West Indies v Australia, 2nd Test, Port-of-Spain, 3rd day April 17, 2012

Commercial interests stopped play


Twenty minutes of play was lost in bright sunshine on the second morning of the Trinidad Test because officials wanted to make sure no commercial contracts would be breached if the match continued without television coverage due to a power failure.

In a Test that had already lost two hours to rain and lost more time on the second afternoon, the sight of the West Indies and Australia players marching back off the ground after assembling for the scheduled 9.30am start drew groans from the Tuesday crowd in Port-of-Spain. Play did not get underway until 9.50.

Observers at the ground, including local radio commentators, speculated that upon hearing in the middle that DRS referrals would not be available, Australia's captain Michael Clarke took his men from the field. However ESPNcricinfo understands that none of the players, umpires Marais Erasmus and Ian Gould, or the match referee Jeff Crowe, knew of the power cut until informed by the television production crew moments before the scheduled start.

Upon discovering it, the umpires took the players from the field and a meeting was convened between management on both sides, the match officials and the WICB. The meeting concluded that play should re-start at 9.50 irrespective of whether or not the power returned. Any further cuts to television's power source at the Queen's Park Oval will not stop play from continuing.

The power outage on the second morning was not the first of the match, as one Michael Beer over on the second evening was played out without television working at the ground. In that over Beer appealed strongly for lbw against Adrian Barath, but Australia were unable to refer the decision due to the lack of television pictures.

Matches have gone on in the past when DRS referrals are not available for environmental or technical reasons. Australia played on in the field against New Zealand at Wellington's Basin Reserve in 2010 when strong winds shook television cameras and rendered ball-tracking technology inaccurate.

There have also been past instances of matches being delayed by the loss of television pictures, including the India versus Sri Lanka ODI at Bellerive Oval in Hobart during this year's triangular series in Australia.

The relevant passage of the ICC's Test match playing conditions state that the match referee has the final call on the use of DRS in a match. "Where practical usage or further testing indicates that any of the above forms of technology cannot reliably provide accurate and timely information, then it may be removed prior to or during a match," the conditions state. "The final decision regarding the technology to be used in a given match will be taken by the ICC Match Referee in consultation with the ICC Technical Official, ICC Management and the competing teams' governing bodies."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sudhir on April 18, 2012, 13:35 GMT

    If the players are ready to play and the umpires ready to go, they should play. This is another strike against common sense. I am getting slowly turned off by DRS -it is only as good as the people using it and there seems to be a great deal of variation in it's interpretation.

  • Calvin on April 18, 2012, 7:55 GMT

    @ gagagaga & Sriraj G.S. - exactly right! As I was reading the game commentary it was very obvious that Clarke was refusing to play until DRS was rectified. Oh, here we go with some great ammo for the numerous Aus-haters out there, I thought. Seemed oddly out of character for Clarke to me. I reckon Clarke would lobby strongly for the game to go on with or without DRS since it would be his belief that both sides would be equally benefitted/hampered. Clarke has consistently shown himself to be aggressive but fair from day one in his captaincy so far. Shame on the live game commentary posters for being so eager to create a situation and run with it when it didn't exist in the first place.

  • Dummy4 on April 18, 2012, 5:01 GMT

    The game needs to make money, I'm not naive enough to claim Cricket shouldn't care at all about commercial contracts. In saying that, the game should effect the contracts, not the other way around, they should word it in a way that situations like this are no longer an issue.

  • James on April 18, 2012, 2:05 GMT

    I don't know what 'DSR' means, exactly, but this incident shows it should be used only to enhance umpiring decisions when it is available and not be used as a substitute. Many umpires would not want to give a batsman out just because technology and a collection of somewhat arbitrary notions on how to interpret it said so. Thank goodness the match referee does not run on electricity.

  • A on April 18, 2012, 1:21 GMT

    Yet another ridiculous situation driving a nail into the test match coffin. When will the custodians of the game learn?

  • Dummy4 on April 18, 2012, 0:33 GMT

    Hey Rally_Windies, did you read the article? "No one knew of the power cut until informed by the television production crew moments before the scheduled start. Upon discovering it, the umpires took the players from the field and a meeting was convened between management on both sides, the match officials and the WICB".

    "they" were the umpires who took the players off the field. "no one knew of the power cut" until they were informed by the television production crew. It seems pretty clear to me.

  • Dummy4 on April 17, 2012, 23:25 GMT

    Noone thought of exception handling? My goodness, thankfully this cricket isn't a commercial enterprise.

  • Dummy4 on April 17, 2012, 20:52 GMT

    Well said gagagaga, I actually thought the commentary for this game was good over the last 2 days. And then a bunch of people running with a theory of their own and cooking up speculation to bash the Aussies. I would like to see if the commentator might retract his statements on the commentary including words like 'disgrace'.

  • disco on April 17, 2012, 18:50 GMT

    But how does that impact the offside rule?

  • d on April 17, 2012, 18:41 GMT

    i just love it how you just ran with the Aus story and posted many comments about the Aus players within the game commentary. I guess any chance you get to smack the Aussie, cricinfo will take it.

  • No featured comments at the moment.