Thursday, August 5, 2010


Sachin Tendulkar: c. P Jayawardene b. L Malinga 41 (72)

This is what happened in the very first over of the day when Sachin chased a wide one from Malinga and nicking it to the jubilant young keeper as the Lankans gathered to celebrate Malinga's 100th Test wicket... a special one as it was of the Indian maestro!

But something perplexed me in the replays that followed. The 'Snicko' did not detect a nick as the ball went past the bat. But everyone could detect the nick in Sachin's expression immediately after the shot and the confidence of the Lankan appeal. Usually when SRT feels that he has been given a harsh decision (it has happened many a time so we know that reaction well!), he just shakes his head before making the walk. Today there wasn't any shake of the head... there was just a grimace, showing the disappointment of having nicked a ball that did not deserve the wicket of the highest run-scorer in Test cricket!

So we know one thing for sure: SRT did nick that ball! Then the question to be asked is: WHY DID THAT NICK DID NOT REGISTER ON THE SNICKO? The stump microphones are turned up to their full volume reception when a bowler is delivering the ball. If SRT's nick was so obvious to the keeper, bowler and the umpire, then surely it must have created a sound. The fact that it went undetected forces me to conclude that Snicko is an imprecise technology.

Given that the Hawk Eye team admits that they have a certain small percentage of imperfection in their predictive techniques, we now have two pieces of technology that can be easily qualified as 'imperfect'. And guess what, ICC plans to form its Umpires' Decision Review System in the base of these two technologies in its showpiece event next year... the World Cup!

The news is out that the Hot Spot cameras are too expensive to purchase... what rubbish! This is Cricket World Cup... one that happens once in 4 years... and one that is happening in India after 15 year! If this cannot generate money, then I don't know what can! But in any case, moving on... with the Hot Spot technology unavailable atleast till the Quarter Finals stage of the event, the UDRS will be restricted to Super Slow-Motion Replay Cameras, Snickometers and Hawk Eye Technology. The first one usually proves nothing conclusively... and the other two have already demonstrated their imperfections!

In such a case, I would rather suggest the ICC to not use the UDRS at all till the Quarter Final stage of the event. A bad decision from the UDRS leaves a much worse taste than a bad decision coming from a human umpire. Umpires can later walk up to players and apologies... UDRS cannot do that! A half-cooked meal is bound to cause a nasty stomach ache!

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