Atherton criticises overuse of technology

Published: Sunday, March 5, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Former England captain Mike Atherton has slammed the overuse of technology in international cricket and said Kevin Pietersen was clearly out by an Anil Kumble delivery during the visitors' second innings in the first Test against India in Nagpur.

''By resorting to technology ... the wrong decision was made.

Replays from five different angles caused enough confusion in the mind of the third umpire for the batsman to be given the benefit of the doubt,'' Atherton said in his column in Sunday Telegraph today.

Pietersen offered Kumble a difficult return catch chance when the England batsman was on 36 and the third umpire ruled that it was a bumped catch, though slow-motion TV replays apparently showed a clean catch. The England batsman went on to score 87 and Mohd Kaif later said the caught and bowled chance would have been a turning point for the hosts.

''Once again, technology had proved not to be the panacea that all those who call for it to be used more fully say it is.

Its use, as always, encourages umpires to duck out from making the obvious decisions, encourages batsmen to stand for catches that they know are out and encourages fielders to ask for replays for catches they know have been grounded,'' Atherton said.

Calling for the restriction of the use of technology to line decisions only, the cricketor-turned-commentator said ''When the camera work is not perfect, or the angle of the replay clouds rather than enlightens the issue, it is always the batsmen who benefits. It would be far better to restrict the use of technology to line decisions only. At least then the cameras can usually give a definitive answer.'' Atherton also said it would be easier for a player to accept a bad decision when the umpire has a split second to make it.

Terming the decision an outrageous piece of good fortune for Pietersen, he, however, commended Kumble for ''remarkably keeping his composure''.

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