Cricket: Extra cameras not on ICC's agenda

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The Independent Online
THE INTERNATIONAL Cricket Council has said that it will not provide financial backing to any programme aimed at improving the third umpire system following a disputed and possibly crucial ruling in the fifth Ashes Test in Sydney.

England's hopes of drawing the series with Australia were dealt a potentially severe blow when Steve Taufel failed to give Michael Slater run out when he appeared to be short of his ground. Slater, on 35 at the time, went on to make 123 out of a total of 184, leaving the tourists needing 287 to win at the Sydney Cricket Ground and move level in the series at two games each. England may yet triumph but should they fail, Taufel's decision will be identified as the turning point in the deciding Test.

However, the ICC is rejecting suggestions that it should invest in a scheme to set up four fixed cameras level with the wickets at each side of the ground. "We're not looking to fund it at this stage," Clive Hitchcock, the ICC's cricket operations manager, said.

"There's a huge cost involved in doing it. Some countries are going down that road and providing square-angle cameras at each end - South Africa have that and it is sponsored by Panasonic.

"It's something that we're working on because some countries provide better facilities than others and we're looking to see if we can make it standard across the board.

"But it's the responsibility of the home board to provide camera angles in liaison with the host broadcaster and at this stage, we're not looking to fund it ourselves."

Repeated television replays made it seem Slater was short of his crease after the stumps were broken by Dean Headley's direct hit from deep mid- on. He was given the benefit of the doubt, but even the Australian opener believes it is time for more cameras to be used to stop similar controversies. "If you're going to have the third umpire, then get the cameras in place so it is conclusive," he said.

Hitchcock added: "When the third umpire makes his decision, he's got to be 100 per cent sure that the batsman is out. If he's not, the benefit of the doubt goes to the batsman. I guess the guy has applied that when he's looked at the television replays."

Derek Pringle, Henry Blofeld, page 22