Review of the Review system?

August 14, 2008 @ No Comments

Sri Lanka finally beat India in the third and final test to clinch the series 2-1. It was a historic test match, since it was the first time the ICC experimented with the umpire review system. It is widely spoken that Sri Lanka were on the right side of the review experiment while India ended up on the wrong side with majority of the reviews going against India.

The question is whether the review system will continue. After what we have seen in this series, the review system seems to be here to stay. It has really given the players and umpires something to think about. While the players will try to be as honest as possible, the umpires will try their best to be as close to being 100% accurate.

However that does not mean that the review system is perfect. In majority of the cases where the review system has failed, it is during a LBW appeal. Of course there was the instance where Tillekeratne Dilshan had edged the ball to the keeper but the TV camera failed to capture it. But except for such cases the majority of the controversies were during LBW referrals. The review system is going to end up in more batsmen being given out LBW rathen than not out because as was seen in the series, the third umpire never gave the benefit of any doubt to the batsman.

Former ICC panel umpire K Hariharan feels that the review system is good for cricket but will end up boosting a bowler’s strike rate and bring down a batsman’s average. Of course, getting the correct result is more important than wondering whose averages will be affected. But the basic fundamental of cricket that the batsman should get the benefit of any doubt should be maintained.

A possible solution should be that in LBW cases the review system should be only used to rectify obvious mistakes….. such as a batsman being given out when the ball had pitched clearly outside leg stump or when the batsman had got an inside edge. In other LBW cases, the decision of the on-field umpire should be maintained. In cases other than LBW, the review system should be able to give us 99% accurate results.

And finally. The review system can only be as good as the third umpire. If even after looking at replays the third umpire makes a blatantly wrong decision, then there is absolutely nothing technology can do!

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