Divergent views on challenging umpire’s decision

May 9th, 2008 - 4:16 pm ICT by admin  

Sydney, May 9 (IANS) Former Australia captain Steve Waugh has welcomed the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) plan to allow the players to challenge umpiring decisions in Test cricket. With other sports like tennis and major football codes having successfully introduced video technology to check contentious decisions, Waugh believes it is only a matter of time before cricket followed suit.

“Modern-day sport is moving more and more in this direction and if it works it will be great,” Waugh was quoted in The Daily Telegraph . “If it doesn’t detract too much from the game and the right decisions are given, it can only be a good thing.

“I’m willing to see how it works, just as long as it doesn’t take too long. I’m also in favour of the human element and I think anybody who spends up to six or seven hours a day watching cricket wants to be part of that decision-making process.”

The ICC had announced Thursday that an umpire review system would be trialled in a Test series this year, possibly between England and South Africa, starting in July.

Under the ICC proposal, the captains and bowlers will be able to use the Hawkeye system to challenge up to three decisions each innings - including lbws and catches.

Also the on-field umpire will consult with the third umpire when a decision is challenged, before the on-field umpire gives the final decision.

However, Waugh said he hoped for cricket’s sake the game did not become too sterile and lose its passion as a result of prolonged stoppages for video replays.

Australian coach Tim Nielsen and new wicketkeeper Brad Haddin though have some reservations about the new system, fearing the game could get bogged down with too many on-field disputes.

“We need to be a bit careful that we don’t jump head-first in and go gung-ho the other way and make too many calls,” Nielsen said as the West Indies-bound Aussies went through their training drills in Brisbane.

“I don’t know how many times there have been three really dodgy decisions in an innings too often. It means almost a third of the (10) wickets that you need to get a team out, you can contest, which seems like a high number to me.”

Haddin said he was keen for the human element to be maintained in umpiring. “In all honesty I like the umpiring set-up the way it is, you take the good with the bad,” Haddin said.

The video system could prolong the careers of several struggling umpires - notably South Africa’s Rudi Koertzen and West Indian Steve Bucknor - who are past their best and have produced repeated umpiring shockers.

The umpiring trial has also won strong support from former England batsman Geoff Boycott. “As a player, all you ever want is as many accurate decisions as possible,” Boycott said.

“If I make a mistake and I’m out, well so be it, that’s my fault, but you don’t want to be given out when you feel you’re not out.”

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