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Errant umpires awaken the decision referral debate again

India's reluctance to use the Umpires' Decision Referral System (UDRS) was a topic of discussion before the start of this series against New Zealand and following two wrong decisions against the hosts in the first Test, it got buried after the second.

cricket Updated: Nov 23, 2010 23:37 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay

India's reluctance to use the Umpires' Decision Referral System (UDRS) was a topic of discussion before the start of this series against New Zealand and following two wrong decisions against the hosts in the first Test, it got buried after the second. It resurfaced, after the end of the third Test on Tuesday.

Umpiring errors being highlighted by TV replays is nothing new, but the issue cries for attention when four bad decisions are made in the space of just 19 overs, as it happened during New Zealand's second innings in the final Test here.

Simon Taufel ruled Garreth Hopkins not out in the 10th over of the innings on Monday when Pragyan Ojha trapped him inside the line of the leg stump with a straight ball. Adjudged the world's best umpire from 2004 to 2008 by the International Cricket Council, Taufel erred twice more on Tuesday morning.

The Australian upheld a leg-before appeal against Martin Guptill, off Ojha in the 16th over, when the ball clearly pitched outside leg stump and turned down a similar shout against Ross Taylor in the 18th over bowled by the same bowler when the ball pitched in line and looked like going on to hit the stumps.

Taufel's English partner Nigel Llong ended Taylor's stay in the middle by ruling him caught at forward short-leg, off Harbhajan Singh, in the 29th over, when the ball missed the edge by a distance.

None of these decisions were close calls really.

"I can only be consistent with my opinion. I have said all along that I have enjoyed the referral system and that it's good for cricket," said Daniel Vettori, who has spoken in favour of the system from the start of the series.

Not a fan of the UDRS, Mahendra Singh Dhoni too spoke about the importance of accurate decisions.

"If umpires keep making the same mistakes, it becomes difficult for bowling sides on such flat tracks. If more than two or three mistakes happen in an innings, you end up bowling 40 or 50 overs more than what you should have."

Dhoni, however, insisted that he is against the UDRS because he is not convinced that the system is foolproof. Earlier during this series, his teammates VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh supported the UDRS.