Tony Becca ON THE BOUNDARY
The meeting, according to reports, dealt with a few things, including the number of balls to be used in each innings of an ODI match and the start of the long announced World Test Championship.
The ICC, after listening to arguments on the pros and cons of it, ruled that it will retain the use of two balls per innings in an ODI match, but, in the case of a match reduced to 25 overs or less at the start, one ball would be used.
And in the case of the Test championship, the ICC announced that it would start the process with the Pakistan-South Africa series in Dubai in October.
Proposals on how to best use technology in umpire decision-making in the future was also discussed, and it was decided to form a working committee to look at this, also at the effectiveness of Real-time Snickometer in detecting faint edges before it is included in the list of approved DRS technologies.
The two-ball rule came into effect two years ago, in October 2011, after the ICC had recommended it, and the reason why that was discussed again was the continued objection of teams like India and Sri Lanka who depend on spinners to get the majority of their wickets.
Thank God the ICC has settled that issue, at least for now.
One thing that the ICC spent a lot of time discussing was the DRS and the effectiveness of the Snickometer.
The ICC suffered a black eye during the recent Ashes series for the amount of decisions which the DRS and the umpires got wrong, and after saying for years that the DRS was some 98 per cent correct, the ICC has decided to look at it fully and how it should be used.
The ICC has lost confidence in Hot Spot following claims coming out of the Ashes series that tape has been used to hide edges and that Hot Spot also cannot pick up faint edges.
There were, on top of that, reports coming out of the Ashes series claiming that batsmen clearly edged deliveries which Hot Spot did not pick up.
Snickometer may be the answer but it will have to survive an independent assessment about its inability to pick up faint edges before it is approved as one of the DRS technologies.
Although the ICC has also set up a working group to consider how it should use technology in umpire decision-making, the part of the DRS system which really seems a waste of time is the number of reviews allowed a team.
The ICC release states, in part, that the "number of reviews available to a team in a Test innings will be topped-up to two after 80 overs in an innings", and "that this system will be on trial from October 1, 2013, in all Test where the DRS is available".
Currently, a team is allowed two unsuccessful reviews for the duration of an innings. Now it will have two reviews, irrespective of many overs it has used up, after the 80th over of the same innings.
That is good, but not so good, although it is better than what was there before.
Justice, in my humble opinion, suggests that every man, be he a sportsman or not, be given an equal chance, and that does not seem to provide every man with an equal chance.
In the first instance, the two first batsmen, for example, can ask for their decisions to be reviewed, while lower batsmen, if the first two had lost their reviews, cannot ask for what should be their chance, cannot ask for a review, even if they are blatantly not out.
In this instance, after 80 overs, probably two tail-enders will get their chance at justice and to bat for a few more overs. What will happen to the other batsmen, however, those in between, those who bat in the middle, and those who bat, probably, from 15 or 20 overs up to 80 overs?
Out or not out, once the number of reviews are up, they will have to go, once the on-field umpire gives them out, even if they are not out.
That cannot be right. The DRS system, once it is considered the thing to do, must be for all to use. Cricket is not tennis, and cricket is not played by one man, one against the other in a game where each man looks after himself.
up in the air
Where the ICC could have done something worthwhile in the first place was to look at the DRS system properly, try it out in lower competitions before using it in Test matches, and once they were convinced that it was the best option, they should then have enforced its use.
To leave it up in the air for some to use and some not to use, depending on their likes or dislikes, or depending on their financial situation, was a huge mistake.
A rule is a rule, to be followed by all involved. In a Test match, a dismissal should be a dismissal, whether it is in England or Australia, in India or in the West Indies.
The ICC meeting in Dubai was a glorious waste of time. It did not even discuss, for example, whether the television umpire can correct the on-field umpire on a decision, even if a review has not been called for, or even if the number of reviews has been exhausted.
Once upon a time, the umpire was the man, now he is not the man, and the ICC did not even discuss the case in which there is an appeal for leg before wicket and the decision is not with the on-field umpire but with the television depending on which section of the ball, according to the television, would have hit the stump.
Once the ball would have hit the stump, then that should be that.
The ICC is hurting cricket. At every meeting, or every other one, comes another set of things to be tried, at the international level at that, and things which affect the very heart of the game, such as whether a batsman is out or not out.