Cricket umpires welcome the referrals’ trial

June 17th, 2008 - 7:14 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 17 (IANS) Umpiring decisions in cricket have come in for greater scrutiny of late and it was time to put technology, too, to test, say former international umpires, welcoming the move to allow players to challenge the decisions. The umpires, however, are wary as to how 24 referrals can be handled in a single Test match.

The Indian Cricket board Monday announced that International Cricket Council’s (ICC) experiment to allow the batting and fielding sides three unsuccessful appeals each in an innings, challenging the umpiring decisions, will be tested during the Test series against Sri Lanka.

Former ICC panel umpire S K Bansal felt that since the advent of slow motion replays, Hwakeye and snickometer, umpires have been crucified for every incorrect decision and the new referral system will show us how foolproof is the technology.

Pilloo Reporter said it remains to be seen how so many referrals can be worked out in Test matches.

“There is so much pressure on the umpires and every decision is being scrutinised,” Bansal told IANS.

Bansal pointed out to the Sydney Test controversy to drive home the point that pressure on umpires keeps growing with each error.

“There was such hue and cry over one decision of Steve Bucknor in the Sydney Test. India was about to call the team back. People forgot that they were talking of a person who has stood in five World Cups. If he was so bad, how did he continue for that long,” asks Bansal.

“The umpire is blamed for everything, so it is better to use the technology more.”

Bansal said there are numerous times when even the technology has failed to assist the umpires.

“There are 27 cameras on the field but sometimes the replays are inconclusive. These days so much is being made of one wrong decision by an umpire even though he would have made 17 correct decisions. It is good that the referral system is being put on a trial. It will be a test for the technology,” he said.

Reporter feels that umpires are already under tremendous pressure and there was no harm in using the technology.

“It is a great idea to try this out on an experimental basis. There is no doubt that technology has grown by leaps and bounds. Apart from the Hawkeye, other devices give a complete picture.”

He says the umpires are under pressure as it is and this will add to it, as they will now know that their decisions can be challenged.

“There will be three referrals per innings which works out to 24 a match and it will be time consuming. So it remains to be seen how this works out.”

Umpire Suresh Shastri, who is now on the ICC panel, said that despite all the talk of technology, umpires are doing a tremendous job.

“It is easy to criticise the decisions after seeing slow-motion replays and from all the angles available. But umpires get just a split second to decide. Because of technology umpires are always under pressure, but they are not doing a bad job.”

“If technology is there why not use it. It is fair to both the teams,” he said.

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