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Referrals show ICC’s failings

There's no better example of the dysfunctional nature of international cricket administration than the UDRS - Umpire Decision Review System.

india Updated: Jul 17, 2010 23:36 IST

There's no better example of the dysfunctional nature of international cricket administration than the UDRS - Umpire Decision Review System.

In late 2009 the ICC informed us the UDRS was a crucial component in ensuring the correct decision was reached on the field. Now, here we are in mid-2010 and two Test series are going to be completed without the use of the UDRS.

There are different reasons for no UDRS in the Pakistan v Australia and the Sri Lanka v India series. In the former, Pakistan (the home Board) say they can't afford the system and in the latter India doesn't want it. So what are the chances of ensuring the correct decisions are made on the field if there appears little likelihood of reaching consensus off it?

The problem is the chairmen of each individual cricket Board meet as the ICC and agree on a direction for the game and then promptly head off and act in the best interest of the individual Board they're representing.

The outgoing president of the ICC, David Morgan recently said; "The recruitment of additional independent directors would improve corporate governance."

His assertion is correct but the comment would seem less like the log in the kids playground - hollow - if, in addition to taking steps to achieve the aim of a more independent ICC Board it was complemented by a move to also have that body as the overall ruling authority in the game.

Surely every Test series has to be played under the same set of laws and playing conditions. Firstly, on the basis that there should be justice for all players, then for the integrity of Test cricket's statistics and finally, so the officials aren't made to look like right nongs.

There's much to be sorted out with the UDRS if it's to become widely accepted as a tool to assist umpires reach the correct conclusion. At the moment, despite being told by the ICC that it's there to eradicate the howlers, there's far too much emphasis on scrutinising 50/50 decisions. This will probably continue to be the case as long as the right of appeal rests with the players.

I'm not personally in favour of the UDRS but that's immaterial; it's the players and umpires who have to decide the system's method of operation and fate. However, in conjunction with efforts to fine tune the system, I would also like to hear some parallel discussion on ways to improve the standard of umpiring.