Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wake Up Call to Cricket Administrators

Dear International Cricket Council,
          What a lot of slow moving, fuddy-duddies you are. My pet tortoise would show you a clean pair of heels.
          You are determined to keep at least one foot in the Bradman era when it took the Poms a year to get to Oz by boat. And tours lasted six months.
          Catch a wake up if you can. With Australia/England and South Africa/India test matches currently underway it’s long overdue. We are now in the hi-tech age so all LBWs, caught behinds, run outs and other not so obvious decisions should be reviewed by the TV umpire automatically. And he should have the power to immediately correct any mistakes made by the on the field umpires.
          Currently we have the ridiculous situation that in some test matches, but not in others, each side can have a certain number of challenges per innings, much like they have in tennis. They lose one if they’re wrong but not if the call is correct.
          Then on field umpires can call upon the TV umpire for help when it comes to things like run outs and dicey catches but not when they have difficulty in arriving at an LBW decision. So the result is that television replays show that batsmen are wrongly given out LBW almost as many times as they are told to walk legitimately.
          And it doesn’t help when you have international umpires still at it when they are nearer a century than most batsmen. Do you ever insist on having eye and hearing tests for these pillars of the game?
          The argument that it would waste too much time if the TV replay was automatic should be no-balled straight away because cricket is by nature a slow moving affair. Why do you think you can’t get the Yanks to play it? And why do you think that five days have been allocated to test matches if everybody was expecting a lightning fast experience like ice hockey.
          A batsman comes in, takes guard, and moves his bat around until the umpire tells him it’s where he wants it. Then he digs up the pitch to mark his territory; walks around a bit to see where the fielders are and waves to various girls in the stand. Then he tells the umpire he needs the sight screen moved because the bowler has changed his mind and decided to go round the wicket.
          Did you say you are worried about slowing the game down?
          Satisfied that the batsman is ready the umpire signals to the bowler to go ahead. As he runs up the batsman steps to one side signaling that somebody has walked across the sight screen. The bowler then has to walk back to the boundary and start his run up all over again.
          And you chaps are worried that permanent TV reviews will spoil the game. What matches have you been watching in recent times?
          Have you ever noticed how the umpires do their bit to ensure that nobody gets a move on? They don’t worry about the spectators. Who cares about them? They’ve already paid so they can wait. That’s why test match play is stopped at the slightest sign of failing light.
          These policemen of the game remain silent while a captain has a half hour powwow with the bowler and various players to discuss tactics when things are going against them. Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain, specialises in having team conferences on these sorts of occasions.  
         The fact that a player’s entire career can be badly affected by wrong decisions which would never occur if the existing technology was used to its fullest extent has not dawned on you stuffed shirts who control the game from the armchair of some members only club.
          Wake up from your old fashioned dream. The way you are governing the game is Just not cricket; at least not the way it should be played in the current age.
          Jon, a lover of fair play.  
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16 coming up 17 years after South African was supposed to have become a colourless society under the new Black dominated Government the independent DSTV network is conducting a survey for its SuperSport channels to get viewers opinions on its cricket commentators. And one of the questions asked is: Are you Black, Coloured, India or White?
          No provision has been made for the Chinese even though (before the days of political correctness) a particular type of ball bowled was called a Chinaman. Presumably that was a ball that went between the chink in the stumps.

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