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Waugh bats for Simon Taufel

cricket Updated: Jan 03, 2008 13:02 IST

PTI
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With the umpiring howlers against India in the second Test kicking up a storm, former Australian skipper Steve Waugh has urged the ICC to do away with the outdated neutral officials policy as it prevented the world's best umpire -- local Simon Taufel -- from standing in the series.

"The world's No1 umpire for the past three years is Simon Taufel from Sydney and he should be out in the middle making the crucial decisions under pressure for this is what the best aspire to," Waugh wrote in his column for the Daily Telegraph.

Blunders by West Indian Steve Bucknor and Englishman Mark Benson hit India hard on the first day of the second Test against Australia and Waugh felt the duo's mistakes showed that neutral umpires not always guarantee error-free matches.

"With the top players now earning millions of dollars and several cricket boards' revenues being upward of hundreds of millions, surely the game is entitled to see the best umpires officiating in the premium Test matches even if they are from the home countries," Waugh said.

Waugh said the concept of neutral umpires was valid only in the times when technology was not there to assist on-field officials.

"I believe the argument for neutral umpires was valid years ago when there was a degree of acceptance for mediocrity due to a lack of television cameras and part-time officials, while the scourge of match-fixing was also lurking beneath the surface," Waugh explained.

"However, with today's greater transparency and professionalism a substandard performance means a stint on the sidelines and, to me, the best should be umpiring the premium fixtures. To have at least four obvious errors in one day is not bad luck, just inadequate concentration," he pointed out.

Another Australian legend Ian Healy, meanwhile, suggested that captains be given the choice of challenging a close decision.

"Maybe that would help players feel like they were getting the right decision, and an umpire wouldn't have that feeling in his heart that he's wrecked a Test," Healy said on Channel 9.