06 January 2008

On line calls

Jaffer was bowled by a scorcher from Lee in the first innings. Problem is, the ball wasn't entirely legal, like doing a line of coke isn't entirely legal. It was a no-ball.

No-ball calls require an umpire to look down at his feet and then adjust his line of vision to meet the stumps at the other end, before a leather ball delivered at speeds of up to 155 kmph crosses 22 yards.

The argument that an instant call made by an umpire allows a batsman to take advantage of the
ball's illegality and adjust his stroke is specious. Most of the time, it is only after a stroke has been played that the players realize that a no-ball call has been made.

It does not need Stephen Hawking or Michael Hussey to tell me that error can be reduced if the umpire did not have to adjust his line of vision, in the split second prior to being called to make an LBW or edge decision.

The case with other line calls is similar. They are the one proven area where it has been found that technology can reduce error in close to a 100% cases. There is no need for the human element to be involved in run outs, stumpings and no-balls. It only gives the disgruntled another reason to complain. Not only should umpiring be fair, but it should also appear to be fair, and making every attempt to reduce error is the way to go about it.

For run outs and stumpings, the umpires are required to make a determination of whether there is enough doubt to make the referral upstairs. This is unnecessary. The fielding team should be allowed to appeal directly to the third umpire. As far as decisions regarding whether a fielder or ball has touched the boundary rope is concerend, the present system of referring a question works fine and there is no need to change it. For no balls, most certainly, the decision must be exclusively that of the third umpire.

No system will be 100% perfect. There will still be instances where a batsman will escape the third umpire's finger, like Andrew Symonds did, despite evidence to the contrary. But we will have to live with it, just like we will need to live with humans making edge and LBW decisions until we can conclusively say that technology will bring greater certainty to the decision.

By the way, this is not the first time I have let off steam on line calls.


Anonymous said...

"No system will be 100% perfect"
- but it seem saussie get more in their favor then anyone else.

pointing claim for catch was the lowest sportsmanship sprit i have ever seen

Soulberry said...

John...I'm sick of reading n number of posts by shrill defenders justifying the test match.

I enjoyed your article and the line of coke bit...brilliant!

You want Jaffer to play on? But he's got to perform now and here rather than later...never mind that he's one of the best openers we have.