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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Umpire Appeals in next India Pakistan test series

The ICC has approved an extension of the Umpire Review System first used in the recently concluded India-Sri Lanka test series. Four future series including the forthcoming India-Pakistan test series have been earmarked for further testing of the review system. Although Indian captain Kumble didn't appreciate the experiment much, that can largely be attributed to the atrocious results that India got in the review system. A total of 48 appeals for a review of the on-field umpire's decisions were made in that series out of which 25% were upheld by the television umpire. Of these 12 successful decisions, 11 went in favour of Sri Lanka with India getting only the solitary decision in their favour. That obviously irked the Indians, but then technically the ICC and not IPL is still in charge of world cricket.
The next bilateral series where the review system will be employed is the Newzealand vs West Indies test series in December. The appeals system wherein each team is allowed 3 unsuccessful appeals per innings, from what we saw of it in its maiden appearance in Sri Lanka is a great move forward - bringing in technology to improve the percentage of correct decisions will help decrease the stress on the two umpires in the middle and reduce tension between players that often take root in doubtful decisions, a lot of which we saw in the Sydney Test between India and Australia.
A smart, thinking captain like Vettori should be able to use the review system to his team's advantage against the West Indies, much like Jayawardene did for his team against India. I personally hold Anil Kumble in the highest esteem and was quite surprised that he failed to get a review strategy in place. The review system should have actually fitted in very well with Kumble's stump-to-stump accurate bowling style, and he could have got a numer of decisions reversed in his favour. Indeed if the system had been in place in the Bangalaore test against Australia, Kumble would have definitely not gone wicketless. I guess he realizes that now, but then again the IPL is still technically not in charge of world cricket!

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