James Corrigan: Pause button only delays the inevitable
What are the ICC scared of? A decision that means criticism of the cock-eye in the sky?
Wednesday 13 May 2009
Sport can thank the befuddled horse-racing stewards of the 1930s – and just maybe their fondness for a post-lunch tipple – for beginning the ever-quickening trend to sort out the rows, controversies and interminable inquests by resorting to technology. The old boys clearly became heartedly fed up with lurching out of their boxes to discover legions of angry punters waiting, keen to discuss the afternoon's tight call.
So they commanded the bods to erect their cameras on the line and "hey, presto", the photo finish was born and the death threats dried up. The advent was an instant (Kodak) success and obviously, it would not be too long before the moving-picture revolution allowed other sports to follow their example. Except it was.
Here we are seven decades later and the International Cricket Council was declaring yesterday that oh, hum, they think more trials are needed before they introduce all this new-fangled nonsense. After all one should never rush these things. To be fair, enough confusion probably did arise in recent trial Test series – not least in England's defeat in the West Indies – to warrant some heavy tinkering but why not learn on the job?
Isn't it slightly disrespectful to all the other nations even to throw the suggestion in the air that the Ashes is far too sacred to guinea-pig? What are they scared of? A series-deciding decision that leads to headlines criticising the cock-eye in the sky?
The ICC should be advised that the replay rumpuses will arise, whenever they introduce it "officially". Ask Mark Cueto or any of the nearby England players in the 2007 rugby union World Cup final and they will still swear that the wing scored what would have proved the trophy-lifting try. The technology was not conclusive then, and if it had not been available the try likely would have been awarded, Brian Ashton would now be a Sir and who knows, even a national coach... Sport is not, the shrink manuals confirm, a game of perfection. The camera may not lie but it cannot tell the whole truth. What it does is come closer than the human brain, as proven by the results of this cricketing experiment, which improved the rate of correct decisions from 94 to 98 per cent. Furthermore the slowing-the-game-down argument is absurd in a five-day marathon.
The "upstairs" referrals have helped both rugby codes, tennis and most American sports. Cricket may have so many grey areas, but this still appears black and white. The ICC is simply pressing the pause button on the inevitable. But then, it could be worse. It could be Fifa or Uefa.
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