Thursday, December 2, 2010


There has been a bit of debate going on in the blogosphere about the way UDRS is being implemented. Kartikeya makes a few very valid points here about the flawed execution of this Decision Improvement mechanism.

So, thinking about UDRS, I came up with an idea... it is not the perfect solution, but just an idea that can be looked at. Kartikeya has summarised UDRS as: "Umpires can make mistakes, and since this is so, we will allow players to make at most two mistakes in an effort to correct the umpires' mistakes."

The Michael Hussey plumb-LBW-that-was-given-not-out also pointed out the fact that howlers have not been eradicated as of yet. I had mentioned once a few months back that howlers from a match where UDRS is implemented leaves a lot more bitter taste in the mouth than howlers from match where the umpiring is left to human beings. The on-field umpires can walk up to the players at the end of the day and apologise... but Hot Spot and Snicko cannot do so.

Some bloggers suggest that it should be left to the umpires as to when to use the help of technology in decision-making and that players should not be allowed to challenge the umpires and in effect, undermine their authority. But then just 2 unsuccessful reviews in one innings is a bit of a farce. In tennis, each player is allowed 3 unsuccessful challenges in a set that barely lasts over an hour at max. If they enter a tie-breaker, they receive an additional challenge each. If the tie-breaker reaches 6-6 or 12-12 or such further scores, they again receive an additional challenge each. Where there is no tie-breaker (in the deciding sets), the challenges are reset to 3 apiece every time the set score reads 6 games each or 12 games each or such further scores. So to allow only 2 unsuccessful reviews in an innings that usually lasts for more than a day (about 10 hours usually on flat pitches) is a pity.

So I thought of a way to counter this problem. Here's my line of thought... allow unlimited reviews. But there is obviously a catch. Every time a fielding team makes an unsuccessful review, 5 penalty runs shall be awarded as extras to the batting side.

This may become unfair sometimes when the calls are very close and the final decision is the original umpire's decision... for example, when the ball is just clipping the stumps or has just pitched in line of the leg stump. In such cases, where the reviews can be justified as genuine, the penalty can be waived... but where the technology shows that it was a clear not out decision, the call for review should be considered a time-wasting strategy that shall be punished with 5 penalty runs to the opposition.

But what about when a batting team gets a review wrong? I first thought of deducting 5 runs as penalty. But we cannot have a situation where a team is minus 5 for 1. That wouldn't do! So I thought of this... when a batting team gets it wrong, do nothing. I will explain why.

When a batting team makes an unsuccessful review, it means that they have just lost a wicket. Why punish them further in such a scenario? There can at max be only 10 unsuccessful reviews by a batting team in every innings... and it is a very unlikely situation where there will actually be 10. Not all the wickets to fall are going to be LBWs or close caught-behinds. There will be some other obvious dismissals. So even if we say that a batting team makes 5 unsuccessful reviews in an innings, I really wouldn't mind the interruptions if the flip side is that the howlers in every game are being reduced to zero.

In this idea, it is still left upto the players to decide when to use UDRS, so the method of questioning the umpire's decision continues, but it at least ensures that a Michael Hussey-like situation is avoided. There may be some loopholes in my idea (there are bound to be as I am half asleep as I think of it and type it)... but I am sure you guys can come up with your own ideas to fill the cracks of replace my idea completely.

P.S.: One of the reason why I continued with the methodology of players calling for the Review (and not umpires using it on their own initiative) is that we all saw what happened in the 2005 ICC Super Series in Australia when the umpires used technology for decision-making. In my opinion, it was a flawed system... and that's why I prefer this system where the players can decide when to use the technology.


Govind Raj said...


I enjoy your posts. You are way beyond your age in maturity by the way you present your blog.

But may I suggest a small improvement ? Please brighten up your fonts. Blue on black background is taxing on the eyes.



Unknown said...

Definitely GR... I'll change it soon. Colour combinations were never my forte!

Anonymous said...

don't you think that is too much technology in the game? cricket is what it is, because of all the inherent drama, twists and turns...why do we need a perfect game? umpires' mistakes are part of the game, since time immemorial. i don't like UDRS for the simple fact, that it challenges the umpire's authority. if an umpire is not sure abt a decision, he should refer it upstairs, instead of the players appealing it. the current format is similar to amateur cricket, where when you are not happy with the decision, ask everyone else for their opinion, instead of respecting the one whose opinion matters. and don't put limit on the number of reviews. hussey's escape is a good example of how the entire complexion of the game changed due to too much technology.

Unknown said...

Hey tracer007, firstly... welcome to my blog!

Normally, I would agree with you that challenging the umpire's decision is not the wisest way out. But over time, my opinions have changed... I'll tell you why...

I watch quite a bit of tennis as well. In that sport as well, players are allowed to challenge the call of the umpire or the linesmen and lineswomen. Though the authority of these authoritative figures has reduced, the sport has not been harmed in any way.

If I may say so, the millimeter calls that separate an ace from a fault and a winner from an unforced error in that sport has added a lot more drama and excitement to it.

I am sure that over time, if UDRS is nicely implemented, it can happen with cricket also!

Anonymous said...

Nice article, majority of which I agree but one thing, the final decision power should be granted to the on field umpire instead of players to refer, else such things would happen, secondly tennis and cricket are two different things and it'd be a lot better if we differentiate between both. Implementation of technology in both games has different steps, so how can they be compared?

Unknown said...

Hello cricsphere, welcome to the blog! I agree that cricket and tennis are two different sports... so comparison must be made with care.

I don't agree when you say that these two sports cannot be compared. If there are positives that can be picked from other sports, they must be picked up... no matter how different the other sport is!

Technology's use is a common subject that is being discussed by all the sporting authorities in the world. Example: Hawkeye in Tennis, Goal-line technology in Football, UDRS in Cricket, etc. So if there is something useful that can be picked up from tennis and implemented in cricket, then I believe it must be done.

Anonymous said...

True! But there are chances that it MAY give advantage to one team and disadvantage to another. Plus like BCCI saying proper awareness should be created about this system so that skipper would used it with ease plus as the use increases it gets cheaper. Thirdly like someone up there saying, referring an umpiring decision upstairs is amateur. If any skipper feels any doubt in the decision of on field umpire, he should directly contact the field umpire so that a referral should be made upstairs by the umpire and not by the players or their skipper. Plus in future I fear it'll support someone and vice versa for another one.

Although tech must be implemented but the role of human beings should be involved else there would be a time that FICA and other players would say kick these umpires out and we should play with a third umpire only who has all the technology.

Anonymous said...

...and after a proper awareness THAN it should be implemented on high level. Is it being implemented by the domestic circuit of any of the test playing nations around the globe?

Etienne said...

I agree with the sentiment. I have always felt that if you are going to try and eliminate the howlers it should be on the 'all or nothing' basis.