As India prepares to make a formal complaint
about the standard of umpiring in the Sydney Test, Cricket
Australia chief executive James Sutherland endorsed the use of
more technology to improve the game.
Indiaís VVS Laxman acknowledges his century at
the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday. Picture: Phil Hillyard
And former Australia wicketkeeper Ian Healy
wants match referees to enforce greater standards of behaviour
after the referee in this series, Mike Procter, allowed obvious
acts of petulance to go unquestioned, let alone punished.
At least questions about the sportsmanship or
otherwise of the Australians for not walking when dismissed -
most never have - will now be viewed in the light of Ricky
Ponting instantly rejecting a catch at second slip he felt had
not carried to him.
India team manager Chetan Chauhan is awaiting
written directions from the Board of Control for Cricket in
India before approaching Procter.
"We have asked our team management to lodge a
protest to the ICC match referee against the wrong decisions
made by the umpires," BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla said from
India on Wednesday night.
"I am sure the ICC will be monitoring the
situation in Dubai and taking appropriate steps."
Sutherland conceded a challenge system, similar
to the one used in tennis tournaments, could reduce the impact
of bad calls, so long as delays were minimised.
"There have been some advances in technology
that cricket can continue to explore ... there is also a sense
of delay when there is this use of technology," Sutherland said.
"We see that at the moment with run-outs, and
people may argue that the game of cricket doesnít need any more
delays than it already has.
"I think there is a strong argument on the
technological side ... in tennis it works where a player can
make only two or three (incorrect) appeals in the course of a
match. That may be something that makes people think twice about
using the appeals at the right time."
Sutherlandís comments came as umpires Steve
Bucknor, of the West Indies, and Englandís Mark Benson had
another modest time at the office on the second day of the SCG
Even with technology available to umpires to at
least check close decisions on stumpings and run-outs, Bucknor
refused to use it.
Having survived an obvious caught-behind on 30
that was given not out by Bucknor during the first day, Andrew
Symonds was 148 yesterday when he lifted his back foot playing a
leg-side push against Harbhajan Singh.
Wicketkeeper MS Dhoni lifted the bails in a
low-key fashion and appealed. Bucknor shook his head at square
leg and ignored what were technically illegal requests from
several of the Indians to defer to video umpire Bruce Oxenford.
A TV view from the rear showed Symonds failed to
ground his foot behind the line and would, therefore, have been
Symonds had been lucky to survive a stumping on
48, which was referred to the video umpire on the first day,
when there was doubt over whether he had grounded his foot.
The powerful Queenslander finished unbeaten on
162 yesterday when Australia was eventually bowled out for 463.
Umpire Benson has also had a bad game, giving
Ponting not out caught down the leg side when 17 on Wednesday
and then firing him lbw for 55 when the captain clearly edged
the ball into his pad.
Ponting was lucky not to be reported for
lingering too long after being wrongly given out and then
lobbing his bat through the change room door.
Likewise, teenage India fast bowler Ishant
Sharma was fortunate to avoid the match refereeís ire after a
spectacular display of grief when Symonds was given not out
However, Procterís failure to act against Yuvraj
Singhís petulance when he was clearly caught behind during the
first Test in Melbourne has created a terrible precedent for
behaviour in this series.
A decade ago Healy was suspended for two one-day
matches after lobbing his bat up a few stairs when given out lbw
in a Test at Pretoria.
"Iím not sure theyíve got it right, the match
referees, although itís not a big issue," Healy said.
"They do need to uphold some standards, thatís
what theyíre appointed for.
"They travel the world to uphold the same
standards of sportsmanship and respect."
Healy believes umpiresí mistakes are blown out
of proportion compared to those of players, but said greater use
of technology could help them do a better job.
"I donít mind a little bit more technology, with
a referral system of some sort coming in, to help the umpires
feel better for the rest of the match," he said.
"On day one, if there is a decision that could
have too great an impact on a Test, that could be reversed.
"That would make the umpire feel better and much
clearer in the head for the next four days.
"Thatís the one angle I think technology can be
used for ... to help the umpires reverse a brain fade."
(The Australian and Agencies)