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Graveney sympathetic to umpire's problems

England's Chairman of selectors, David Graveney, has had words of sympathy for umpire David Shepherd in the aftermath of the Old Trafford Test.

David Shepherd Photo © ICC

Shepherd has been widely criticized following the final day of the Test where replays show that several dismissals should probably have been disallowed due to the bowlers over-stepping. But Graveney was keen not to join in the criticism of a man universally believed to be one of the best umpires in the world.

"'Shep' will be devastated," Graveney revealed. "He is one of the most respected umpires and people in the game and this will hurt him."

Graveney did recommend following the example of other sports and utilising further technical assistance to aid umpires in future though.

"Why not follow the example of tennis and have a magic eye so that they are just concentrating on what's going on at the business end? Why can't referees just say, 'you may be missing this, be aware that it maybe going over the line'? It's just common sense isn't it?"

But he was keen to give due credit to the Pakistan team, and suggested that it was a shame that attention should be diverted from such an absorbing game.

"Make no mistake about it: Pakistan fully deserved to win. But the papers should be saying what a fantastic match played in front of 1000's of people, when what they are talking about is this."

Meanwhile Barrie Leadbeater, the chairman of the English Umpires' Association, offered his support to the further use of technical aides to help umpires.

"I am in favour of any technology that helps the umpires; but it has to be foolproof. If it's good enough then it doesn't undermine the umpires," he reasoned.

But he also had words of sympathy for the umpires.

"There was enormous pressure on the two umpires," he said. "They were concentrating on getting things right at the business end. It was a one-off situation because of the importance of the match and the two particular bowlers (Wasim and Saqlain), whose front foot is almost blocked by their back foot (in their bowling action)."