Tony Becca, Contributor
The Caribbean T20 got under way last Sunday evening, and after the early exchanges, it has been action, racing action, all the way, including Sunil Narine's pathetic dismissal against Jamaica on the first day.
I really need someone to explain the reason for the unnecessary, uncalled for, and ugly stroke played by Narine, who had just hit a sweet, well-timed six over mid-wicket off left-arm pacer Sheldon Cotterell.
It may not have been, but it could have been that his brain was still inactive, or that he was still asleep or foggy from the long, rushed flight home from Australia, where he had played a match in the Big Bash tournament a day or two before.
Anyway, for those who love T20 cricket and those who simply tolerate it because of its benefits to the longer version of the game, the action, so far, has been splendid.
As usual, the fielding, barring a few misses, has been brilliant and the batting - the towering sixes, the long sixes - has been heart-stopping.
The one disappointment so far, a disappointment for many but not so much for me, has been the delay when a batsman gets out.
Instead of going his way when he gets out, the batsman is asked to stick around and wait for another decision. Whether he is bowled, or caught, or lbw, or whatever, he has to stay and wait until the television umpire rules the delivery fair or unfair, a legitimate delivery or a no-ball.
As far as getting it right is concerned, there is nothing wrong with this approach. After all, right is right, fair is fair, and a bowler should not get away with getting a precious wicket with a no-ball, something which one of the laws of the game says is taboo, just as the laws say a batsman cannot be given out lbw if the ball pitches outside the leg-stump or if the ball hits a batsman outside off-stump while he is playing a stroke.
Time, however, is of great importance - or so it is said.
According to the rule makers, time is also important, despite the easy flow of cricket, despite the invention of 50-over cricket, despite the coming of T20 cricket, and in spite of the long delays in waiting for the verdict of the television referee.
Batsmen have been known to stand in the middle for one minute, for two minutes, and even for longer than that, while the television referee goes over the incident - a quick stumping, a run-out, an lbw, a no-ball, etcetera, etcetera - before taking his guard over or marching off to the pavilion.
Time, however, is important, say the powers that be, and that is why, providing they lose none, the batsmen are allowed only two references to the television referee to save their skins, and the fielding team are also allowed two pleas for the verdict to go their way.
A wicket is the most prized thing in cricket, I have always believed that while the referees will always make mistakes, a batsman should not be given out when he is not out, and that it takes technology to prevent that occurrence, or at least to lessen the number of times it occurs, then so be it.
And that is why I have always wondered why the references are limited to two. Why not 10? After all, there are 10 wickets in every innings, every wicket is of importance - some more than some - and all should be treated importantly.
In other words, each and every batsman should be allowed the same opportunity to save his innings.
What happens, in this situation of two referrals, when the quota is used up, when another batsman - or another two or another three, later in the innings - gets a terrible decision?
It is tough luck on him, even though he may be the best batsman on the team.
The rulers of cricket say that a team must look out for this, that it is so for both teams and, therefore, it is fair, and that if they were to allow this free-for-all to take place, a match would never end.
There would be referrals, after referrals, after referrals.
That may be so, and that would be bad for the game, no doubt about it.
As things now stand, however, there is a delay almost every time a wicketkeeper makes a stumping, almost every time there is an appeal for a run-out, almost every time there is an appeal for lbw, and based on the latest thing to hit cricket, every time a wicket falls, however it may fall, barring a run-out, there is a long delay to see whether a no-ball has been bowled.
Cricket is cricket, the rules are the rules and they should be obeyed, delay or no delay. It is as simple as that.
Cricket needs to speed up its decision-making process: instead of queries coming from the field to the television umpire, maybe the decision should come from the television umpire to those on the field.
For example, when a batsman is bowled by a no-ball the television umpire immediately informs the on-field umpire that it was a no-ball.
That should not, not in this day and age, take a second or two.