Umpire Gadget


My turn to jump in on the technology debate going on at Cricinfo.

Most of what I would want to say has been covered by S Rajesh.¬ Most surprising to me was Sambit Bal’s (who still remains one of my favorite cricket writers) asinine excuse of life being unfair.¬ Fairness is the one of the foundations of human civilization, and while life may not be fair all the time, we constantly strive to make it so.

Here then is my suggestion of how technology¬ can be used in cricket right away without interfering too much with the flow of the game.¬ The umpire makes all decisions as at present.¬ Any side can appeal (re-appeal?) any decision made by the umpire as many times as¬ they want¬ in a game, so long as the technology favors their stance.¬ If a team ends up twice on the wrong side of the technical analysis, it loses the right to dispute¬ any further¬ decisions.¬ This will keep such re-appeals to a minimum, with it coming into play only when a team is sure the on-field umpire’s decision was wrong.¬ If technology proves to be inconclusive, the on-field umpire’s decision stands.

I am nonchalant about whether the third umpire gets to use Hawk-Eye, Snick-o-meter, and other gadgets.¬ From what we saw in the super series, the third umpire gets the decisions right most of the time without any help from the above-mentioned innovations.¬ This might not be perfect, but should be pretty close to it.¬ And therein I disagree with Martin Williamson that we need to “go the whole hog” were we to tread the techonological path.

I think this is the best solution in light of¬ the concerns expressed¬ on¬ Cricinfo.¬ Let the rebuttals flow in.


9 Responses to “Umpire Gadget”

  1. Amar Says:

    What a bunch of baloney!! Two strikes and you are out?? Sounds like the NFL. The idea is to get it RIGHT. What if a team ends up on the wrong end twice (on the appeals) but has an overwhelming case — a winning case I might add — on the third one?? The whole match could take a turn. That would just defeat the entire purpose of the use of technology.
    My stance on this whole issue is that if the ump in the middle can get help within 30 seconds on a “boundary-or-not” decision over a walkie-talkie from the TV ump, then why can’t he get help over other issues? Afterall, if the commentators can see it, your average JoeSchmo can see it, then surely the TV ump can see it on TV replays. Again, the idea is to get it RIGHT. Doesn’t matter if the team loses appeals 3 times or 10 times. In reality, they shouldn’t even have to appeal (or re-appeal).
    Yuvraj was clearly NOT OUT in the first match when he was given out LBW. The TV ump should jump in there and let the ump in the middle know that the batsman got glove on the ball and hence is NOT OUT. That didn’t cost India the game, but it COULD have.
    To sum it up, if the ICC is going to use technology in cricket, they might as well go the whole nine yards and TRY to get it ALL right rather than MOST right.

  2. Pratik Says:

    Leaving it up to the on-field umpires to get help from the third umpire is not an option. Doing it for every decision is impractical, and otherwise, as during the super series, the umpire might not refer the decision when he should be.

    Letting the third umpire jump in there like you say can lead to farcical situations where batsmen would have to be called back from the pavilion, or even worse, the batsmen might hang around after the decision’s been made to see if the third umpire decides to jump in. Again, not an option.

    If you insist on going all out with technology, I’ll tell you what the ICC will do: nothing. The imporant thing is, like you said, not whether we use all the technology available, but to get the decisions right.

    Keeping in consideration the various inhibitions expressed on this issue, I think this is a good option. Two strikes and you’re out might seem ludicrous when a team has a compelling reason on the third re-appeal, but I don’t really expect it to happen. The point is to discourage a team from re-appealing unless they’re positive that the decision made was wrong.

  3. Amar Says:

    There might be a couple of instances per match where a batsman might hang around to see if the third umpire reverses the decision. But, the object is to get it RIGHT. I don’t see anything wrong with a couple of such awkward moments if the right decisions are made.
    About your “two strikes and you’re out” theory, realistically, I don’t see that happening. Although the chances of a team ending up on the wrong end of three decisions are slim, such chances should not be taken — especially when so much money and fame is at stake.
    ICC has a lot of tough decisions ahead and whatever approach they take, critics are always going to have opposing opinions. But, it is high time that the ICC tries a few different things in the upcoming season on an experimental basis (before WC 2007).

  4. Peter Says:

    Pratik, I believe best thing that has happened in cricket in last 10 years is having 3rd Umpire. But I still see old timers are still trying to make their decisions based on their best judegement rather than using help of 3rd Umpire and taking advange of technology. It is taking longer for these Umpires to accept change in decision making process and so I believe as you see new younger Umpires you will see 3rd and may be even 4th Umpire to get it RIGHT. And I think that is how it should be.It is ok if game is delayed. Looking back you can certainly site many matchs were one wrong judegment by Umpire had changed the outcome.
    This is a great blog and I will come back to you on this.

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