~~Neutral umpires needed for all Tests~~

Published: Thursday, March 1, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Colombo: England batsman Graham Thorpe has called for neutral umpires to be introduced in all Test matches before the start of the World Test Championship this year.The championship starts with a two-Test series between England and Pakistan in May. The 10 Test sides will play each other home and away over a five-year period to decide officially the world's best side.''I have always believed in the use of neutral umpires because it takes out the 'what if' feeling you get as a batsman when you are given out by a home umpire,'' Thorpe told the BBC.''It's a fact that neutral umpires make as many mistakes as home umpires. Unfortunately for the home umpire, when he makes a mistake the feeling of bias can creep in.''The World Test Championship has just been introduced to make cricket at the highest level as professional as possible. In that kind of environment we must have neutral umpires to eradicate any possible arguments.''At present, one of the two umpires in Test matches is neutral while the other is supplied by the home country.England lost the first Test in Galle by an innings and 28 runs on Monday in a match marked by some controversial umpiring decisions, mainly by Sri Lankan umpire Peter Manuel.''It would have been a good game of cricket but some of the standard of umpiring, appealing, running on the wicket wasn't needed,'' England captain Nasser Hussain said after the defeat.Thorpe also called for more use of the technology now available to review decisions. ''The technology offered by television should be exploited,'' he said. ''I don't believe the standard of umpiring has dipped in recent years but the advance in gadgetry has placed more pressure on the umpires.''People at home can now tell instantly if the ball is pitched in line with the stumps and the snickometer reveals whether or not the batsman has got a bat on the ball.''This type of technology should be made available to the third umpire who can then contact the men standing in the middle to tell them 'you have made a mistake'. We must take the risk out of decisions as much as possible.''England have decided to scrap a scheduled three-day match against an Academy XI in Kurunegala and opted instead for a Limited Overs match on Saturday before the second Test starting in Kandy next Wednesday.They seem certain to make at least one change in their Test side, with Michael Vaughan coming in for the perennially disappointing Graeme Hick, who failed twice in Galle. (c) Reuters Limited. Click here for Restrictions

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