Mixed reviews from players on review system
CRICKET: KINGSTON, Jamaica, Feb 6, 2009 - Players on both sides in
the opening Test between West Indies and England have expressed
skepticism about the umpire decision review system currently under trial
by the sport's World governing body.
West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan may have benefitted from it
twice on the second day of the Test at Sabina Park, but he abhors the
so-called referral system, and England wicketkeeper/batsman Matt Prior
believes there are still kinks that need to be worked out.
The referral system came into sharp focus on Thursday, when England's
last two wickets - Steve Harmison and Monty Panesar - unsuccessfully
challenged decisions against them, and then three lbw decisions were
referred to video umpire Daryl Harper when West Indies batted.
The sole wicket for England before the close came when left-handed
opener Devon Smith was adjudged lbw to Andrew Flintoff, after the
visitors referred umpire Tony Hill's original "not-out" verdict to
Harper. But Sarwan was twice let-off by the technology.
Crucially, he was on five, when an off-cutter from Steve Harmison
struck him on the pads and Hill gave him "out", but Sarwan and batting
partner Chris Gayle, the West Indies captain, asked for the decision to
be referred and Harper overturned his colleague's decision. "I am not a
big fan of the referral system," Sarwan told reporters. "We used it in
our recent series in New Zealand, and it was a bit confusing. I am not a
big fan of it, but I am glad it worked [on Thursday]."
The International Cricket Council has confirmed that the ongoing
trial of the referral system will afford each side two unsuccessful
reviews an innings rather than the three that were available previously.
The change to the playing conditions of the trial was made after
receiving initial feedback from players and match officials.
If it proves to be a successful modification in the first two Tests
of this series, it will also be introduced for the final series to be
used in the trial - Australia's tour to South Africa.
But Sarwan and his West Indies teammates would rather the trial not
have started in the first place, although he may have been dismissed
"I think it is more important for us to concentrate on what we have
to do - batting, bowling, fielding - and put it out of our minds," he
"I think it takes the umpires out of the game a bit too much. . .They
are only human and will make mistakes, and probably something we as
players need to understand.
"I have been incorrectly dismissed in the 90s before and I had to
walk. If it happened again, I guess I would have to walk.
"And there are situations where you are batting and you are on 10,
and you know you have edged the ball and the umpire says, 'not out', so
I think these things tend to even themselves out."
Prior however, believes patience is needed before the entire referral
system can be written off as a failure. "It is a bit weird, to be
honest," he said. "It feels strange. When something is used for the
first time, it takes some time getting used to it.
"I think it is a pretty instinctive thing. You may see something and
think it is out, or you don't really.
"When the Steve Harmison decision [over Sarwan] wasn't given out, you
almost second guess yourself a little bit. I thought it was pretty
close, so then you start thinking what is out and what is not out. It is
quite tricky." Prior's only concern is that the authorities make sure
the system is fool-proof and the correct decisions are made all of the
time. West Indies resume the third day on Friday on 160 for one,
replying to England's first innings total of 318.