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‘Referral system has relaxed the umpires’

If the Indians are regretting their decision to agree to trial the player referral or umpire review system, they are not saying anything about it publicly, reports Anand Vasu.

cricket Updated: Jul 28, 2008 01:04 IST
Anand Vasu

If the Indians are regretting their decision to agree to trial the player referral or umpire review system, they are not saying anything about it publicly. There's little doubt that, in the first Test, it was Sri Lanka who benefitted from the technology trial being in place, but it is also beyond debate that the system achieved what it meant to - get the decisions right.

It was always going to be interesting to see how the two captains used the system. On the evidence of the first Test you could India were out-referred. On four occasions the onfield umpire's decision was over-ruled and each time Sri Lanka were the beneficiaries, but to be fair, those decisions should have gone their way in the first place.

Mark Benson, one of those umpires in favour of extended use of technology, was shown up on more than one occasion, but fortunately the players were not made to pay as the right decision was arrived. The review process may hold up a mirror to Benson and he will keep these decisions in mind when standing in games in the future.

Sri Lanka got only two of their reviews wrong, while India, who chose to send some lbw shouts up to the third umpire, did not get it right on either occasion.

When asked about the system, Anil Kumble said it was too early to comment. "We will have to sit and work out on how technology will help," he said. "It's something that we will have to take forward."

Sri Lanka, who got just about everything right in the Test were understandably elated with the way the referrals had gone. "This is probably one of the reasons why it came, rather than think negatively about it. If it wasn't there, we probably would have had four bad decisions going against us," Jayawardene said. "We managed to turn it around. Sachin's and Rahul's decisions were both tough ones for the umpires to just pick up, especially when you have two bowlers like Murali and Ajantha going at the batsmen on these kind of tracks. I am all for it, not just because most of the referrals went our way, but that the obvious mistakes could be rectified."

"It's very good. Umpires are under lesser pressure now," said Murali. "As it is, they don't have any rest during play unlike the players and their concentration levels have to be very high. Television always criticises the umpires because the margin for error is very little. For them to have the reviews given to the two teams, it is a good system.

It has relaxed the minds of the umpires. Because of this, major clashes like what happened in Australia (when India toured there, and particularly in Sydney) can be eliminated. No one can complain that we lost because of bad decisions no more excuses."