Thursday, July 24, 2008

An Impressive Debut

So, Cricket's much anticipated referral system got underway today in the first Test of the ongoing Sri Lanka - India series.

In summary...both the batsman and the captain of the fielding side are allowed to ask for a referral (aka challenge, review). Each team gets three unsuccessful challenges per innings (there is no limit on successful challenges). The third umpire looks at a few replays to determine whether there is enough to overturn the on-field umpire's decision. Use of Hawkeye or anything like that is not allowed (which is fine).

There were three referrals done today, with the second one a perfect example of why referrals are a great idea:

45.4: Harbhajan to Warnapura. LBW appeal turned down by on-field umpire. Kumble refers to third umpire, who agrees with on-field umpire's decision. Challenge was unsuccessful.

105.3: Zaheer to Dilshan. Dilshan given out caught behind. Dilshan challenges it. Third umpire overrules on-field umpire's decision! Challenge was successful.

119.1: Harbhajan to Dilshan. LBW appeal turned down by on-field umpire. Kumble refers to third umpire, who agrees with on-field umpire's decision. Challenge was unsuccessful.

Of course, there are innumerable pros which are fairly obvious. But I'll mention a couple of potential issues I see with this system...first, there is the time delay factor - how much will this referral system impact a sport that is already so pressed for time (yes, even five days aren't enough! ;-). Second, what is the time limit to challenge a decision? You want to avoid pavilion involvement, i.e. you don't want the supporting cast to see a replay and then signal accordingly to the on-field players. As long as a player decides to challenge within 10-15 seconds, it should be ok.

Overall though, a great idea, and a much-needed relief for players, umpires, and fans. This cricket fan, for one, is extremely excited. Let's hear it for Technology! And, we all take our shots at them all the time, so let's give them a rare moment of appreciation...kudos to you, ICC, for pressing on with this system despite less than welcoming attitudes from many in the cricketing world, and a failed trial in domestic cricket.

Make your pitch on this post...

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4 Pitched:

  1. Q said...

    Definitely an impressive debut. On the news right now all reporters, former players, speakers are praising the referral system and its succesful trial.

    Its a welcome addition I think and the delays won't be that much really. It takes about he same time as a 3rd umpire looking at a run out / stumping.

    Definitely kudos to the ICC this time. For this and letting the champs trophy stay in Pakistan. Or should the pat on the back go to India?

  2. SledgeHammer said...

    Credit for Champions Trophy staying in Pakistan definitely goes to India. Their support was crucial. India basically runs the ICC. Now let's just hope no untoward events happen in Pakistan.

    As for delays, the only thing is that run-out/stumpings don't occur very often, at least in Tests. Still though, cricket will find a way.

  3. Anonymous said...

    Definitely agree the Champs Trophy should stay in Pakistan (what is meant to have got worse since they won it in the first place?)

    But, sadly, the militant players associations of NZ, Aus, Eng and maybe even SA will ruin it.

    It's hard to know exactly what Pakistan needs to do to be allowed to host teams again.

  4. Anonymous said...

    The only point q is that no matter what technology is used, human error will be there and it showed even in this series. There is no solution to this... at least we can hope that it might take some headaches out.

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