Technology eclipses umpire's authority: Dicky Bird

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Published: Thursday, January 6, 2011, 17:15 [IST]
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Technology eclipses umpire's authority

One of the greatest umpires of all time, Harold "Dicky" Bird, has a thing or two say about the repeated use of technology in validating or negating umpire's decisions.

He has lashed out at the Umpire Decison Review System (UDRS) in particular, saying that it will lead to the downfall of the umpire's authority on the field and that the official will be relegated to just "counting to six and that's all"

The English umpiring great believes the increased use of technology, as observed during the ongoing fifth and final Ashes Test between England and Australia in Sydney, will turn cricket's top officials into mere bystanders.

"Electronic aids have taken all the authority away from the umpire," Bird told Sky Sports on Wednesday. "The umpire that used to make all the decisions, like in my day, that umpire has finished I'm afraid. It is now run by electronic aids."

Bird was speaking in the context of the third day's play in Sydney where the UDRS played a pivotal role in several decisions in a manner unimaginable during the 77-year-old

Yorkshireman's 23-year career as a Test umpire. England's eventual first innings total of 644 featured a maiden Ashes century from Ian Bell. But Bell benefited from a reviewed decision after he was given out caught behind on 67 off Shane Watson.

Replays could not show any mark on the "hot spot" technology and the umpire in the hot seat Aleem Dar, reversed his decision. But Australian television station Channel Nine's "snicko" device, not available to the match officials, suggested a thin edge. Thus, there is an inconsistency with regard to the technology available, which is worrying.

"The third umpire in the box gave it 'not out' but the correct decision was out and the umpire on the field had it right, so electronic aids have taken all the authority away from the umpire,"
Bird said."It doesn't happen in all Test matches. People don't know where they are with these referrals.It's belittling the umpire and holding the game up."

Bird stood in what was then a world record 66 Tests from 1973 to 1996. He was still officiating when umpires could first ask for television replay assistance on a tight run-out and that is all the help he feels they require now.


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