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    June 14, 2006

    Six and out?

    Fundamentally, I don't really object to the ICC's new protocol on handling boundary line dismissals. It's good that they've come out with a policy to avoid another Antigua-like situation.

    The new protocol states
    Where a batsman hits the ball in the air to a fielder near the boundary and the on-field umpires are uncertain whether a catch has been completed or a boundary scored, the on-field umpires are entitled to refer the boundary decision to the TV umpire in accordance with Clause 3.2.4 of the ICC Playing Conditions.

    Once the boundary decision request has been referred to him, the TV umpire has the responsibility to make a decision solely on whether a boundary has been scored.

    If the TV replay evidence is inconclusive, the TV umpire must still make a boundary decision. His decision must be made using the existing convention in cricket which dictates that the status quo prevails - i.e. because no evidence exists of a boundary being scored, no boundary is awarded.

    This decision is conveyed back to the on-field umpires. In these circumstances, as no boundary has been scored, the only decision left is for the on-field umpire at the bowler's end to give the batsman out - caught.
    Effectively this means the on-field umpires ask the third umpire if the fielder was touching the rope while having the ball on his person. If the answer to that is yes, then the batsman gets runs (four or six). If the answer to that is no, then the batsman is ruled out (caught or run out). If the TV umpire cannot decide, then the status quo prevails, i.e. no boundary. Ergo, the dismissal stands.

    I'm not inclined to believe that this is necessarily a fair process. Something to the effect of "This isn't a boundary, hence you're out" effectively means that a batsman gets dismissed due to lack of evidence. A dismissal is (predominantly) a far far more important event than a boundary. I find it strange that they're even being adjudged at the same level.

    My gut feeling is that this is mostly a reaction to the events at Antigua and this protocol retrospectively justifies the (in)decisions of Asad Rauf, Simon Taufel and Billy Doctrove.

    Can't we just have a compromise identical to what exists in backyard/street cricket - six and out?
    Thus spake Jagadish @ 6:28 PM |
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    9 sledge(s):

    "Six and out" :-)..hehe...our version of street cricket had no boundaries...only fences (which you couldn't touch, but take help from to make a good leap before catching the ball ;-)

    Btw...I think this rule is not a new 'rule' as such, but more of a clarification on how to resolve a situation within the scope of existing regulations and assumptions. This situation, within the existing context, is similar to when the fielder catches the ball, realises he is about to step over the rope, throws it back. And the third ump is called to judge whether he threw it back in time. No evidence means no boundary.

    By Blogger worma (14-Jun-2006, 6:52:00 PM)  

    I guess your street cricket has parallels in international cricket too! I think at Adelaide, fielders can 'use' the boundary fence to take catches. I remember Kanitkar taking a screamer off Inzamam in the 1999/2000 VB Series. I still think six and out is the way to go. Imagine if that had been the solution at Antigua, everyone'd have been happy - Dhoni for the six, Dave Mohd. & Lara for the wicket and Dravid for the declaration. Heck, it may have even meant an extra two or three overs for India to get that damn last wicket!

    By Blogger Jagadish (14-Jun-2006, 8:05:00 PM)  

    "A dismissal is (predominantly) a far far more important event than a boundary. " -- This is definitely true. But on a second thought, When the third umpire is inconclusive about an appeal made, its upto the fielder's decision. This is something like old times when there was no concept of third umpire. If a batsmen is caught at the ropes, & the ground umpires can't make a decision, then he takes the word of the fielder & walks away. Its all in the spirit of the game. Coz, at the end of the day, Cricket is a Gentlemen's game.

    By Blogger Sesh (15-Jun-2006, 8:55:00 AM)  

    sesh - In an ideal world, you'd have batsmen take the fielder's (and bowler's) word and would walk even if they got just a feather touch. In an ideal world, bowlers wouldn't cry themselves hoarse appealing. In an ideal world, we'd not even have match refs. Given what's at stake (money, fame etc.), I can't see why players should take their opponents' word. There's no guarantee that Ganga (or Lara) would take Dhoni's word that he'd caught the ball cleanly (or stumped cleanly), especially if there was a match to be won/saved. I'd certainly love it if players trusted each other more. Inconclusive tv replays don't help, for that matter. So should the focus be on ensuring that TV production houses produce good quality feed or should the focus be on ensuring players trust each other?

    By Blogger Jagadish (15-Jun-2006, 2:10:00 PM)  

    wow six and out would have definitely made each of the sides happy, in hindsight of course, but i think a more fair decision would have been to declare the ball a dead ball and award neither the 6 to the batsman or the wicket to the bowler.

    By Blogger MountCleverest (15-Jun-2006, 4:20:00 PM)  

    I completely accept, TV houses should produce good quality feed. But thats not always possible especially when the game is hosted by a country like Caribbean. The amount of money that TV companies spend on the game hugely depends upon where the game is played & by whom. Ensuring players trust each other would not be a bad option in these scenarios.

    By Blogger Sesh (15-Jun-2006, 8:15:00 PM)  

    mountcleverest: Or that too. But is that necessarily a just solution? Just because TV feed was not clear, do you annul the ball altogether? Like I've mentioned before, a quicker solution may have given India an extra 5-10 minutes which would _probably_ have been enough to take that one last wicket :)

    sesh: TV companies dictate schedules to a large extent. The cricket boards need to get in place agreements which enforce certain standards on production houses. Doordarshan/Zee Sports/Sahara sports ... everyone goes to an ad break a few seconds after a dismissal and the first ball of the next over is invariably missed. I'd never agree to a geographical location excuse. If you've forked out enough money to get the rights, you better get them "right"!

    By Blogger Jagadish (15-Jun-2006, 8:22:00 PM)  

    I thght, the minimum overs for the day was still bowled out on day 4 inspite of minutes wasted due to the Lara-incident.

    By Blogger Sesh (16-Jun-2006, 2:13:00 AM)  

    sesh: "Minimum" no. of overs. Play goes on for six hours in the day. If time hadn't been lost, India could have squeezed in 2-3 more overs the previous day, not on day five obviously. Then again, nothing may have happened.

    By Blogger Jagadish (16-Jun-2006, 6:39:00 PM)  

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