Cricket Debate: Time to Review The Use Of Technology


I am all for the use of technology in sport (in general) and cricket (in particular) but I have a number of caveats that I think should be in place:

  1. It should not slow down the game
  2. It should not infringe on the “spirit of the game”
  3. It should be consistent.

The recent India v England series highlighted how we are drifting away from these caveats, not least with the umpires being inconsistent in their interpretation of “benefit of the doubt” to the batsman (I hate the term batter – I am all for equality but what is wrong with batsman and batswoman? We are English not American after all!)

And the length these reviews take (or not) no wonder cricket is often sponsored by Tea Companies. If the players have 15 seconds to ask for a review then shouldn’t the reviews be time restricted as well?

DRS was for brought in to correct obvious errors by the Umpire, so maybe have a set number of angles to check and a time limit. If it is not obvious after that then umpires decision stands.

You can’t be a little bit pregnant nor can you be a little bit out. If the ball is deemed to be hitting the wickets at all, then that is out. If the ball is not clearly outside the line when pitching/hitting then it is inline.

I also would like to see some way in which the fielding team identifies what it is appealing for as after all that is what the umpire is being asked to base their decision on, and that is what the DRS should be checking: their decision, not if something else was missed.

I have written about some of these issues before, including a revision to the No Ball rule: it is great that technology checks for no balls, but why not award the batting team 4 runs for a no ball, and do away with the extra ball. Speed the game up, penalise the bowler without giving them the extra ball to try and get a wicket.

As well as checking for no balls I would use the third umpire and technology to check for every run out and stumping. Don’t waste time waiting for an appeal or the umpire to refer it, get on with the job in real time and keep the game moving. Ditto checking the boundary: we know it’s going to happen so be proactive, keep the game moving.

An area that is as tough as any is always going to be the catch close to the ground and until technology improves significantly then this will always open up as much debate and it provides answers so make it time related. If you can’t see an obvious reversal of the umpires decision in 30 seconds, move on.

And as my intention is to keep the game moving why not consider linking the number of reviews to overs bowled? Bowl to slow in the first innings, lose a review in the second innings. Not bowl enough overs in the day, give the batting team an extra review.

And if you want to get really radical, as in tennis when the server is entitled to serve when he is ready ….. bowler can bowl when he gets back to his mark, so if the batsman is in the middle of changing his gloves he is in a mess!!! I know, will never catch on but it would certainly speed the game up, and stop the batting team tactically slowing the games down so the fielding team lost a review as suggested above.

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