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Players now can appeal against umpires

Prospect of players being allowed to challenge umpire?s decision moved a step closer to reality.

india Updated: May 07, 2006 17:49 IST

The prospect of players being allowed to challenge an umpire’s decision at the ICC Champions Trophy in India later this year moved a step closer to reality after the International Cricket Council’s cricket committee gave a narrow endorsement to a trial rule change on Saturday.

The members of the committee, which met at the ICC’s Dubai headquarters for two days, decided to recommend, by just six votes to five, that a team be allowed three appeals per innings to the third umpire if it feels a decision made by the on-field umpire is incorrect.

The recommendation was for the measure to be tried at the Champions Trophy and then reviewed. But the committee, which is chaired by Sunil Gavaskar and whose members include Allan Border, expressed concerns about the authority of on-field umpires.

Any attempt to introduce the system at the Champions Trophy in October and November will have to be approved by the chief executives’ committee and then be ratified by the ICC board. Both meetings are set for London in July.

ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said: “Ever since the ICC Champions Trophy of 2002, the ICC has been keen to explore the possibilities offered by technology. We have sought to increase the already high number of correct decisions made by umpires without diminishing their on-field role and authority.”

England coach Duncan Fletcher has spoken of his desire to see an appeals system introduced.

The procedure outlined by the ICC general manager, cricket, David Richardson, is similar to Fletcher's idea. "Each team will be allowed three appeals to the third umpire per innings," the former South Africa wicket-keeper said. "If the appeal is successful they would retain the right to three appeals. If not, then it is lost."

Only the captain from the fielding side will be entitled to make an appeal by approaching the on-field umpire and making the sign for a TV replay with his hands. For the batting side, only the batsman involved in the decision would be able to make the appeal.

The trial will not use the Hawkeye or the Snick-o-meter but will include the lines superimposed on screen between the two sets of stumps by broadcasters to help determine where the ball pitched and the point of impact on the batsman's pads.

The cricket committee also recommended that umpires be compulsorily equipped with earpieces connected to the stump microphones in all international matches. The International Cricket Council's cricket committee, which endorsed a trial rule change recommending that players be allowed to appeal against umpires' decisions, has also ratified other changes in regulations.

The committee has decided to recommend that the use of artificial lights during Test matches be discontinued because they had little effect in extending playing time.

In the one-day game, the committee said that the additional 'powerplay' fielding restrictions, introduced for the first time in England last year, should remain in place up to and including next year's Cricket World Cup in the West Indies. Officials had already decided to jettison the 'supersub' rule that was introduced at the same time.

First Published: May 07, 2006 13:10 IST