 11:58 GMT)

In my opinion the DRS shouldn't be there to just get rid of the howlers. If we are going to use the technology then use it to get the correct decision as often as is possible within the limits of the technologies. Obviously umpires will make mistakes, they are human. However the benefit of the doubt must always go to the batsman. There should be 3 possible outcomes from a review - Clearly Out, Clearly Not Out and Benefit of the Doubt Not Out. If the technologies available can not conclusively show the batsman is out then they must get the benefit of the doubt. Forget the umpires call decisions for LBW and develop a protocol to quantify the uncertainty of Hawkeye based on distance from pitching to hitting the pad, and distance from hitting the pad to the stumps, and allow the batsman the benefit of the doubt. Automatically review Out decisions as the batsman is leaving the field to ensure it is a legal delivery and no glaring error is detected. Take some of the pressure off the umpires.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 11:56 GMT)

I don't often agree with much that Haddin has to say but I agree when he sais the umpires are cracking under pressure. The constant fear of making a mistake after the problems with the DRS in the first two tests is showing. I also think it is time to allow at least one home umpire to officiate in tests.

Posted by azzaman333 on (August 19, 2013, 11:48 GMT)

Brad should be more worried about his pathetic batting and his abysmal keeping than the poor umpiring. If he was from anywhere but NSW he'd be under enormous scrutiny for his performances.

Posted by whatawicket on (August 19, 2013, 11:38 GMT)

i can understand haddins problem with the lbw decision but according to the rules used, he was out. if he been given out without the drs use in the match. it may still have been given out.

Posted by Mervo on (August 19, 2013, 11:33 GMT)

Well said and pretty accurate. The umpiring standard has been the lowest I have witnessed for many many years. And StraightHit pathetic losses? One was the other two were in the balance and close contests were England fell over the line after being behind most of the game and was saved by rain in the other.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 11:28 GMT)

Well they say that the majority of top umpires in World Cricket are either English or Australian. Maybe for the forthcomming Ashes down under, they should consider having one from each country on the field, then a neutral 3rd umpire upstairs. This is the first series that i've seen so many flaws in the DRS system. But for the teams themselves, with the exception of Ian Bell and Chris Rogers, there hasn't really been any consistancy with the bat from either team, with the Aussies fearing worst overall. Some credit must go to the bowlers, but the batting has helped them with careless shot-selection. Barring injury England won't make that many changes for the winter-tour, but Australia need to address that middle order. I'd stick with Rogers/Warner to open and Clarke batting four. I like the ability of Watson and Steve Smith, but can't rely on their temperament at Test Level to go on after getting starts.

Posted by Sultan2007 on (August 19, 2013, 11:28 GMT)

The thought going though my mind is the way refereeing is done in the game of baseball. The skill it takes to call a strike or a ball is immense. And batters and pitchers fully respect the calls. Can you imagine if the referee's call was challenged using technology?The margins are so fine that the mismatches with technolgy would be huge. And then imagine what this would do to the confidence of umpires who today, follow their instinct with freedome! Cricket is somewhat different but also similar. It scares me that not only on field umpires but now also, TV umpires, are "freezing" over decisions

Posted by razaqaiser on (August 19, 2013, 11:21 GMT)

The controversy goes on. I think the 3rd Umpire should have the power of taking a suo moto action in case of even a small doubt. Since ICC is working on live replays available for umpire, this power could help making decisions. Moreover, the umpires should be given training on Video Games helping them enhance their judgmental power specially in case of LBWs. There is a need for increasing the elite panel considering the amount of cricket being played. Where are ex Indian cricketers to join this panel.

Posted by CricketChat on (August 19, 2013, 11:17 GMT)

If Brad feels umpiring is not to blame for their pathetic losses in the series, why raise the issue in the middle of it? These type of statements coming from the vice captain of the squad will only add to whatever pressure umpires are facing till now. A more reflective statement of the state of their fortunes would be, "Aussie batsmen have cracked under pressure".

Posted by TomPrice on (August 19, 2013, 11:12 GMT)

I have zero sympathy for Haddin, who was correctly given out at the Riverside, and has persistently heaped pressure on umpires himself by challenging their decisions on the field and in the media. But if he wanted to encourage the Barmy Army to make even more noise down under than they did in 2010/11 then he couldn't have said anything more appropriate.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 11:11 GMT)

If you change the rules, then you change the game. Wait for the end of the series, review what has happened and make the *obvious* changes.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 11:01 GMT)

Pleased that a player taking part in the Ashes has spoken about the umpiring which was veered from poor (at best) to utter incompetence. There have been worst umpired series (Pakistan v England 1987-8 immediately comes to mind) but this series has been worse in the sense of having technology available and yet still being unable to make correct decisions which have affected all four matches to varying degrees. Given the nationality makeup of the elite umpires (though to call those who have officiated in this series "elite" offends the word) is it not time to return to having onfield umpires (ideally one apiece from the countries involved) and a neutral third umpire perhaps with the match referee having the final say in contentious decisions? There is also the matter of player behaviour to consider which most of the time is acceptable, but can and does become tantamount to bullying when appeals go up.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 10:59 GMT)

I think it's time we just put the best umpires in charge of Ashes Tests. As an Aussie fan, I can't imagine having enjoyed Ashes Tests as much without such characters as Shep and Dick Bird. I'd be happy for English umpires to stand in Ashes Tests... and I feel bad Simon Taufel and other Aussie umpires have had so few opportunities... Time to put the best umpires in charge... not just the only 4 available

Posted by Samdanh on (August 19, 2013, 10:57 GMT)

Agreed. As I have been proposing in this forum earlier, marginal calls followed by referrals with hawk-eye indicating balls hitting bails or brushing side of leg or off stumps should be given out irrespective of on field umpires' decisions. This change will bring about an uniformity of approach to decisions, also averting the "luck" factor. No team will have cause to feel aggrieved On the other hand, batsmen like Watson and Haddin should bat better and more so with a straight bat when conditions favour bowlers, at least till they settle down and have spent an hour or so at the crease

Posted by Sultan2007 on (August 19, 2013, 10:52 GMT)

Change invariably results in unintended consequence. Through DRS, the driving objective was obviously to get more accurate umpiring decisions. The unintended consequences of which are, change in pad play technique; benefit of doubt to the batsmen no longer the case; deterioration in umpires' confidence and psychology - would anyone be happy being put to examination in public glare? Perhaps the objective set for the DRS was too "broad" and therefore, too ambitious in the short term. In think the right approach would be to have an incredibly clealy defined and limited objective for what DRS is trying to solve for in the near term. The objective could be as simple as "Prevent the howler". Then, the process through which DRS is administered on the field can be appropriately set out. We should move forward in bite sized chunks!

Posted by Flighted_kiwi on (August 19, 2013, 10:51 GMT)

It amazes me how simplistic some of the responses to the umpiring situation are. To say umpiring has cost Australia is a nonsense. The decisions haven't been one-sided & the Australian batting collapses have been a major factor. Sure there have been some issues with DRS but if it wasn't there a number of the 'disputed' decisions would have stood anyway as the umpire initially gave them out. The notion that having the 8 Australian & English umpires available would necessarily improve anything is flawed. 5 of them are the least experienced umpires on the panel with between 4 & 9 tests each. It does raise some questions about the ICC & their administration of umpiring. To have 2/3 of the panel from 2 countries when you are looking for ability & neutrality is a major flaw. And I defy anyone to make a case that they are all better umpires than someone like Billy Bowden with 75 tests & 180 ODI's under his belt. Clearly more needs to be done to train & promote umpires from all countries.

Posted by keptalittlelow on (August 19, 2013, 10:49 GMT)

Spare a thought for the poor umpires, it must be extremely hard for a Test match umpire to maintain such high levels of concentration for every ball of every session. As a principle, decision making must stay with the umpires, DRS or no DRS, so I agree with Haddin that the review system taken out of the hands of the players and left at the sole discretion of the umpires.

Posted by gbqdgj on (August 19, 2013, 10:45 GMT) what way was OT a 'guaranteed victory' for Australia given the fact that Australia had England 30-3 or worse at Lords and still they lost by a huge margin and indeed 11-2 at TB? This was not a guarantee and if you want to call me on that, just ask some Black Cap fans who presumably were thinking the same thing during the 3rd test of the last tour there by England. Face it, with the fragility of the Australian cricket psyche the way that it is at the moment, that was by no means a cast iron certainty!!

Posted by Deuce03 on (August 19, 2013, 10:39 GMT)

If you leave it to umpires then they will review Every. Single. Decision. Which means every single appeal. It would destroy the game. I understand why it might seem better than allowing the players the chance to challenge, but in reality it simply wouldn't work. Haddin hasn't thought this through: while in theory the umpires should have the power to review, in practice it wouldn't work. As for "umpire's call", etc., well, the DRS is there to reduce howlers, and if players are reviewing marginal decisions then they're gambling reviews. The problem there is that the players are using the system incorrectly, which reduces its availability for bigger mistakes, not that the system itself is flawed.

Posted by Bubba2008 on (August 19, 2013, 10:22 GMT)

Oh god please tell me Dharamasena's name was a typo. After his comedy of errors in the last couple of tests he should be withdrawn from the series. Umpiring errors of that magnitude can't go unnoticed - players get dropped for underperforming so why don't the umpires suffer the same consequences? I sympathize that DRS has put more pressure on them but at international standard pressure is part and parcel of any job.

It may also affect the players negatively; if Australian batsmen have the knowledge that getting hit on the pad will be given out no matter what, they will not be able to focus fully on their performance and therefore be more susceptible to lapses in concentration.

Posted by TestsbeforeTwenty20 on (August 19, 2013, 10:12 GMT)

I think it was rather the Ausies that have cracked under pressure - not the umpires. Bad /wrong decisions by umpres have always been part of the game - long before DRS, and will continue to be part of cricket, same as bad shots or wrong decisions by captains playing the game. I have not heard the ausies complain so much about these sometimes marginal decisions in matches they have won - and i am saying this a neutral observer. Ausies have always been the tough guys of cricket who did their talking on the pitch with ball or bat in hand - so comments like this from Haddin is very disappointing...

Posted by Sir_Francis on (August 19, 2013, 10:10 GMT)

And whose fault is that???

I'm old enough to remember a time when umpires were seen to be not great, sometimes not honest, but, for the most part ok and "most" players put up with them and treated them fairly well.

But in the last 2 decades players have become so abusive against umpires (and eachother) it's no wonder umpiring standards have dropped. I blame the players for not remembering the ethos of cricket and becoming virtually football players (all codes). And the ICC for not protecting umpires. As soon a s aplayer abuses an umpire it should be a life ban. It would have stopped immediately and umpires would be grudingly respected, or else. It's too late now. The game has changed too much to be the honourable game it once was.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 10:08 GMT)

Yes. Let the on field umpire refer to 3rd umpire if he is not certain without the embarrassment of changing the decision.

Posted by ADB1 on (August 19, 2013, 10:04 GMT)

@irishwolfhound: "... and sub-standard umpiring which awarded the Trent Bridge test to England. If all things were more just, this series would be at 2-2..."

Incredible that people are still peddling this absolute rubbish. If Agar had been correctly given out stumped on six, Oz would have got nowhere near England in the First Test. That decision cost England 160 runs and a pressure-building first innings lead.

Oz lost this series fair and square, get over it.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (August 19, 2013, 10:02 GMT)

Rain cost Australia one guaranteed victory, while two others were very, very close, and England only won one game that umpiring and other factors would not have changed. It currently stands at 3-0 England but with better umpiring it could have been 1-2, and if rain had been on Australia's side it could have been 1-3. Perhaps you think that those 2 line ball games would have been split, and if so we'd be looking at 2-2. One dominant Australian victory, one dominant England victory, and one close one each. We'd be then heading into the 5th and final test with the series on the line, at the end of a very exciting series. This is the difference that bad umpiring makes to ruin what otherwise is a very exciting series.

Posted by deeplongon on (August 19, 2013, 9:55 GMT)

4 umps hey. At their standard 10 wouldn't do a good job. Lets see how many Hill gets wrong as the TV man. He's hopeless on the field. As for Icantseeya I'd expect a few howlers from him to.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (August 19, 2013, 9:51 GMT)

The problem is that if you take the control from the players they will not be able to get 'justice' if the umpire refuses to go upstairs and overturn the decision, or should the 3rd umpire review every delivery or appeal as a matter of course, in which case this iwll slow up the game especially with spinners bowling.

The problem is the insistance on using Neutral umpires, as the pool for an Ashes series is so small if 2 umpires are off thier game one or both of them cannot be replaced.

I am all in favour of allowing 1 home umpire from each side/test from the elite board, with a neutral as the 3rd umpire, but only if DRS in its full flavour is used. As it stands we are set to see the same 4 umpires being used in the return series which if they make as many bad calls will be no differnt to having non-neutral umpires in place.

It should be noted this is only a problem for England aus as thier umpires make up 8 of the 12 Elite umpires available.

Posted by vatsap on (August 19, 2013, 9:43 GMT)

An Aussies view on umpiring. Very enlightening.

Posted by Zak- on (August 19, 2013, 9:34 GMT)

Excatly, Webba84. The call to review could even come from upstairs, umpires on field have right to refuse but if they are wrong they lose points. That could be part of a scoring system to weed out the useless ones.

Posted by applethief on (August 19, 2013, 9:32 GMT)

When talking of the scoreline, people are quick to point out just how easily it could have been 3-1 to Australia right now. I think that's a bit generous. England were all over Australia and Lord's, and clearly did enough to win the game at Durham, no matter how much Australia "should have" chased the target to win that game. It's rain that cost them the match at Old Trafford, and sub-standard umpiring which awarded the Trent Bridge test to England. If all things were more just, this series would be at 2-2, and it's a shame we've been denied the fairer scoreline, as it would add a lot to the final test at the Oval

Posted by Webba84 on (August 19, 2013, 9:25 GMT)

Why cant we just use the new technology the way we used to with 3rd umpires? Theres no need for DRS at all. Just let the onfield umpires refer it to 3rd umpire if they arent certain. No mess, no fuss, no controversy.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (August 19, 2013, 9:24 GMT)

Typical whinging response from the vanquished end of a mediocre team. Umpiring standards have been more in favour of Australia than against this series compared to England, to moan about it now is just ridiculous.

Posted by   on (August 19, 2013, 9:21 GMT)

Rather if reviews not left then at least then if clear wrong decision made by on field umpire then 3rd umpire must have authority yo overrule. specially in bat and pad and LBW given wrongly.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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