One of the greatest things about southern hemisphere summer holidays is that it is also cricket season. And I am a cricket fanatic (for more on cricket read a serious summary and a humurous summary of the rules).
I was up at 4:30am this morning to continue watching SA vs Aus – an intriguing text match, going into a tense final day tomorrow, with Aus very much in control. Then flipped over to watch England fight it out against Pakistan, trying to keep the one day series alive.
When England were on 38 (for 3), there was a shocking umpiring decision from Tony Hill, who called Trescothick in to a ball he clearly nicked to the keeper. In the din of the Pakistan oval, he didn’t hear the clear nick that everyone listening on TV heard. In the Super series (Aus v rest of the world) earlier this year, they experimented with giving in field umpires earpieces with the stump mic sound effects piped to them. All umpires said it was great.

When SA were trying to bowl Aus out, on day 3, Hodge was given not out when caught at point off Pollock, with Pollock being adjudged to have delivered a front foot no ball (He went on to get 203* in the second innings). The instant replay indicated that he clearly was not over the line, and the batter should have been given out. In some limited overs games, umpires can call on the TV 3rd umpire to adjudicate no balls. All agree it is helpful.
When listening to radio commentary on the Sa-Aus test this morning, one of the commentators said, “on the whole the umpires have had a good game. They’re only human, so you do expect errors, but they’ve had more good decisions than bad in this game.”
How long can this attitude survive? With all the technology available today, everyone can see these mistakes. And the umpires at the game have instant access to this information, so getting them involved will not slow the game down more than fractionally. And surely its worth it, to get the decision right? This is a professional game, and needs more professionalism.
Maybe its ego’s. Maybe its traditionalism. But whatever it is, it has to change if a new generation of cricket fanatics are going to be grown around the world. Getting it “more right than wrong” is not acceptable in the 21st century. Its time to drag cricket into this new century.

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