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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 May 2007, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
Referrals doomed to fail - Adams
By Sarah Holt

Chris Adams
Adams (left) says referring to TV umpires will not benefit the players
Sussex captain Chris Adams believes referring contentious decisions to a TV umpire has no future in cricket.

The scheme is being piloted in 10 Friends Provident Trophy matches but, despite being the first player to ask for a referral, Adams is unconvinced.

"It is just one of those things that we are trying that seems doomed to fail," Adams told BBC Sport.

"You are potentially causing a scenario where relationships between umpires and players will end up being soured."


Under the rules of the trial, each team is allowed two unsuccessful referrals per innings on all modes of dismissal, apart from timed out.

Only the captain of the fielding side and the batsman involved in the dismissal may refer a decision.

In my opinion 98% of these referrals will stand, so what's the point really

Sussex captain Chris Adams

Adams became the first cricketer to put the new idea into practice during Sussex's 38-run victory over Somerset on Sunday, when he contested an lbw decision given against him.

"I went through 15 seconds thinking I better get off but then I thought hang on there's a referral system now," recalled Adams.

"It was quite an awful situation - but nothing ventured, nothing gained."

The umpire's decision was upheld, and so were two further referrals adjudicated upon by first-time TV umpire Barrie Leadbetter.

Chris Adams (left) waits with umpires George Sharp and Jeremy Lloyd (right)
Adams waits with the umpires in the middle for the outcome of his referral

The guidelines set out by the ECB say the TV umpire can only overrule a decision made on the field "if it is beyond reasonable doubt that the on-field umpire has made a clear and obvious mistake" - and that, says Adams, is where the scheme falls down.

"Unless there has been an absolute shocker, the third umpire will back up the umpire in the middle," said Adams.

"It is not open to interpretation at all, and that is the question mark for me.

"If we are trying to achieve better results then why is the third umpire not able to interpret the decision as if he was umpiring?

"In my opinion 98% of these referrals will stand, so what's the point really?

"The only way the players will benefit is in the scenario where a player has clearly hit the ball before it has hit his pads and is given out, then there is the chance it could be overturned.

"We are trialling it at a basement level and I know the ECB want to give it a go and I will do my best to use it in an appropriate way.

"But it gets the thumbs down from me and I don't think it has a place in the game."

ECB operations chief Alan Fordham was sat alongside Leadbetter, who was able to watch action replays from four different angles from his position in a box overlooking the field.

There are fears it could undermine the authority of the umpires on the field

ECB operations chief Alan Fordham

Fordham said the ECB were pleased with the initial outcome of the trial at Taunton but felt there was still a lot to learn over the remaining matches.

"There was one decision that wasn't referred which possibly would have been overturned and in some ways it's a shame we didn't have the opportunity to see how that one would have gone," he told BBC Sport.

"There is a camp that isn't so certain about this system because of fears it could undermine the authority of the umpires on the field.

"I spoke to both umpires (Jeremy Lloyds and George Sharp) after the match and they felt comfortable about it. Barrie was also reasonably comfortable - but there may be others who don't feel that way.

"We will also look at the effect the system has on the pace of the game. There was one technical difficulty during the first match but the other referrals went through quickly."

The ECB is keen to embrace new technologies and Fordham is hopeful Hawk-Eye technology will be in place to help with referrals by the semi-final stages of the Trophy.

Hawk-Eye, which uses cameras to follow the ball's trajectory, has already been successfully used by tennis players to challenge line calls at the US and Australian Open.

However, with Hawk-eye or not, the major drawback with the scheme is that it can only be used when matches are televised and so is unlikely to become a permanent fixture in the domestic game.

Fordham will present an initial report on the trial to the ICC, who are considering bringing in TV umpires for international matches, before the semi-finals in June.

"We've learnt a little but we've still got some way to go," he said. "It is a trial and we don't know all the answers yet."

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