Thursday 17 December 2009

How was that dad {ii}

Courtesy of Mike Selvey, here is the glorious absurdity of the UDRS [how we love an acronym] in a single paragraph on Jonathan Trott:

'The not out decision was reviewed and upheld but Hawkeye had the top of leg stump clipped. Had Trott been given out and himself appealed, he would have been given out according to the protocol.'

So to summarise: Trott was, potentially, not out and out. Kurt Vonnegut [or Schrodinger] couldn't have done any better.

The problem here is not the use of technology, it's the application. By giving the power of umpiring to the players, decision-making has essentially become politicised. By allowing two incorrect appeals, informed decision-making has become arbitrary. As I've blogged before, the proper solution is to hand the technology entirely over to the umpiring team, and have each decision reviewed by the third umpire, who can then feed back in the way he usually does. 

The current system could only possibly have been designed by a committee, almost certainly after lunch...


David Barry said...

I am quite happy with how the system works now. The system is designed to remove "howlers", so close calls go with the on-field umpire. Handing every decision to the third umpire would slow the game down tremendously - umpires are extremely risk-averse in giving run-outs these days, and with all the public pressure, they would be likely to get TV help on just about everything if that was the system.

So basically, I see the review system as doing what it was intended to do, while causing some small number of delays.

The Old Batsman said...

Yes, point taken on the delays, but what is the margin of a howler? How close does it have to be? Ultimately, it's either in or out, to state the obvious. But I can live with all of that. My main problem is with essentially turning decision making into a tactic. I'd like to see players play and umpires umpire, I guess.

David Barry said...

what is the margin of a howler?
That's been defined (well, not with that word...) for LBW's in the official regulations here. Basically, a not-out decision requires the centre of the ball to be hitting at least the centre of the off- or leg-stump to be overturned. An out decision requires Hawkeye to show that the ball would have missed the stumps.

I'd like to see players play and umpires umpire, I guess.
I'm not sure if many people have written on this topic and had my opinion, but I disagree with this. I don't like umpiring errors for two reasons - because I like decisions correct, and because I absolutely hate all the carry-on about biased umpires etc. from fans when their team gets dudded by the umpires.

It seems to calm everyone down when the annoyance is at my opening batsman wasting a review rather than the umpire being clearly biased against my country.

David Barry said...

The requirement to overturn a not-out decision on a caught-behind seems less clear-cut. (I haven't dug through the regulations for this, just going on the examples I've seen in recent Aus and NZ Tests.)

There was a referral in the NZ-Pak Test (Daniel Flynn the batsman I think) after he'd been given not out. Simon Taufel was the third umpire, and he ended up overturning the on-field decision and giving Flynn out based on the real-time replay with the stump mic on (and possibly he'd been watching the seam rotation as it passed the bat? I wasn't paying that close attention). I am sure that Taufel got it right, but I don't think many third umpires would have overturned that decision.

That sort of lack of consistency between umpires doesn't bother me - the point is that the review can't make the decision worse (at least so long as Harper's not the umpire).

I also wondered if Taufel is going to give batsmen out caught-behind on referrals to encourage them to walk....

The Old Batsman said...

Yes, they're struggling with the caught behinds in SA because there's no hot spot technology.

there was also a dismissal that I think partly backed up my point about the iniquity of the player appeal system. Pietersen was bowled off a no ball. I don't see why every dismissal isn't routinely examined by the third umpire for that at least.

I suppose I just don't like the idea that there's a tactical element to the review process.I think it's against the spirit of the game.