Monthly Archives: January 2011

An Indian X1 – Rich and Spoilt!

Sanjay Manjrekar’s tweet on Rohit Sharma, “For a man in “poor” form, he plays like a “rich” man”, prompted to come up with a possible X1 players that India has tried and persisted with in the recent past and who can give Rohit Sharma good company. Here goes in batting order..

1. Dinesh Karthik

Apart from a few die-hard Mylaporites who might oppose, he is a unanimous choice for wicketkeeper, opener

2. Robin Uthappa

For someone who has had the opportunity to open with Tendulkar, he has blown the chances that have come his way.

3. Yuvraj Singh (captain)

No one has been pampered more than this “maharaja” of spoilt brats who has played 265 one day games and continues to provide hope to a few.

4. Rohit Sharma

I have been a fan of his till this series, but have crossed the floor to join those who want him to focus on other things than cricket.

5. Suresh Raina

This was a hard decision but his best and only place is with the CSK. He doesn’t have what it takes like Virat Kohli.

6. Y. Venugopala Rao

I had to complete the middle order and looked through the stats of recent cricketers and he has played sufficient games to join the list. Any favorite of Greg Chappell will find a place on this side.

7. Irfan Pathan

While the rest of the country is hoping that he turns up in India colors, he is busy “nowhere”. What a talent gone wasted…

8. Ravindra Jadeja

Unless the entire BCCI, selection committee, Dhoni and all owe him or his family a lot of money, I am not sure why his name even comes up for the Saurashtra team.

9. Piyush Chawla

A leg spinner wannabe somehow finds his way ahead of bowlers like Ashwin or Ojha who actually take wickets. I guess a stint in the counties would help anyone get into the side.

10. R. P Singh

He thought he could get away with a smile, and he actually did!

11. Ishant Sharma

This is probably the most controversial selection from my standpoint. Barring a few spells in test cricket, he looked very ordinary even on favorable South African pitches.

These guys must make decent players like Wasim Jaffer, S. Badrinath, Cheteswar Pujara wonder if the world can ever be fair.

It is a relief that the top three in the batting lineup would be quite different for the World Cup.

– Srikanth

Team India for the World Cup

So, Team India has been announced. The team contains only one deviation to the team that we had predicted, with Piyush Chawla coming in for Sreesanth. I am not sure that is a great decision since there is very little “cover” for our over-fragile pace attack of Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Praveen Kumar (currently injured) and Munaf Patel. These days, a strong gust of wind tends to wreck the backs or sides of Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel and Praveen Kumar. So, some “cover” for them might have been a good idea.

With that in mind, Sreesanth might have been an adequate cover for the above physically “fragile” players, especially since it is likely — nay, almost certain — that India will always take the field with three pace-men.

To that end, I would be surprised if Piyush Chawla is anything other than a Dinesh Karthik (drinks, towel and message carrier) in the World Cup.

Given that India play 7 batsmen and 4-bowlers, I do not expect two spinners to play. If that were to happen, one (or both) of the spinners may be forced to operate in the first Power-Play and will be forced to operate in the second Power-Play. No captain will want to be forced into that situation, although they might choose to throw the ball to a spinner within the first 15 overs! So, I really do not expect Piyush Chawla to get a game in the World Cup.

I do expect the World Cup XI to be: Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli (Yusuf Pathan), Harbhajan Singh (R Ashwin), Zaheer Khan, Praveen Kumar, Ashish Nehra (Munaf Patel). Drinks: Piyush Chawla

For the remaining games in South Africa, I do hope India (a) rests MS Dhoni, (b) plays Yusuf Pathan, (c) rests Harbhajan Singh, (d) plays Piyush Chawla.

Provided Parthiv Patel has already reached South Africa, I’d like the team for the remaining 3 ODIs in South Africa to be:

M Vijay, Parthiv Patel (wk), Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina (capt), Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Piyush Chawla, Sreesanth, Munaf Patel, Ashish Nehra… Substitutes: Zaheer Khan, MS Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh.

Although M. Vijay, Sreesanth and Rohit Sharma have not been picked for the World Cup, I believe it will be a good idea for them to show what they are made of — like Virat Kohli has, over the last year! The example of Virat Kohli is what Rohit Sharma needs to follow. Kohli’s journey epitomizes what the young Rohit Sharma needs to do. The Delhi player was a self-centered and self-obsessed, arrogant lad who transformed himself into a focussed young man. The result of this was a string of stirring performances that made every one sit up and take notice. He had arrived. He could not be ignored any longer.

Rohit Sharma needs to do a Virat Kohli now. He needs to get his game together. But more importantly, he needs to channel his undeniable talent. He also needs to do it in a hurry.

— Mohan

ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 — Team India Selects itself?

The selectors are due to announce India’s team of 15 for the World Cup on Monday 17 Jan 2011. I suspect the selection meeting is going to be quite short. In other words, I expect there will be few surprises and questions in a team that selects itself.

I expect the 15 to be (in batting order):

Sachin Tendulkar
Virender Sehwag
Gautam Gambhir
Yuvraj Singh
MS Dhoni
Suresh Raina
Virat Kohli / Yusuf Pathan
Harbhajan Singh / R. Ashwin
Zaheer Khan
Praveen Kumar / Munaf Patel / Sreesanth
Ashish Nehra

I expect Virat Kohli to play in the XI for the first game ahead of Yusuf Pathan and if he does, he will bat ahead of Suresh Raina.

I have little doubt that R. Ashwin will be the second spinner. I don’t think Piyush Chawla and Pragyan Ojha will get a look in. Ashwin will be a like-for-like replacement for Harbhajan Singh in case of an injury to the first-team off-spinner!

The fact is that, whatever the composition of the final XI, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina are going to have to bowl a few overs. Given that the tournament is going to be held in India, I expect this “constraint” to work in India’s advantage.

The only debate is likely to be around the last seamer’s spot. I have given this spot to Sreesanth and must admit to gulping as I did that! This is the only selection which is not clear in my books. This spot could be occupied by either Sreesanth or Vinay Kumar or Ishant Sharma, in my view.

The above selection assumes that Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Praveen Kumar are all fit.

India is a strong favourite by dint of her strong batting line-up. The bowling is not as strong and a lot will depend on the 5th bowler’s overs which will be shared by Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli (and perhaps also by Virender Sehwag, his shoulder allowing).

The major weak-link, however is the fielding. With Ashish Nehra, Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel and Zaheer Khan (and with a dodgy-shoulder-Sehwag) the team starts with a 25-run deficit already!

But, if the above team does not deliver the Cup to India, in my view, no one else will, outside this fifteen.

— Mohan

IPL-IV: Uncapped Players or Drafting Rules Without a Thinking Cap?

We are now done with the IPL Auction of “capped” Indian players and all overseas players! Most franchises have picked up their max quota of 10 overseas players and many of them have about 6 or 7 “capped” Indian players. Franchises are now looking to make up their roster with “uncapped” Indian players.

Correction. They are now frantically trying to grab/poach/seduce/coerce “uncapped” Indian players!

Suddenly, a Ranji Trophy Final (starting today, 11 January 2011, between Baroda and Rajasthan) is likely to have an important and impressive audience!

We should expect to see a large number of suits from RCB, Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals, Deccan Chargers, Pune Warriors, Kings XI Punjab and KKR at the Ranji finals! The Kochi team officials may not be there in suits. Not they they cannot afford suits! But more because they seem to revel in their hideously coloured T-shirts (I mean, should that hideous hue of orange not be banned from the colour spectrum?). It is likely that officials from Delhi will not be there at the Ranji Finals because they might consider the cricket to be too distracting!

And Chennai does not need to be there either because, in between discharging his duties as President of the All India Pocket Billiards Federation, BCCI President Elect, President of the All Madras “I sleep between 2pm and 3pm at work” Bank Workers’ Federation, Governing Council Member of the IPL, President of The All India Association of Conflict-Free Life, President of The All India Chess Federation, Owner of CSK, Owner of India Cements, Owner of Chennai, Future Owner of this Blog, Future Owner of Bill Gates and Future Owner of MS Dhoni, Inc, etc, N. Srinivasan, will be capable of making the sun rise in the West if needed! He can make anything happen in India and witout either declaring or managing his several conflicts of interest. He is a great guy, this Cheenu.

So, yes. The Ranji Finals, which has never seen more than 10 people in attendance — and that is including the ground staff! — should suddenly expect to see song, dance, drama, lights, TV crew and action!

The aim of the suits that will descend on the Ranji Finals is to sign up “uncapped” India players like Ambati Rayudu, Chahar, et al.

An “uncapped” player, by IPL’s definition, is a player who has never been selected (need not have played, mind you) for Team India in any format. So, the fact that Jaydev Unnadkat has been “capped” for India in a Test match, makes him part of the “capped India player” auction for the IPL (in other words, for T20s)!

Go figure!

This rule makes the 3-hour “strategy break” in IPL-2 look like the Theory of General Relativity!

This means that players like Ajinkya Rahane, Abhinav Mukund, Manish Pandey, Ambatti Rayudu, et al, can only earn a maximum of (approximately) Rs 20 Lakhs (approx $40,000)! Why? They have never been “selected” for Team India in Tests or ODIs or T20s and so, cannot enter the main auction! The fact that they represented India in the U-19 World Cup counts for nothing.

Meanwhile an “uncapped” overseas player like Dan Christian or Aiden Blizzard or Prospect Utseya can be allowed to offer themselves for bidding at a base price of anything from $20,000 to $100,000. Remember, Dan Christian has never played for Australia and many Australians will not have heard of Aiden Blizzard.

Blizzard was picked up by Mumbai Indians for only $20,000 and on seeing the hand-shakes and hi-fives all around the Mumbai Indians table at the end of the successful “purchase”, I could be forgiven for thinking that Nita Ambani had just successfully proved Fermat’s Last Theorem!

Dan Christian himself probably did not know how many zeros there were in a million dollars until his co-countrymen (Geoff Marsh, Geoff Lawson, Greg Shipperd and Darren Lehman) conspired to ‘up’ his asking price to a figure close to a million dollars! Perhaps he is worth that much. Who knows. And who am I to dictate how intelligent (or otherwise) the IPL owners are in their spending of their money!

Similarly, Mitchell Marsh, a little known cricketer and a player with somewhat ordinary abilities gets nearly $300,000 — his dad was, of course, at the bidding table that won his bid! If his dad had even a prick of conflict-riddled guilt, all he had to do was look at the head table and spot a beaming N. Srinivasan to feel assured that all is well in his world!

Let us put that into perspective: Dad or no dad, Mitchell Marsh is on a pay packet of about Rs 1.5 crores while, together, his team — Pune Warriors — can aim for a collection of Ajinkya Rahane, Shreevats Goswami, Abhinav Mukund, Manish Pandey (this guy has an IPL century in his resume, by the way), Deepak Chahar, Harmeet Singh and Ambati Rayudu, and still be left with about Rs 10 Lakhs in the kitty!

Is the BCCI then surprised that there is a mad skirmish for “uncapped” Indian players?

While I have no right to (and do not) begrudge Marsh his pay packet, I have to remind everyone that Mitchell Marsh was an Under-19 Australia player until last year. Players like Manish Pandey, Abhinav Mukund, Shrivats Goswami, et al, played in the World Under-19 cricket tournament in the edition prior to the one Mitch Marsh played in. Goswami, Mukund, Pandey (along with the more “lucky” Saurabh Tiwary, Virat Kohli, et al) performed exceedingly well in that ICC World Cup U-19 edition and helped India win the title. So, why do they have to sit out the main auction while a Mitch Marsh enters the main draw?

Christian, Blizzard and Marsh did enter the main auction along with several other “uncapped overseas” players. Some of them did have a good pay-day. That is not my issue at all. My question is that, while Dan Christian and Mitchell marsh have an “open market” opportunity to get their market value (either conflict-aided or not), why are Manish Pandey, Abhinav Mukund, Harmeet Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Ambati Rayudu, Shrivats Goswami, et al, denied a similar opportunity? Why “fix” the price of “uncapped” Indian players?

A team like Mumbai Indians or RCB can fiddle the books by offering an “uncapped” player additional incentives — a “desk-job” in United Breweries or Reliance with a neat pay packet, say! CSK can make the sun rise in the West. So, to offer additional sweeteners to an “uncapped” player ought to be easier than ascertaining if his kumkum spot has been affixed at the center of his forehead for our good Cheenu. Our honorable Cheenu could do that in between an Indian Chess Federation meeting, a BCCI meeting and an important M&A Meeting for India Cements even if these three meetings run between 2pm and 3pm on the same day; that is how well our good Cheenu can manage his conflicts.

Conflicts? What conflicts?

A team like Punjab could offer a few hugs from the good Zinta.

Poor Kochi. Apart from offering a slap-opportunity with Sreesanth, a full dental check-up eye check-up from part-time orthodontist optometrist (coach) Geoff Lawson and a hideously colored ghoulish orange T-Shirt, they cannot offer an “uncapped” player anything else!

What has happened, therefore, is the commencement of a turf war between the teams for “uncapped” Indian players, especially from suit-laden teams that have more carrots than one can poke a stick at!

Meanwhile, on the flip-side a player like Pankaj Singh or VRV Singh, who have played only a handful of games for India and are, hence, forced to enter the main auction at a ridiculously inflated base-price, find no takers!

Who thinks up these rules? Remind me to never smoke what these guys smoke!

I suggest that the auction always needs to be carried out in two rounds:

  • Capped players — local and international.
  • “Uncapped” players — local and international.

That way, we could include into the second pile, players like Mukund, Pandey, et al. A player like Pankaj Singh or VRV Singh, can opt to go into the “capped” pool or the “uncapped” pool.

All of this discussion is academic and moot though, because I am confident that the “I” in IPL does not stand for “intelligent”!

— Mohan

India’s Test Future

When the current series in South Africa winds down, all the attention will be focused on the upcoming World Cup and subsequently on the IPL. It is, however, interesting to note that, as per Future Tours Program posted on Cricinfo, India will be playing 4 tests in the West Indies in June/July, 4 tests in England in July/September, host the Windies for three tests in November/December and end the year in Australia in a 4 test series. That is 15 tests in a span of approximately 6 months. Three of these series are away and the games in England and Australia are certainly worth looking forward to. Does India have a strategy to tackle these series? Let’s examine some of the concerns.

The uncertainty around Gary Kirsten’s continuation as the coach seems to be a major concern. The Indians have felt that Kirsten’s presence has been the best thing that has happened to Indian cricket in a long time. Kirsten has indicated that, due to family reasons, he would like to relinquish his job. Senior Indian players have requested that he atleast stay on as a coach for tests. Kirsten has given any indications of changing his plans. The Indians would have to go back to the drawing board in determining suitable candidates for what is turning out to be a crucial position for Indian cricket.

The most important question on everyone’s mind is the future of the Fabulous three. Though M.S. Dhoni and co. have attributed a major portion of the success in tests to the bowling department and rightly so, it is the fab three along with Sehwag who have provided the comfort base for the bowlers to perform well. The three masters will do great service to the nation if they can assist in grooming their replacements sooner than later. India should not end in a situation that Australia currently is in. I would expect Rahul Dravid to possibly till the end of the England series and finish his career where he started. VVS Laxman and Tendulkar could go on to Australia and consider their futures subsequently. For them to do so, they have to remain fit and choose their games intelligently. It would probably be a good idea for them to alternatively skip the West Indies series (home and away). Their roles should become clearer in the next few months.

India has a lot to think about regarding replacements for the fab three. Pujara seems to be more or less certain to stay the course. A good home series should help his cause immensely. Pujara should possibly consider taking on the No:3 position. India will have to give S. Badrinath another chance to prove his mettle. He has had a stunning domestic season and has atleast another 4-5 years of cricket left. He looks fit and is hungry for runs. Yuvraj Singh may just sense an opening with Suresh Raina’s terrible outings in South Africa. I am not convinced that it would be a good move. However, India would do well with a left hander in the middle order much like the role that Saurav Ganguly played. The opening slot seems reasonably stable for atleast another couple of years with Sehwag and Gambhir. Vijay and Abhinav Mukund might well be the back up choices. Interesting to note that the two Delhi openers may be followed by the two openers from Tamilnadu.

India’s bowling department continues to be a revolving door. Barring a fit Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh, all slots are available for grabs. Not much to write home about on that front as yet.

It will be interesting to see how India handles its busiest year in a while especially when it comes to test cricket. It will be a repeat of the 2007/2008 and 2008 series in Australia and England respectively.

– Srikanth

 

Unacceptable ways of two captains…

In an article on the Umpire Decision Review System, the UDRS, I alluded to the umpires assistance system drawing two distinct and different responses from captains in two countries separated by the Indian Ocean. The Boxing Day Test matches at the MCG and Kingsmead, Durban, saw Ricky Ponting and Greame Smith pull their hair out at the UDRS — the former because it was there and, in his view, implemented wrongly and the latter, because it just wasn’t there! In South Africa and in Australia, we had two captains acting in somewhat strange ways.

Fast forward to the eve of the New Years’ Test matches in Australia and South Africa and we again have two mystifying cases of captains doing things in strange ways.

On the eve of the RSA-India Test match, the hot-headed, ill-tempered, motormouth, Sreesanth received a public rebuke and a dressing down from his captain, MS Dhoni.

On the eve of the Australia-England Test match, it was Ricky Ponting and not Michael Clarke who responded to the Australian Prime Minister Julia Guillard’s speech.

Both of these were examples of bad leadership, in my view.

Mind you, Sreesanth should have his head kicked in (repeatedly). He just does not seem to learn from his past transgressions. He started off as a bit of a maverick when he twirled his bat — lasso-style — at serial-foul-mouth Andre Nel, after he had hit the South African bowler for a six! That was somewhat cute! Most of us tolerated it and put that down to a fiery personality who gave it back as good as he got; a joker who did not take a backward step in coming forward. His track record of offensive behavior since that incident, makes for sorry reading. Make no mistake of that. He sledged an Australian player as a drinks-carrier after which Ian Chappell called for his banning from the game for a period of time! Sreesanth’s own response to all of the brouhaha surrounding him was that he wanted to “find that exact limit between really bad and really good. See how far I can go.”

Right!

One thought he had learned his lessons. But no, a few months later, he got slapped by Harbhajan Singh and immediately broke down and cried on the field.

Subsequent to that the BCCI warned him that he was on a suspended sentence for bad behavior for using foul language against Dhawal Kulkarni in an Irani Cup match. A contrite Sreesanth said we would all see a new-and-improved man on the ground henceforth. A few months later, he was fined for dissent during the IPL.

His is a case of a talented bowler doing more with his eyes and mouth than with his excellent wrists, when bowling. His is an example of an errant boy who just refuses to grow up. His over-the-top antics, which were once “cute” are now becoming an acute embarrassment to a fan of Team India.

At the top of his run up, prior to bowling every ball, Sreesanth pumps his hands two or three times in a motion that seems to suggest “Stay calm and focus”. Somewhere between that motion and when he actually delivers the ball, his brain appears to either get fried or tired. What usually happens then is a stare or a glare or some foul words delivered in the direction of the batsman. The day is not far away when an opposition batsman will hit him with a bat. The BCCI and the Team India captain needs to ensure that their motormouth is adequately insured from such an eventuality.

Story is that in Durban, Sreesanth invoked Greame Smith’s mother in a colorful sledge delivered at the South African captain. An irate Smith waved his bat at the foul-mouthed Indian bowler, lost his head and immediately lost his wicket too!

Dreadfully sad? No. Not really.

My own view is that those who throw stones in an open and filthy drain should not be allowed to dictate the chemistry of the liquid that splashes back at them. However, that said, there is apparently a “line” that cricketers do not cross. Don’t ask me why that line exists. I’d be all for an all-or-nothing approach where one can bring in anything and anyone into a sledge! I am yet to see the Mafia’s published rule book on honorable and dignified methods of killing, for example!

However, the fact is that Graeme Smith was extremely upset that the cricket field was a place where Sreesanth wanted to conduct a discussion on his mother! Smith complained to Dhoni.

Dhoni washed dirty linen in a press conference and reprimanded his player through the media!

I thought that that was a strange case study in bad leadership; strange because Dhoni always comes across as a man who is correct and yet clear in everything he utters. This was certainly very strange. Mind you, Sreesanth, as I said before, does repeatedly cry out to have his head kicked in. But to do that through the media either indicates a bad hair-day for Dhoni or that the India captain is at the end of his tether! Either way this is practice of bad leadership.

Across the Indian Ocean, we witnessed another stark example of bad leadership. Ricky Ponting had just vacated his post as captain of the Australian cricket team. Micheal Clarke was appointed caretaker captain for the last Test against the visiting (and already triumphant) England. Instead of leaving the controls in Clarke’s hands and disappearing from the scene, Ponting indicated that he would hover around the team in the dressing room! This was remote-control leadership. It just does not work. The bus was being driven by Michael Clarke, but Ponting’s hand was firmly on the wheel!

For example, at an official reception to the teams it was Ponting that responded to a welcome by Australian Prime Minister, Julia Guillard.

In my view, these are two examples of questionable leadership on the same day!

— Mohan

The UDRS: An UnDesirable Review System

The last week of 2010 saw two interesting Test matches being played. Both of these ended in amazing results — for England and for India. England retained the Ashes with a stunning victory at the MCG and India, with a win in Durban, seemed to take a significant step towards establishing — yet again! — that they travel well these days.

But the two matches made news for another reason: The Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS).

Ricky Ponting made a mess of himself on field by arguing with umpire Aleem Dar after a UDRS decision had gone against his team! As I stated in my earlier post, in my view, if Ricky’s surname was not Ponting, but either Singh or Kumar or Khan, he would have been suspended for his totally over-the-top antics at the MCG. The over-tolerant Aleem Dar ought to have showed Ricky Ponting a red card for carrying on like a pork chop! After the over-the-top carry-on, the match referee slapped a mere fine on Ponting! Once again, we saw extreme incompetence — if not impotence — of the match referees in dealing with situations involving players from the “traditional powers” of cricket (read: Anglo-Saxon nations).

Ricky Ponting had a problem or two against the UDRS and chose a rather public and unacceptable way to demonstrate his disagreements with it.

Across the Indian Ocean and away from the MCG, Graeme Smith made a point about the UDRS to the International Cricket Council (ICC) in his post-loss press-conference. After being at the receiving end of bad decisons at crucial points in South Africa’s attempt to overhaul a victory target of 303, and without the benefit of the UDRS to fall back on, Smith complained about ICC’s inconsistency in its approach to the application of the UDRS.

Graeme Smith does have a point. The UDRS needs to be uniformly implemented. As per the current implementation of the UDRS, the host country must decide on the use of the UDRS in consultation with the visiting country. Although, South Africa was in favor of implementing the UDRS, and although South Africa could have insisted on the use of the UDRS, the UDRS was not implemented in the RSA-India series. One assumes that the BCCI, the Indian Board, which does not like the UDRS, used its financial power to muscle the UDRS out of the RSA-India Test series. Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni are not fans of the UDRS as it is implemented.

India’s only experiment with the UDRS was a bitter experience against Sri Lanka in 2008 — the team got most referral decisions wrong. The players developed a sense of extreme mistrust with the system and treated it like a hot potato. Since then, India has not used the UDRS in series in which it plays host (its prerogative) and has used its power to ensure that the UDRS has not been used in series against Sri Lanka and, now, South Africa.

In my view, a limited version of the UDRS should be uniformly employed in all series. Further, his decision should not be left to the host country or the visitors. Just as 2 on-field umpires, a match referee, a 3rd umpire and a reserve umpire are mandatory in all Test matches, the ICC should make a limited version of the UDRS compulsory for all Test matches.

So what should this new-UDRS include?

From an umpires’ point of view, the ICC should enable them to focus only the big issues. Umpires should not need to focus on things like counting balls, run outs and no-balls. Umpires already refer run-outs. The 3rd umpire should rule on no-balls and should whisper in the umpires ear to call the end of an over. These decisions should be taken away from the on-field umpires. These somewhat straight-forward decisions can and must be technology-driven and technology-assisted.

This then brings into focus “nicks” and whether a ball pitched in line in LBW decisions.

I believe “hot spot” should be used in all matches. In my view, the two dimensional technology that is used to project height, swing, spin and movement is just not believable nor trustworthy! The ICC should choose a version of UDRS (of the many that exist) and employ it for all matches.

All “nicks” (whether for detecting inside-edges in LBW decisions or for caught behind appeals) should be referred to the 3rd umpire if the on-field umpire wants seek the assistance of technology in deciding. It should be the on-field umpires’ prerogative to seek the referral. Just as it works for run outs currently, the on-field umpire will seek out technology when needed. The “hot spot” technology does work effectively and is utterly believable, in my view. The “Snickometer” technology which is also error-free takes too long to spit out results — and the game cannot be stalled for such long periods of time.

Further, the UDRS should also employ one of the many systems that can be used to detect whether a ball pitched “in line” for LBW decisions. Technology in this area is believable and accurate.

With all of the above modifications, the umpires can then save their focus on trajectory, discipline on the ground, ball changes and other such decisions; decisions that requires their judgement to be applied. The problem is then with interpretation and errors in these areas alone. One doesn’t need judgement and interpretation of whether the ball pitched in line or whether it is a no ball. A machine can predict that accurately regardless of the type of technology that’s used.

So what would a new-UDRS mean?

  • The 3rd umpire counts balls and informs the on-field umpire when it is the end of the over
  • Run outs are referred to the 3rd umpire when needed (as now).
  • Clear cases of no-balls are automatically called on the field. In borderline cases, the 3rd umpire whispers in the ear of the on-field umpire. An alternative would be to use a “cyclops” type machine to yell “NO” on the ground.
  • The 3rd umpire is called upon to use “hot spot” to detect “edges” in caught-behind, LBW and bat-pad catch appeals. The on-field umpire must request the 3rd umpire to adjudicate in these cases.
  • The 3rd umpires’ assistance should also be used in deciding whether the ball pitched impacted in line (off-stump) or pitched in line (leg-stump) in LBW appeals. Again, the on-field umpire must request the 3rd umpire to adjudicate in these cases.

And that is about all that the new-UDRS should include. The on-field umpires can then save their focus on things that need their judgement (trajectory, bounce, etc).

With these modifications I believe we will have a UDRS that is more acceptable; and one that is more widely used.

It is time for the ICC to step in and take real control of the game. At the moment, it continues to dither on most important issues affecting the game.

— Mohan