Feels misuse is eroding the trust between umpires and players May 7, 2006

Umpire Bucknor accuses TV crews of doctored images

Steve Bucknor: 'It has been known to happen where the technology has been used to make umpires look bad' © Getty Images
Steve Bucknor, a member of the ICC's elite panel of umpires, has complained that television production companies are misusing technology to make umpires look bad and key players look good.

Bucknor has revealed he has encountered instances of TV personnel maneuvering images to influence the flow and outcome of matches. "It has been known to happen where the technology has been used to make umpires look bad," he told reporters on Friday. "Mats [the line graphic used to adjudge lbw decisions] have been moved, balls have disappeared, ball hitting the bat and only coming up into the fielder's hands, but between the bat and the hand, no ball is found and you are told, 'Sorry, we don't have that clip, we can't show it'.

Bucknor, who has stood in a world record 111 Tests and four World Cup finals, as well as officiated 139 one-day internationals, noted he was speaking from personal experience. "It has happened; I've been in a game when it has happened," he said. "Sometimes nothing is shown because the batsman was a key batsman and getting out at that stage would have made life very difficult for that team. It all depends on who is operating the technology. I've been told that this ball is the one with which the batsman got out, but the one that is being shown is not the same one he got out with. It has been known to happen. When these things are happening, it makes life extremely difficult for the umpires. Who do you trust from there on you don't know."

Although he admits that there is a place for technology in the game and would like to see "a little bit more", Bucknor said the misuse of the technology is eroding the trust between umpires and players. "In the beginning of my career, umpires were trusted. When umpires said not out, the man was trusted, so they would say he is a good umpire and nobody questioned him. Today, the technology shows up his mistakes, and makes life a little bit difficult for umpires, especially when it has been known to happen that technology has been used to make umpires look bad."

Bucknor was also disappointed that umpires were not consulted about the ICC Cricket Committee's recommendation to allow players a certain number of appeals per innings to the TV replay umpire, if they feel a decision made by the on-field umpire may be incorrect. "I'd been happy been to be part of this change, but these things happen and we know about them happening rather than for us to say this is what we want. We'll have to live by them. Whatever they say, we'll just have to live by."

The ability of players to appeal against decisons made by on-field umpires were the main recommendations made by the ICC's cricket committee during its two-day meeting in Dubai.