Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
| Help
Last Updated: Monday, 17 October 2005, 09:12 GMT 10:12 UK
By Jonathan Stevenson
BBC Sport in Sydney

The Super Series Test match between Australia and a World XI was always destined to turn into an exhibition.

Rudi Koertzen refers a decision to the third umpire
They should leave it up to us to make the mistakes
Rudi Koertzen

The ICC introduced two gimmicks to increase the profile of the contest and heighten public interest.

They said it would be played over six days and they allowed umpires, for the first time in a Test match, to refer any decision to a third umpire.

The first of these experiments was doomed to fail: how often does a Test involving the quick tempo of the Australians even go into a fifth day?

But it was with the umpires and their new method of decision-making where the real intrigue lay in this inaugural encounter.

The first day's play gave a taster of things to come. Three times Australian batsmen were given out - rightly - by the third umpire after the decision was referred.

World XI captain Graeme Smith commented at stumps: "Some looked out to the naked eye but as long as the right decisions are being made it's doing the job."

If only it had carried on in the same vein.

As the match unfolded, it became increasingly obvious that some of the appeals being referred were barely, if at all, made clearer by the television replays.

And the lengthy delays - it took more than three minutes to give Michael Clarke out on Friday - did not help to pacify a crowd already frustrated by the nature of the game.

We have seen a number of referrals from the world's two best umpires and that should tell you something
The ICC's Malcolm Speed

Umpire Rudi Koertzen took the matter into his own hands, giving Mark Boucher out in the first innings caught behind off Shane Warne, and Inzamam-ul-Haq lbw to Brett Lee in the second innings.

Replays showed that neither should have been on their way back to the pavilion. At the very least, Koertzen should have referred both decisions to Darryl Hair in the stands.

Koertzen has made it very clear he thinks the increasing use of technology is to the detriment of the on-field umpires and the game of Test cricket as a whole.

"We all make mistakes and the players probably make more than the umpires do," he said. "So they should leave it up to us to make the mistakes. We've got to live with that.

"This is only a trial, remember, It is up to them how far they take it - hopefully not too far."

The players are unsure too.

Smith has quickly changed his mind, saying after the game finished: "There is still so much doubt on the television.

"You look at things we thought were out and they were given not out, and the other way around.

"There are a lot of things that need to be looked at with the technology and it's a long way from being at the level where it can be used."

Ricky Ponting questions Simon Taufel's decision to refer an appeal to the third umpire
Ponting was not convinced the umpiring experiment was a success

ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed admits the sport's governing body will have to look closely at how far they decide to take any shift in practice.

"You have to bear in mind this has only been a trial, the first time ever we've done this in a Test match," he said. "We're taking a cautious approach and we will be conducting a thorough review.

"We have seen a number of referrals from the two best umpires in the world over the course of the game and that should tell you something."

But support for the concept is spread thinly and the ICC may have to admit defeat in its quest for faultless umpiring.

Australia skipper Ricky Ponting concedes that maybe too much was expected of the new system.

He said: "Look, you think every single decision that is made is going to be perfect just because you've got the help of technology.

"But it isn't that simple and it never has been. So many of them were no clearer on television and people have to accept that."

Ponting certainly has a point.

If this system is eventually introduced and the umpires are expected to refer everything, there's very little point in them being there.

Maybe the ICC should just accept human error as a part of the sport and let the umpires get on with their job.

They must focus on how to make the most of the worldwide surge in interest in cricket instead of trying to change the game so many have recently fallen in love with.

Interview: The ICC chairman Malcolm Speed


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

E-mail services | Sport on mobiles/PDAs


Back to top

Sport Homepage | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League | Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Snooker | Horse Racing | Cycling | Disability sport | Olympics 2012 | Sport Relief | Other sport...

BBC Sport Academy >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
About the BBC | News sources | Privacy & Cookies Policy | Contact us
banner watch listen bbc sport