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!!!
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?