Monday, 7 December 2009

An umpire's final decision?

In the past, I haven't thought much of Ricky Ponting's captaincy at all. In what I have managed to see of this series, however, I haven't had any problem with his strategies. In contrast, his behaviour after the first referral regarding Chanderpaul was ridiculous. I have in the past agreed with his comments on cameras and low catches, but they just make his response to the not out decision even more ridiculous.

Ponting says that the referral system was meant to get rid of things like that, presumably meaning mistakes that are 'obvious'. That is a stupid idea - it was only meant to get rid of mistakes that were obvious to the tv viewer with certain technology. As well as being largely motivated by television, the system restricts the third umpire to approved technology, rather than giving them everything that might be provided to the spectator at home.

It is quite clear that a mistake could be 'obvious' to those on the field without being obvious to the cameras, or even being wrong. In this case, I think it is more likely that there was an edge than that there wasn't. However, the replays and hotspot views shown did not provide enough to justify a conclusive umpire's decision, and certainly not enough to justify overturning a decision in the current framework. I do question why both hotspot cameras were not used, but I believe there will always be some level of ambiguity, if not error, not matter how good the technology is.

Ponting should have accepted that the cameras did not provide the evidence of what he thought he heard and saw. Instead, as some predicted, the review system has provoked even stronger dissent. The match referee should haul him up on a charge of dissent, or at least stupidity. Of course, off the field, more interest has been shown to the later appeal, when the umpire's not out decision was overturned. I still haven't seen footage of this, but form all accounts it was a strange decision by third umpire Asad Rauf. Most disturbing are the rumours circulating that this prompted the withdrawal and retirement of umpire Benson.

For an umpire to not complete a test for reasons other than relating to health is a very big deal. It is hard to believe the "suggestions" received by the Sunday Times (and of course repeated by Cricinfo, Fairfax media and others as facts reported by the Sunday Times) that Benson's departure from Australia was motivated by these incidents, rather than existing health problems. I don't see why the issues as reported would require a visit to hospital rather than a phone call to his long-standing doctor. Obviously the suggestions came form somewhere, but I can't see how it could be true that he was upset most by the second decision, unless there is much more to the story in the umpires' room.

Before the talk of retirement, I'd have hoped the umpires' coach would take a careful look at Benson's performance in Adelaide. In any case, he is no stranger to criticism of his decisions. However, it seems to me that apart form ill health, I suspect it is not he that should be the centre of the attention at the moment.


Homer said...


Ponting has previous. And the ICC has previous too. As does Chris Broad.

Dont expect anything to come of it!


Jonathan said...

Broad has already commented - apparently none of us want to see it, but it didn't cross the line... too bad there isn't a charge of "stupidity".

Wasim said...

The sytem is not perfect especially when it comes to thin edges and close LBW calls,at least four cameras should be installed to make the system more error free.

The main objective of the UDRS is to eliminate obvious mistakes made by umpires, but we will have to accept that there will be instances when the third umpire will make a judgement error on a close call.

We have to accept the fact that the use of technology is a step forward it will eliminate a lot of obvious mistakes if not all of them.

The dissent rules should apply to both on field decisions and the UDRS alike.

There were a few contraversial decisions made in the PAK-NZ series but overall the system is quite helpful and fair.

The ICC should consider increasing the unsuccessful appeals to three or four from two for test matches.
For Odis they can limit them to two.

Jonathan said...

Wasim, you are absolutely right about there always being the possibility of errors being made, as well as presence of doubt. Ignoring other factors, the question would be how to minimise this.

I expect the dissent rules don't make a distinction between the different sorts of decisions. They shouldn't! The problem is that Ponting manages to convince umpires/referees that he is is just asking questions that a captain is entitled to ask. You would have to be on the field to know whether there is a (fine) difference between him and others who are pulled up, or a difference in how they are treated, but either way I don't like it.

Wasim said...

Jonathan but how does he gets away with the criticism he expresses in front of the media?

Mark Benson also got away with dissent. Everybody knows that he didn't left the field because of his health condition he didn't liked his decision to be over turned and now he wants to retire because he doesn't like the review system.

As regards the dissent rules I know that officially there is no distinction but still everybody from players to umpires are criticizing the decisions and the system.

achettup said...

Hey Jonathan, I just tried coming here via Chrome 4 and got this message "The website at contains elements from the site, which appears to host malware – software that can hurt your computer or otherwise operate without your consent. Just visiting a site that contains malware can infect your computer.
For detailed information about the problems with these elements, visit the Google Safe Browsing diagnostic page for
Learn more about how to protect yourself from harmful software online."
Just to let you know about it...

Jonathan said...

Wasim, on this occasion he was very careful in the media. In any case, the referees are not consistent.

As for Benson, the talk about retirement was a load of media rubbish. I'm not at all convinced it wasn't simply his health, but even if there is more to it, it's not simply dissent.

Achettup, thanks for passing that on. I do have the Domestic Cricket Blog in my blogroll, but I can't see where malware comes into things.

achettup said...

Hey Jonthan, so I followed it up a bit, I think they're worried about a potential XSS attack. Here's the message about the problems at, which you might want to pass on to them:

What is the current listing status for
Site is listed as suspicious - visiting this web site may harm your computer.

Part of this site was listed for suspicious activity 1 time(s) over the past 90 days.

What happened when Google visited this site?
Of the 8 pages we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 3 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time Google visited this site was on 2009-12-16, and the last time suspicious content was found on this site was on 2009-12-07.
Malicious software includes 1 trojan(s). Successful infection resulted in an average of 1 new process(es) on the target machine.

Malicious software is hosted on 2 domain(s), including,

1 domain(s) appear to be functioning as intermediaries for distributing malware to visitors of this site, including

This site was hosted on 1 network(s) including AS26347 (DREAMHOST).

Has this site acted as an intermediary resulting in further distribution of malware?
Over the past 90 days, did not appear to function as an intermediary for the infection of any sites.

Has this site hosted malware?
No, this site has not hosted malicious software over the past 90 days.

How did this happen?
In some cases, third parties can add malicious code to legitimate sites, which would cause us to show the warning message.

Next steps:
Return to the previous page.
If you are the owner of this web site, you can request a review of your site using Google Webmaster Tools. More information about the review process is available in Google's Webmaster Help Center.

Jonathan said...

Thanks, Achettup. I've told Jrod - not sure that Moses or Miss Field are still around. Might be best just to take it off, since it's not active.

Kartikeya said...

Jonathan.. it would be interesting to know where Chris Broad thinks the line is when it comes to Ricky Ponting in particular and Australia in general.

Kartikeya said...

btw... i just got the malware warning as well.

Jonathan said...

Kartikeya, it appears the line is somewhere between repeatedly asking umpires stupid questions, and kicking the ground, unless he treats Ponting and Bollinger differently.

I'll remove the link.