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Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Selectors in Cricket Australia(CA) have decided to anoint Michael Clarke as successor to Ricky Ponting. This move raised a number of eyebrows, including those of Adam Gilchrist, but CA says the decision was made with a vision for the future. Below is the video of Brad Hogg's wicket of New Zealander Gareth Hopkins in the recent Chappell-Hadlee series. Michael Clarke was clearly playing in the "right spirit of the game" similar to the way he played against India.

As the video shows, Hopkins is not happy. The way he kept turning to look behind on his way back to the pavilion says it all. He is not at all pleased.

Compare this with what happened in the recent Sydney test. Sourav Ganguly stood his ground confident that Clarke grounded his catch. What happened later is history. Michael Clarke's acceptance of having grounded the catch is what is playing in the right spirit of the game. He was definitely playing in the spirit of the game but in the wrong one.

Why didn't the Kiwis react like the Indians did? It's probably because the New Zealand media does not care a damn for cricket. While in India, come the cricket season and the whole of the Indian media is glued to it. There has been a lot of talk on technology replacing conventional umpiring. Experts have even opined that umpires are not needed on the field. But what I am trying to emphasise is how technology can be put to best use in cricket. If Daniel Vettori and his teammates, upon watching the replay many times, had demanded that the umpire recall the decision against Hopkins, Michael Clarke would have thought twice before saying 'Yes' to the question of whether he had taken Ganguly's catch cleanly.

Below is a video of Kumar Sangakkara's dismissal in the Brisbane test when Sri Lanka was chasing a target of 507. Sri Lanka seemed to getting closer to the target with Sangakkara leading the way when Rudi Koertzen played foul.

The third umpire could play a stronger role in avoiding such false decisions in future. Irrespective of whether the dismissal is a clean one or not, the third umpire could check with the TV replays and if a decision is found to be false, he could ask the on-field umpires to change their decision. This is more or less similar to what Steve Waugh refers to as a "referral system" in which the third umpire is referred to for the fall of each wicket. This will in turn help cricket boards to know about the character of their players and also helps avoid making decisions like appointing a dishonest cricketer as the captain of his side.

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Property of Sheks @ 3:34 pm  
  • At 3:41 pm, Blogger Karthik B.S. said…

    Yes, the referral system could play a pivotal role in overcoming umpiring faults. Nice write-up.

  • At 4:40 am, Blogger smale said…

    A fair resolution: 1) declare the second test between Australia and India played at Sydney during January 2 – 6, 2008 to be NULL and VOID on legal grounds, 2) cancel the ban on Harbhajan Singh, but punish him along with Andrew Symonds, Michael Clark and Brad Hogg for conduct unbecoming of players of test cricket, and of representatives of their countries.

    Explanation: The umpires officiating for the test match (Mark Benson and Steve Bucknor) and the captains (Ricky Ponting and Anil Kumble) of the two playing sides have some legal grounds to enter into an oral agreement about umpiring decisions that AUGMENTS the ICC rules which provide for the umpires’ current decision making capabilities. However, under no circumstances do they have the jurisdiction to enter into an agreement between themselves that SUBVERTS the current rules of the ICC. To make this point clear, consider the incident involving Saurav Ganguly’s dismissal in his second innings. Ganguly (a left-hander) had nicked a ball, and the ball was supposedly caught by Michael Clarke in the slip position. Under normal circumstances, if the fielder (Clarke) was not in the direct line of sight of the umpire (Benson), or if the umpire was not sure if the catch was clean, he would consult the square leg umpire (Bucknor). If the square leg umpire also could not deliver a clear verdict, then the third umpire, who has the benefit of the TV replays, is referred to. This is the procedure for determining the dismissal of the batsman, as provided by the rules of the ICC.

    Now, there is definitely the possibility that, when the third umpire is called in, the TV replays also could not determine the verdict clearly. This might be the case, for example, if the TV cameras could not provide the complete information on the position and the movement of the ball and the fielder during the catch. Currently, in international cricket, the batsman is usually given the benefit of the doubt, if the third umpire also could not reach a clear verdict. In this second test match, if the captains and the umpires, in this particular situation (where the third umpire is inconclusive), had agreed that to resolve the ambiguity in a more transparent manner, they would take the word of the fielder who caught the ball (to be conveyed to the umpires through the captain of the fielding side), then they are on a relatively strong legal ground. However, in the case of Ganguly’s dismissal, the umpire, Benson, decided to directly ask the captain of the fielding side, rather than first ask the square leg umpire and the third umpire. Thus his action amounts to subverting the decision process provided by the ICC rules. At this point, perhaps it is worth interjecting that there is no need to ascribe any sinister motives to the umpire. He must have simply gone by the earlier ‘Gentlemen’s agreement’, and possibly, he might not have understood the legal implications of his actions. Also, it is worth explaining the seriousness of this issue with an example here. In a game of cricket, if the umpires and the captains, on their own, could make agreements that subvert the ICC rules, then there is no guarantee that what is played at the venue is cricket. Just imagine, years later, the record books would specify a certain result, but what happened on the field, might be a game of gilli-danda, or football, for that matter! Thus it is very important to understand that the umpires and captains can only augment the decision making procedure provided by the ICC rules for the purpose of transparency, but they can never subvert the ICC rules. If they do, it could not be considered a game of cricket. Thus, the second test match between Australia and India played at Sydney, Australia during January 2 – 6, 2008 is NULL and VOID on legal grounds.

    Note that this legal implication is also a happy consequence for all fair-minded followers of the game. Australia would still have the chance to go for their 17 straight test wins if they won the remaining test matches at Perth and Adelaide. Moreover, this would nullify the accusations of cheating that the Australian team has been hearing from many of their own countrymen. On the other hand, for India, they could still win the Border-Gavaskar trophy if they won the remaining two tests. Moreover, for Cricket Australia, BCCI, ICC and the media, the fact that the series is still undecided and kicking, would mean more revenue, and hence a welcome resolution. Thus this is the best outcomes for all parties involved.

    (The grounds for my conclusions on the Harbhajan Singh ban, and punishing Singh, Symonds, Clarke, and Hogg will be explained later, in a subsequent article).

  • At 10:12 am, Anonymous sheks said…

    @ karthik
    Thanks :)

    @ smale
    That was informative enough.Didn't know that cricket had a legal side to it.

  • At 7:34 pm, Blogger Amrita said…

    coming to ur blog after a pretty long time(yet again). and can see u have cricket bulletins here. dont want to put up a show that i know a lot about cricket but yes, from what i see in the news reports, a lot of politics goin on at present

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Name: Sheks
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