Sydney: The International Cricket Council (ICC) is considering changing one of the sport's most sacred rules by allowing players to challenge decisions made by onfield umpires.
ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said on Friday he wanted to carry out an experiment giving players the right to lodge appeals against contentious rulings and ask a third umpire to adjudicate with the aid of television replays.
Speed said the plan - similar to the one now used in professional tennis - was designed to take the pressure off onfield umpires, who don't have the benefit of seeing video replays before they make their decisions, even though millions of television viewers do.
He said he wanted to try the idea in a one-day tournament before allowing the sport's member nations to decide whether it should be used in Test matches.
"I don't think it will be trialled in Tests," Speed said in an interview with Australian Broadcasting Radio Corp. during the second Test between Australia and India, which has been dogged by complaints about incorrect umpire rulings.
"There's a Champions Trophy coming up in Pakistan and that would be the time when all the best umpires and technology are there and we could get an idea of how it works."
Speed said the ICC had been investigating the best ways to make use of modern technology for a number of years but had been unable to come up with a plan that everyone supported.
"The cricket community is still divided about the batsmen and bowler having an appeal," he said. "We have to respect the traditions of the game...but there may be another change in the wind, more countries may support a trial of the system."
Speed said he was especially conscious of not reducing the importance of onfield umpires and would insist on placing a limit on the number of appeals that can made in an innings so the game was not constantly disrupted.
"Generally there's a sense the decisions even themselves out. The dilemma is the technology has got better and what do we do with it?" he said.
"A lot of people are saying this is the answer, but we're not sure so let's see if it works, then have the debate."
The concept that the umpire's decision is final in all situations is enshrined in the game's laws but the use of technology has slowly been creeping into the game.
Video replays have been used to decide run outs, stumpings and catches low to the ground but at present only the onfield umpires, rather than the players, can ask the third umpire for an adjudication.