Toni Braxton is right about cricket’s video referee
American diva Toni Braxton probably doesn’t follow the cricket.
And she almost certainly wasn’t thinking about the umpire decision review system when she sang “It’s not right, but it’s ok”. You’ve got to hand it to her though - she hit the nail on the head.
It isn’t right. Not 100 per cent.
There will continue to be controversies whenever it is used, mostly over caught behind appeals.
As Shiv Chanderpaul’s decision on Friday showed, a thin edge can frequently be difficult to detect on replays.
A deviation may occur, but that might be natural swing.
Hot spot is superb – but only as long as the batsman obliges by showing us hit outside edge.
So while some decisions will be overturned, there will be a few where the third umpire simply doesn’t feel he has enough evidence to embarrass his mate out on the field.
What that means is batsman will get away with an edge from time to time, and bowlers will occasionally pick up a cheap one.
In that sense, nothing has changed. We’re back to square one. But the system is ok.
Chanderpaul’s decision was so marginal – and whichever way it went, there would have been criticism – that it would be wrong to use it to damn the whole system.
It isn’t designed to deal with every touch-and-go decision.
Its intention is to help eliminate the kind of umpiring howler that has all fans demanding the instant sacking of the blind clown who has his finger in the air.
I’m talking about Simon Katich getting out to a no-ball in the Lord’s Ashes test this year, or, later in the same game, Mike Hussey being given out caught at slip when he didn’t edge it.
Those were decisions that potentially swung the match and could easily have been over-turned by a referral.
As long as sides don’t burn their appeals when they are acting more in hope than expectation, you’d expect this system to save us from those shockers in future.
(As an aside, it would be good to mic up the conversation between the umpires when a decision is overturned:
“Good God, Rudy, you’ve made an absolute hash of that one. Your days are numbered, son.”)
Of course, there are arguments about human error being part and parcel of sport.
But I don’t see what harm is done by acknowledging that and allowing technology to step in when us humans come up short.
I’m also not having a bar of the claim that video referrals waste time – as I write, Australia and the West Indies are competing in a match that started 78 hours ago.
Time, in cricket, is rarely of the essence.
So no, Ms Braxton, the latest attempt at video referrals is not completely right.
But if it helps umpires cut out the clangers, and allows us to continue enjoying this wonderful, wacky sport with slightly less controversy, then for my money, it’s ok.
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