I have been watching the US Open the last couple of weeks and was pleasantly surprised to find that players were given opportunities to challenge the referee’s decision. Once a challenge is made, the location of the pitch of the ball is projected, animated and displayed on the screen and the decision is reversed if required. All this takes less than 30 secs probably. I feel this is healthy to the sport. Even though each tennis court has about 5-6 people calling the shots and a referee, the technology that is available to enhance the sport is being used effectively.
I really wish that cricket also takes a cue from this and enables the use of technology
The debate is old and the both sides have held out strongly. However, Ian Chappell has a different take on the issue. I am replicating my comments on Sankar’s blog here to illustrate this take.:
I think you have a point … a very valid point.
However, I was listening to commentary yesterday on the TV. There was , expectedly, a lot of discussion over the decisions that Aleem Daar handed out. Ian Chappell came out and said that it should either be justice for all or justice for none.
Right now, it is the prerogative of the on-field umpires on whether they want to use technology or not (i.e call for the third umpire or not). In some cases, they do not have that option. So, there is justice for some (like for India against Collingwood in the 6th ODI) while there isn’t justice for others (like Sachin and Dravid the other night).
Even with a referrals system, a team could soon run out of the number of referrals they are allowed and may have to chose selectively on which decisions to debate (again selectivity).
So, the point is: you either run it totally with technology (no on-field umpires, decision by slow-motion replay) or you keep technology completely out of it and go back to the age before third umpire came in.
It sounds like an all or nothing call. I do believe, however, that we have spent a lot of time experimenting with the third umpire concept and it is now time to move to the next level. If people feel it is a useful tool, they should embrace it completely. If, on the other hand, it has not helped, it is time to ditch it and look for alternatives.
Half-measures will not help. Wouldn’t you agree ?
On an aside, I believe they pay Ian half of what they pay the other commentators because he keeps so quiet in the box. When he does have something to say, though, it is usually something really worth hearing. This is in stark contrast to the mono-drones that come from Sunil Gavaskar (I also feel “Sunny” is heavily partial to the Indian players which kind of gets tiresome after a while)..
Sample this from last night’s telecast:
Harsha: India have a history of defending low totals at Lords. In 1983, they successfully defended 183, against the WI. In 2004, they successfully defended 204 against England. This is 2007, so they should make 207. That is the magic number.
Ian: Harsha, the magic number is one more than your opponent’s score. That is all you need to win the match !
As India Uncut would say, immense joy unfolds !