Friday, May 12, 2006

Two wrongs better than a right?

Harsha's new article, besides coming hard on the much maligned BCCI gag rule, takes a look at the ICC law for appealing against umpires.
And I hope you felt as pained as I did at the recent ICC decision to land another punch on the already flattened noses of international umpires. Umpires make mistakes like all of us do in our profession and the game must try its best to reduce the number of those mistakes. But the game focuses on the umpires far too much and on the players far too little. I think the greatest stress on an umpire is the number of appeals that are made and the body language that accompanies them. If the players were a lot more honest with their appeals, the umpires would get more decisions correct.
It doesn't happen too often, but I find myself disagreeing with Harsha. Or maybe not? Well, he's right that the ICC needs to act on the nuisance of over-appealing and theatrics by bowlers, fielders (remember how it was the hot topic when Aussies were doing their war dance during the last season down under). But that does not mean the new rule to check the umpire's mistakes is wrong, does it? Yes, they are *sometimes* pressurized by those over-zealous appeals, but we have enough evidences of them getting it wrong in less challenging circumstances as well.

The ICC has, to a limited extent, tried to reign in the 'cheating' part of false appealing, as Harsha implies here..
So if a player is allowed to appeal against an umpire's verdict using technology I would like the same technology to be used to expose cricketers who make ridiculous appeals when they know a player is not out. Football now penalizes a player who tries to induce a mistake from the referee and I think the time has come to use that in cricket as well.
I remember atleast some players being penalized for claiming a false catch (umm...was it the WI keeper Jacobs??)...but anyway those rules need to be revised and re-inforced more definitively. One way out, as Harsha suggests here, is to link it to this "right to appeal against umpire" law i.e. bowler makes a ridiculous appeal, he loses his right to refer the umpire's decision for that innings.


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