On the Front Foot: New referral system is giving Dravid and Co the collywobbles

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The Independent Online

When Paul Collingwood was out in the first innings he might have changed the game forever. The scorecard read that he had been caught by Gautam Gambhir off Harbhajan Singh for nine. He wasn't, of course, as replays swiftly revealed, neither his bat nor gloves having come into contact with the ball before it looped off his pads to short leg. But India appealed and umpire Billy Bowden obliged with his crooked finger send-off. The wretchedness of the decision was compounded by an event in Dunedin, where New Zealand batsman Daniel Flynn was struck on the pads by Chris Gayle. The appeal was turned down by Amiesh Saheba, standing in his first Test, but Gayle asked for a review. A system of referrals to the third umpire is being trialled in the series between New Zealand and West Indies. This allows both sides to challenge an umpire's decision with each being limited to three unsuccessful requests per innings. On this occasion, third umpire Rudi Koertzen determined that Flynn was out, leaving West Indies with all referrals intact. Only hours later, 6,875 miles away in Chennai, the match was being played under different regulations. There was no appeals system because England do not agree with the present method. Collingwood, stupidly, had to go. The system was first tried in the three-Test series between Sri Lanka and India last July. The players warmed to it as the series went on. There were 44 referrals in all, 11 in the First Test, 14 in the Second and 19 in the Third. Of those only 10 were successful – a feather in the umpires' caps – but there were still plenty of contentious decisions. Four batsmen appealed successfully against dismissals and six bowlers had not-out decisions overturned. The most unfortunate casualty in the latter category was India's Rahul Dravid, who had been given the benefit of the doubt three times by the umpire, only to find himself given out after the review each time. It is time for the International Cricket Council to act.

Moores is a Morris man

Hugh Morris is now Peter Moores' boss, England managing director to coach. 'Twas ever thus. They first met in 1981 when Morris was captain and Moores was wicketkeeper of the English School Cricket Association XI against Irish Schools at Cheltenham. It was Moores' only international experience as a player. Presumably neither thought where they would be 27 years later and that it would be like it is.

Bordering on the ridiculous

After being called up to the England squad for the Test series in India, Adil Rashid will definitely have remembered all the necessary paperwork. Since a trip with Yorkshire last year he is now an expert on the subject. The county were playing in Cardiff and as their coach approached the Welsh border, team-mates Anthony McGrath and Jason Gillespie asked Rashid if he had his passport with him. Twenty minutes before they were due to arrive in Wales, Rashid, fearing he would be turned away, hid in the bus toilet to avoid being nicked.

Is Shiv heading for the exit?

Shivnarine Chanderpaul remains at the top of the ICC Test batting ratings. Were the West Indian to retire now he would be only the third player to go out on top. The first was Don Bradman in 1948; the other, whom few would guess and who never played again after making two centuries in the 1905 series against the Australians, was Lt Col Sir Stanley Jackson.

s.brenkley@independent.co.uk

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