ICC recommends players~~ appeal to third umpire

Published: Sunday, May 7, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:The prospect of players being allowed to challenge umpires' decision at this year's ICC Champions Trophy in India moved a step closer to reality after the International Cricket Council's cricket committee gave a narrow endorsement to a trial rule change.

By just six votes to five members of the committee, who'd been meeting at the governing body's Dubai headquarters for two days, decided to recommend players be allowed three appeals per innings to the third umpire if they feel a decision made by the on-field umpire is incorrect.

The recommendation was for the measure to be trialed at the Champions Trophy and then be reviewed after that tournament.

However the committee, which is chaired by India great Sunil Gavaskar and whose members include former Australia captain Allan Border and ex-England pace bowler Angus Fraser, expressed concerns regarding the authority of on-field umpires.

Any attempt to introduce the system at the Champions Trophy in October and November, as with all the committee's decisions, would have to be approved by the chief executives' committee and, if that approval is forthcoming, then the ratified at the ICC board meeting.

Both meetings are set for London in July.

The cricket committee also recommended that the equipping of umpires with earpieces connected to the stump microphones be mandatory in all international matches.

An appeals system has been used in American Football for several years and, earlier this year, was trialed in an event on the professional tennis circuit.

Explaining the decision, ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said: "Ever since the ICC Champions Trophy of 2002, the ICC has been keen to explore the possibilities offered by technology.

"What we have consistently sought to do is to increase the already-high numbers of correct decisions made by umpires while, at the same time, not diminishing their on-field role and authority."

England coach Duncan Fletcher has spoken of his desire to see an appeal system introduced.

And the procedure outlined by the ICC's general manager, cricket, David Richardson, was similiar to the ideas put forward by Fletcher.

"Each team will be allowed three appeals to the third umpire per innings. If the appeal is successful they will retain the right to three appeals but if not, then it is lost," Richardson said.

"Only the captain from the fielding side will be entitled to make the appeal by approaching the on-field umpire making the sign of a TV with his hands.

"For the batting side, only the batsman involved in the decision would be able to make the appeal, which he would do in the same way," the former South Africa wicket-keeper added.

The trial would not include the use of technology such as Hawkeye or the Snickometer but would include the lines super-imposed on the screen between the two sets of stumps by broadcasters to help determine where the ball pitches and the point of impact on the batsman's pads.

The committee also decided to recommend that the use of artificial lights during Test matches be discontinued after hearing they had little effect in extending playing time.

In the One-day game, the committee said that the additional 'powerplay' fielding restrictions, introduced for the first time in England last year, should remain in place up to and including next year's Cricket World Cup in the West Indies.

Officials had already decided to jettison the 'supersub' rule that was introduced at the same time.

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