Flower calls for TV referrals of catches

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The Independent Online

Alastair Cook's minor moment of controversy in his match-saving maiden double-hundred at the Gabba has once again focused attention on third-umpire referrals.

There was no decision review system in operation yesterday afternoon in Brisbane when Cook, already on 209 and therefore having batted Australia out of contention to win the first Test, escaped after home captain Ricky Ponting thought he had caught him low down at midwicket.

Aleem Dar and Billy Doctrove decided themselves to consult third umpire Tony Hill and his video evidence.

Seasoned observers knew at that point there was little chance of Cook being given out, because the two-dimensional video footage currently available via broadcasters always creates doubt - which inevitably benefits the batsman.

Ponting described recourse to technology which, in instances such as this, routinely proves ineffective as a "blight on the game".

Yet England coach Andy Flower believes Cook was right to stand his ground.

"If he thought that the ball bounced, he definitely did the right thing," he said.

Flower is convinced too that taking the word of a fielder over low catches is a flawed concept, because they can often be mistaken themselves - even when they are sure they have held the ball cleanly. "I've always thought that's the ideal.

"However, if we did leave it at that there would be a lot of catches taken on the bounce that are claimed by fielders.

"You can't always tell whether you've taken it cleanly.

"I know a number of people of impeccable character who have claimed catches, and you can see that it has bounced.

"It's not because they are trying to cheat; it's because sometimes you just can't tell."

On the broader topic of DRS, being used in this winter's Ashes and universally wherever appropriate technology is available under International Cricket Council Test match regulations, Flower agrees with Ponting that a simpler system - without the need for player involvement - might be preferable.

"We've gone down the road of the TV umpire being used more often, and there is no way it is going to go back," he said.

"It would be naive to think that.

"Whatever system we use is not going to be perfect, and looking for the perfect answer is unrealistic.

"We're getting more decisions right this way, so I think we should use some sort of referral system.

"I'm not sure what the best system is. I think it would be interesting to trial a system where the umpires use it themselves.

"I think that should be trialled."