ICC cuts number of appeals in referral system

Published: Friday, January 30, 2009, 11:36 [IST]
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ICC reduces number of appeals in referral system

Dubai: The International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed that the ongoing trial of the umpire decision review system will afford each side two unsuccessful reviews per innings rather than the three that have been available up to now.

An ICC media release said that the change to the playing conditions of the trial has been made after receiving initial feedback from players and match officials and will apply to the upcoming Test series between the West Indies and England.

If it proves to be a successful modification in the first two Tests of that series, it will also be introduced for the final series to be used in the trial, namely Australia"s tour to South Africa.

Both teams have approved the change.

Once those series are finished, a full appraisal of the trial will be undertaken and the issue of whether to continue with the review system or discard it will be debated at the ICC Cricket Committee in May.

“The umpire decision review system trial has so far received mostly positive feedback from players and officials but we want to get it right before we consider applying it to international cricket on a permanent basis," said ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat.

“That is why we have made this refinement to it. It has become clear during the trial so far that three unsuccessful reviews per innings is too many as there is potential there for frivolous or unnecessary reviews to be made by one side or the other.

“This is all part of the trial process. We are testing different playing conditions so that we can find the best one and give the trial every chance of succeeding. We listen to feedback and we have been hearing that two is a preferred option."

With this change, the system will see the fielding and batting side allowed two unsuccessful appeals to the umpire per innings to change a decision if it is perceived to have been incorrect.

The rest of the playing conditions for this trial remain unchanged. The appeals can be made only by the batsman in receipt of the umpire"s original decision or the captain of the fielding side, in both cases by the player making a “T" sign with both forearms at shoulder height.

The on-field umpire will consult with the third umpire, who will review available television coverage of the incident before relaying fact-based information back to his colleague.

The on-field umpire will then deliver his decision either by raising his finger to indicate “out" or by crossing his hands in a horizontal position side to side in front and above his waist three times – as per a “safe" decision by an official in baseball.

If it is different to his original decision, the umpire will touch both shoulders, each with the opposition hand, to revoke the previous signal and then make a fresh signal as per the revised decision.

Commenting on the trial, ICC General Manager – Cricket David Richardson, a former Test and ODI player for South Africa, said: “Our Emirates Elite and International Panel umpires already ensure the vast majority of decisions made in any Test or ODI are correct but we want to see if we can enhance the game further by reducing or removing the few clearly incorrect ones.

“The fact that each side is now allowed only two unsuccessful requests to review in each innings should mean that players will not make frivolous challenges and, instead, only seek a referral to decisions that, it is quickly clear, are highly likely to be incorrect.

“By seeking to reduce these potentially contentious decisions we believe we can help remove a source of tension and frustration among players and spectators as well as any resultant pressure on umpires.

“At the same time we have sought to ensure the continued primacy of the on-field umpire. The man on the field"s role is to consult with his colleague, not to refer the decision away, and he still decides whether or not to change his original decision.

“Once the trial is over we will conduct a thorough review of the process before deciding whether the trial was successful and worth persevering with."

The four-Test series between West Indies and England begins in Jamaica on 4 February while the South Africa v Australia series gets underway in Johannesburg on 26 February.

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