been plenty of focus on the Umpire Decision Review System ever since cricket
took the plunge and applied technology to their umpiring.
Cup is the first major tournament where teams have had access to the review
system, and on the whole it has led to the desired result - more correct
The ICC have
produced some statistics to suggest that now almost 98 per cent
of decisions by the umpires have been, in the end, correct.
encouraging as those numbers are, there have been several interesting and
controversial incidents relating to the use of technology in this tournament.
that Cowers has withdrawal symptoms from a lack of cricket today, it's time to
see what lessons can be learned from them so that the system works better than a Lasith Malinga yorker in future.
Incident one - Ian Bell not given out against
The incident - India have 338 on the board against England in
Bangalore, and though England are going along well enough in reply, Yuvraj
Singh traps Ian Bell leg-before. Umpire Billy Bowden thinks there's enough
doubt to reprieve the one-time Shermanator, but India review. Hawkeye shows the
ball going on to hit the middle stump. Just as Bell starts walking away to the
pavilion, Andrew Strauss calls to him to stay because a little note appears on
Hawkeye's virtual verdict saying he was struck by the ball more than 2.5m down
the ground. Bowden refuses to change his mind, England go on to secure an
unlikely and thrilling draw.
The lesson learned - Keep it simple. If it looks out, it is out.
Bell was saved by a ludicrous technicality. The Bangalore crowd chanted
'cheating' at the verdict. Even Bell
was flummoxed. "When I saw it pitch in line and
hit the stumps," he said, "I thought that was it. I wasn't aware of
the rule of how far you had to be down the wicket. I got waved back on by the
fourth official and I moved on from there. I wasn't aware that the distance
down the wicket was a factor."
Incident two - Simon Taufel doesn't bother to
refer a run-out
The incident - The West Indies got an extraordinary reprieve
when Kirk Edwards was caught out of his ground by a throw from India's Virat
Kohli. Umpire Simon Taufel had got himself into a great position to see
Edwards's scramble back to the non-striker's end and immediately moved on,
satisfied that the opener was safe when the stumps were broken. The only
trouble? He was short of his ground by several inches.
The lesson learned - Two lessons here. Firstly, go upstairs for
run-outs. The only thing less palatable to the spectator than watching a replay
of a run-out appeal in which the batsman was home with yards to spare is
watching the wrong decision because the umpire incorrectly backs himself.
Secondly, when it comes to UDRS, this is the reason that umpires should not
have the responsibility to refer their own decisions. They must make their
decision without the safety net of being able to take it upstairs - because otherwise
it's a brave (but more likely foolish) man who doesn't avail himself of
technology several times an innings.
Incident three- Asoka de Silva refuses to
change his mind
The incident - Gary Wilson of Ireland has reached his fifty
and is his nation's last realistic chance of steering his side to a famous win
against the West Indies. He makes a meal of a late cut to Darren Sammy and the
delivery strikes pad rather than bat. Umpire de Silva gives him out, but Wilson
immediately challenges, believing he's got outside the line. He's right, too -
but deciding that Wilson had not been attempting a shot, de Silva refuses to
change his mind. Wilson encourages him to take a look at the big screen and
watch his (admittedly terrible) effort to play the ball, but de Silva's mind is
The lesson learned - Umpires need to embrace technology and consider
referrals with a fresh pair of eyes - not fear being made to look silly by it.
In the end, de Silva looked a far poorer umpire for ignoring what was evident
on the screen than he would have done by accepting he got a snap decision
ever-so-slightly wrong. The ICC appeared unimpressed with de Silva's handiwork
- he was stood down from England's game against the West Indies and has not
been allocated a quarter-final.
Incident four - Ricky Ponting stands his ground
after edging Mohammad Hafeez
The incident - Ponting is plodding along doggedly to 19 from
32 balls when Hafeez catches him out with a ball that takes a very healthy edge
and is held by Kamran Akmal behind the stumps. Somehow umpire Marais Erasmus
misses it, but Pakistan review and so clear is the edge that there is no need
for Snicko or Hotspot to confirm it. Ponting still manages to look astonished
at the verdict, while perhaps the only reason Erasmus does not give it out is
because it would mean that Kamran has actually held on to a sharp catch.
The lesson learned - This is what the UDRS was made for - to
correct obvious miscarriages of justice. But it's more than that - it means
that as a batsman or a bowler, there should be less value in standing your
ground when you know you've edged it, or appealing for a wicket when there's no
hope it will be out. Ponting tried to laugh it off. "There
were no doubts about the nick," he said, "I knew I hit it, but as
always I wait for the umpire to give me out. That's the way I've always played
the game." But the truth is it looked out of step with the game,
and the gains of not walking looked smaller than ever.
Incident five - Sachin Tendulkar walks after
nicking a ball from Ravi Rampaul
The incident - In the first over of India's Group B game
against the West Indies Tendulkar strode out to bat with the Chennai crowd
itching to celebrate their hero score his hundredth international hundred. But
Rampaul spoiled it with the ball of his lifetime - a snorter which hurried the
batsman, caught a faint edge, and was pouched for a wicket. Umpire Steve Davis
missed it, but Tendulkar tucked his bat under his arm and walked regardless.
The lesson learned - No technology needed. The batsman knew what
the result would have been had he waited around, and did the honourable thing. And
with the Big Brother cameras watching international cricketers from just about
every angle, wouldn't it be wonderful if cricketers took Tendulkar's lead
rather than Ponting's and played the game without playing games?
Incident six - Mahela Jayawardene shows the
value of waiting
The incident - Sri Lanka are in some trouble against New
Zealand, having lost both openers cheaply. Nathan McCullum then draws a false
stroke from key batsman Jayawardene, and takes one of the great return catches
- having to dive almost all the way short mid-on to scoop the ball up a whisker
off the ground. Except, unfortunately for him, despite it looking almost
certain that the catch is clean, there is enough doubt on replays for
Jayawardene to stay. Sri Lanka rebuild, and go on to win the match.
The lesson learned - Technology can't prove everything
conclusively, and when there's a chance that the decision will go your way -
even just two times in a 100, as the ICC now say - players, Tendulkar aside,
will still play those odds.
BUT ENOUGH FROM COW CORNER - What do you think
about the review system? Is it good for the game? Do the positives outweigh the
negatives? What would you change about it? Leave a comment below!
on the pitch! Dog on the pitch! There were some stupendous efforts and it was harder
than ever for Cow Corner to pick a winner. But given the two collapses which
characterised the game, how could Cowers not choose this effort from automatondude: "Did someone say
there is a distinct lack of tail-wagging around here?"
next batch of captions is anywhere near as good, Cowers will spend most of
Tuesday giggling like Ricky Ponting after getting a lucky decision.
here's today's challenge:
Cow Corner on Twitter! http://twitter.com/king_pair