Technology at the Highest Level of Cricket should be used to its Full Potential

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It’s a sad state of affairs when it looks like the only way England will snaffle 20 wickets in a Test is by the TV Umpire getting things continually wrong. Ramnaresh Sarwan, in the form of his life, reaching 184 not out at the close of play on day 3 has been somewhat overshadowed by some howlers from TV umpire Daryl Harper.


Whilst ‘immovable force’ Sarwan continues his imperious form with the bat drama transcended from the other end with Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Brendan sent wrongfully packing.

First, he sent Shivnarine Chanderpaul on his way for 70 to a delivery that would have cleared the stumps by six inches; then he followed up this farcical note by overruling the onfield umpire, Aleem Dar to give out Brendan Ash for a ball way over the stumps once more. This bizarre course of events left everyone involved in a state of shock with steam coming from the ears of  West Indian coach, John Dyson.

As a pundit it is very easy to start pointing fingers at officials and people in the wrong. And I’ll do that to some extent in such a case, however whilst the Brendan Nash overruling is lamentable on Harper’s part it is in fact the means by which the ICC have adopted the TV referral system into Test Match cricket is the real culprit. The continual debate surrounding the system demonstrates that it’s a botched ICC experiment.

The inherent flaw of the system is that technology is not being utilised to its full potential. Hawkeye technology is widespread in the game now and is already part of the furniture. Its primary benefit is to give armchair spectators some closure on decisions. It has been acknowledged that it could be used to adjudicate lbw decisions and with that notion the ICC introduced it and the experiment was born.

The experiment falters because the TV umpire does not get the same privelege as the armchair spectator. The TV umpire may look at what the ball has actually done up to the point when it hits the batsman, but may not look at the predicted flight of the ball after it hits the batsman. Me in my armchair could see that the Chanderpaul and Nash deliveries were missing by a distance but to Daryl Harper they must have been touch and go. Had he had the full trajectory and path after the batsman was struck would he have made the howlers?

The use of technology in cricket is an area of controversy that would be very difficult to sit on the fence with. My position is that of a strong advocate of technology and it should be used to the full extent. The steady pace and somewhat leisurely stop-start nature of the sport we love is taylor made for such technology. A TV referral system with technology fully used does not in any way undermine the onfield umpire any more than the ludicrous system the ICC system has in place now.

Contrast this debate with a sport such as football and the arguments are much more grey in colour. Goalline technology could be invaluable but would interrupt the fast flowing style of football that has seen crowds marvel at. Not the case in cricket.

Hawkeye is being used in tennis to great affect and great praise. In the Australian Open a month ago the effectiveness of the referral system the tennis association has put in place was evident for all to see. Surely the ICC could put in place a referral system that will work which harnesses the power of the technology and simultaneously reinforce the efforts of the onfield umpire.

Bring in hawkeye properly and utilise hotspot. At the highest level these technologies can be a godsend.

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