All things Grey!

Nothing is black and white when it comes to decision making in cricket.

For that matter nothing seems seems black and white in most forms of decision making – political, sport, or otherwise. A whole lot of grey is what appears in decision making. I think, for this very reason, it is imperative that the authorities of decision making regulate/self-regulate using as objective means as possible.

Unfortunately, the notion of cricket being a “gentlemen’s sport” has been constantly put to the test over the last several years. Not because players have turned ugly all of sudden, standards for morals and ethics have evolved, even pushed to the limit.

Even a most revered cricketer like Sachin Tendulkar does not walk but waits for a decision to be delivered. It is almost difficult to prove but easier to surmise that umpire, A. V. Jayaprakash, was caught in the frenzy of decision making when Kumble got his 10fer.  Are they cheats or liars? I do not think so. What I do know is that they are humans, and being humans that we are, we tend to bend and evolve and rationalize and change and all that…When decision making is left to human factors with guidelines that are far and in between, chaos seems a natural outcome. The question then becomes, do we accept it as all things human or sanitize the process. The more I see things left to being attributed to human factors (while I would like to have it that way and it requires a great deal of maturity), the more you are going to observe events like those in the last week or so. People are going to get hurt (emotionally and at times physically), groups are going to get marginalized, and politics takes over. Monetary lawsuits may not be too far in the distance. My suggestion therefore is the following:

1. Use technology to it maximum ability – Let the third umpire be replaced by technology. For example, a decision on a stumping (e.g., Symonds) is determined by some logic built in. Poor decision making resulting from technology limitations can be blamed on technology developers who are, in the current scheme of things, can never be traced and pinpointed (For all you know development centres in B’lore might be calling the shots).

Eventually eliminate the need for a human umpire if at all possible. When building and flying unmanned aircraft and dropping missiles is possible, this should be child’s play.

2. Mike the heck out of the game – Check out the sport of curling when you get a chance, you can hear people breathe leave alone discussing strategy…

3. Talk to local human rights commissions and obtain a list of unacceptable terms, communicate them to players prior to any series.

And so on.. The idea is to regulate through prescriptive codes and rules.

It might seem like the beauty of the game is being taken away, but no one wants to see beauty in the game anymore any way. Winning is all that matters!!!


– Srikanth

P.S: I wonder what Kumble meant when he said “it is only a game”, towards the end of his press interview. Do we really mean it when we use that phrase?


5 responses to “All things Grey!

  1. Mark from Sydney

    Just wanted to drop you a line to say what a wonderful blog site this is.

    The notion that cricket is a “gentleman’s sport” is, I think, misleading. In the 1800’s English domestic cricket was played by gentlemen (those of the upper classes who had means outside the game to support them), and players (those who were payed to play).

    It goes without saying that the gentlemen considered themselves superior to the players.

  2. I’ve had this theory that both AV Jayaprakash and SK Bansal (remember him?) were taken out by a side door and quietly shot.

    For I don’t recall AVJ standing in any games since the Delhi 10-fer and Bansal standing in any since the Kolkata classic of 2001.

    Even then I recall thinking that Bansal had something of a trigger finger in giving Bhajji and Tendlya 3 lbws each in that tight match.

    Of course if I am wrong I expect someone will point it out.

  3. Mark, Thank you for your comment about this blogsite.

    Srikanth, it would be great for a robot (or a series of robots) to referee the game. The problem with this is
    (a) technology-readiness,
    (b) time taken, which is related to (a) above, and
    (c) human intervention.

    I was watching a TV program (can’t remember which) in which we were told that it is not possible to operate snickometer without human intervention, for example.

    Time is an issue too. In the Ricky Ponting caught-behind appeal, it apparently took snickometer (and the human operator) some 3 minutes before conclusive evidence was able to be produced. A game can’t stop for 3 minutes!

    We are not yet there in a state of technology-readiness to have prompt decisions to all contentious appeals. For example, line-ball stumped decisions or line-ball bump-ball-catch decisions are not that trivial and straightforward. We do not have adequate technology yet!

    However, here is a twist.

    Say a batsman has nicked a ball and waits for the decision. IF it can be proved through Snicko that he DID nick the ball (as in Symonds case and Pontings’ case), the batsman will have to lose a minimum of [half the score he made up until then or -25 runs], then you will find that the game can wait for 3 minutes or more. Moreover, you will find then that more batsmen will walk!

    If we had adopted that strategy and if we had employed snickometer to make the decision, Symonds would have returned to the pavillion having made 30-25=5 runs!

    How about that?

    What I saying is that technology alone is not enough. You need a carrot-stick approach too!


  4. Mohan,

    Why all ths fuss about TIME, if technology such as REPLAY can cut down the num ber of mistakes?

    Show me in the Bible, Vedas or Koran where it is said that 90 overs shall be bowled in a day.

    Why not cut that down to 80 overs per day and the extra 40 minutes gained can be allowed for the REPLAYS.

    Even better, max of 100 overs per each innings–and any overs not used by the side batting first in each innings goes to the side batting next!! Kind of limited over tests!!!

    If the number of overs are cut to 80 per day, as the teams would still want to score 300 per day, the batsmen would REALLY USE THEIR BATS—unlike Dhoni, Tendulkar and M Clarke.

    While making this change, drop the foolish condition of balls pitched outside the leg stump can’t get LBW decision.

    make it simple—irrespective of the pitching of the ball or where it impacted on the batsman or played a shot or not, the decision should be purely,” in the opinion of the umpire, the ball would have hit the stumps”. Hawkeye is not as convincing to me as the snicko meter at this stage–as the hawkeye does not take into account a number of variables–pitch condition, variable bounce, swing etc.

  5. Use tech to its’ max and develop it, reintroduce the Timeless Test (I believe the last one was played in 1938/39), or if you prefer a quick fix of cricket: go for the 20/20.
    I think India and Australia would appreciate the former!?

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