Speed defends umpires~~ role in techno-age

Published: Sunday, March 6, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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London:While insisting that International Cricket Council had a clear position on technology, Chief Executive Malcolm Speed also strongly defended the role of umpires in the decision-making process.

"The body of research that we have built up over the last decade has lead us to develop a clear position on technology. The ICC's view is that we want humans to umpire the game, not robots. It is essential that the umpires are in control and not simply glorified coat stands," Speed said in a keynote speech on Sport and Technology - The Conference in London.

"ICC analysis of the members of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires shows that they get over 94 per cent of their decisions correct and I am sure that players and spectators would agree that they form an integral part of the international game," he added.

Speed said the ICC would use technology only if it would not affect the essence of the way game was played but assured to have an open mind to it.

"Technology will only be used in decision making if it can provide conclusive answers; is practically feasible to introduce for all international cricket; will not have the effect of changing the essence of the way the game is played (the technique of batting or bowling); and will not compromise the role of the on-field umpires.

"At the ICC we will continue to have an open mind to technology. We will continue to trial and test new innovations leading the way amongst international governing bodies but we will only incorporate those innovations that benefit our sport without changing the fabric of the game we hold in trust for future generations."

Speed said the ICC was at the forefront of the debate in balancing the opportunities presented by new technology with its potential impact on the substance and spirit of the international game.

"For over a decade, the ICC has proved to be a governing body that has invested the time and effort to understand technology and its potential role in our sport," he said.

"If some of the current innovations were brought into the decision-making process they could have a dramatic impact on the way that the game is played. It is the international governing body's role to get this balance right.

"Since the ICC first made the availability of a TV referral process for line decisions part of its standard playing conditions in international cricket in 1995, we have reviewed, tried and tested many innovations and evolved our viewpoint along the way."

Speed said over recent years the ICC had reviewed or trialled the roles of various technological developments in the decision-making process that include umpire earpiece technology, stump microphones, line decision and boundary TV referrals LBW TV referrals, catch TV referrals (including super slow motion) off-field no-ball decisions Hawkeye Pitch mats.

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