Dissecting the player referral regulation
The ICC has published the regulations around players seeking reviews of umpiring decisions
(player referrals, in short). This was originally to have been implemented
during South Africa's tour of England, but the two sides were reluctant to be the guinea pigs
. Perhaps, if Geraint Jones
(born in Papua New Guinea) had been playing, there would have found a guinea pig!
It cannot be denied that the umpiring howlers
at Sydney 2008
were what accelerated the decision-making process.
My belief is that this is a good thing. I do not buy the argument that good and bad decisions are part of the game. I do not understand why they should be part of the game. I know that it is not possible for on-field umpires to get all their decisions right all the time. But the administrators need to either improve the standard of on-field umpires or relieve some of the stress
that they go through. If this isn't done, we'll keep seeing umpires apologizing for incorrect decisions
Some of my thoughts around the proposed player referral system:
- The regulation says "The total time elapsed between the ball becoming dead and the review request being made should be no more than a few seconds.". Hence, this rules out the possibility of the fielding side discussing and then asking for the referral. The captain could walk up to some of his players and say "Hey, do we really want to get him out? He's anyway batting stupidly". Imagine it is a limited overs international and Jacques Kallis is batting with South Africa needing to make 8 an over across 35 overs and Kallis has 20(43). If I were the opposing captain, I'd really want Kallis to bat on for 10 overs more and I'd never ask for a referral!
- What sort of question does the on-field umpire ask? Let's say there was an lbw appeal and then the fielders also went up for a bat-pad catch. Will the fielding side appeal for the lbw or the bat-pad for the referral? Can the on-field umpire just ask the TV umpire "Tell me if he is out, and in what manner"? Or should he specify the mode of dismissal being appealed?
- Like Ian Chappell says, the problem with 3 referrals is that the biggest impacting wrong decision cannot be questioned. My suggestion is that instead of a limit of 3 referrals, there should be a run penalty per unsuccessful appeal (say 5 runs in ODIs and 20 runs in tests). But, I don't quite agree with his argument that this doesn't solve the problems around umpiring standards. It should be possible for the ICC committees to keep track of which umpires' decisions are successfully challenged the most frequently.
- The one good thing that may come out of the referral system is that meaningless appeals could come down. e.g. if a batsman is struck on the pads and it looks fairly adjacent, previously there'd have been very vociferous appealing hoping that the umpire would ignore the obvious inside edge off the bat. Now, since the batsman can question the decision, such appeals would be reduced. You could also see less instances of player dissent.
You can vote
on whether the new mechanism of players seeking a review of umpiring decisions will reduce the number of umpiring mistakes.
Labels: icc, reviews, umpires