Rash of referrals blight the game
Monday 02 March 2009
No other sport could get itself into such an unholy mess. No other governing body but the International Cricket Council could mean so well with such a dire outcome.
The trial regulation officially known as the Umpiring Decision Review System has, once more, made Test cricket a figure of fun.
It is supposed to be the purest, most protected form of the game, trading on the eternal verities. The review system was introduced in the innocent desire to eradicate, with the help of technology, umpiring errors. Instead, as the series between England and the West Indies has confirmed, it is a blot on the landscape, like building a casino in a conservation area.
Doubts were sown during the first Test in Kingston but there was room for forgiveness because the players and officials were putting their toes in alien waters. The fourth Test in Barbados, however, has merely exacerbated the worst fears.
This was manifest on the third day by the case of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the world's No 2 ranked batsman. He was given out lbw to Jimmy Anderson when he was 70 and involved in a match-saving partnership with Ramnaresh Sarwan. Since it was patently obvious to most naked eyes, except those belonging to the umpire, Russell Tiffin, that the ball would have gone over the top of the stumps, Chanderpaul asked for a review of the decision.
Under the regulations for the series, each side is allowed two unsuccessful referrals in each innings whether batting or bowling. It was confidently expected that Chanderpaul would be reprieved. Somewhat surprisingly, the third umpire Daryl Harper must have disagreed. In cases such as these it is his job to impart information to the on-field umpire which might persuade him to change his mind.
As the regulation puts it: "If an out decision is being reviewed the TV umpire should have a high degree of confidence that the ball would have made no contact with any part of the stumps or bails in order to report that the ball would have missed the stumps."
He is allowed to use slow-motion replays and tracking devices only until the point of impact. Still, as the Chanderpaul case demonstrated, one man's high degree of confidence is another being wracked with doubt.
In all, four of the first five West Indies wickets to fall came after reviews, which take an interminable time and, pertinently, are rarely conclusive. This is the third series and in terms of media coverage the one with the highest profile in which the trial has been conducted. Three referrals have been reduced to two.
The system was dropped for the hastily arranged match in Antigua as the technology could not be moved in time. It was all the better for it and the players were much more relaxed. But cricket continues to find ways of making itself look perfectly stupid. Time to review the reviews.
The Microsoft mogul told fans a few home truths during his Reddit AMA
Brooklyn Beckham poses in Arsenal training kit following rumours of signing for the Gunners
Manchester United transfer news and rumours: David De Gea could leave for FREE; £38m for Marquinhos; £37m bid for Mats Hummels;
Transfer talk: Juan Cuadrado Chelsea move imminent; Manchester United eye Nathaniel Clyne; Andre Schurrle medical at Wolfsburg
Danny Ings to Liverpool: The Reds attempt to steal a march on rivals in race to sign Burnley striker
Kim Sears 'swearing' outburst threatens to overshadow Andy Murray's Australian Open semi-final win
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures