Is it Time for Cricket to Use Technology?


The ICC, which oversees international cricket, appears to believe that the answer to this query is indeed yes. The hosts of the England vs. South Africa series were asked to implement a referral system, but they chose not to, therefore the upcoming match between Sri Lanka and India will mark the start of the system's trial run.


Only the batsman who lost the challenge and the fielding captain were permitted to do so; each team was given three unsuccessful challenges every inning. Therefore, there is no cap on successful challenges, making a wave of disputed rulings embarrassing for the on-field umpires.


They shouldn't feel threatened by technology, though. It is an additional resource that will both support their good judgment and point out mistakes that are excusable in the high-pressure setting of Test cricket. In three of the grand slam tournaments, umpires use technology to aid in making accurate line calls, and each challenge is rapidly resolved. As a result, the official's authority is increased because players are less likely to fight while using technology. Rugby also generally makes good use of referrals.


In English domestic one-day cricket, this referral system has been tried before but was discontinued after a year. None of the player challenges led to a decision being changed, while some rulings that seemed to be erroneous were unchallenged. It will be interesting to see if players can recognize when they have been declared out, and bowlers could be surprised to learn that the majority of their LBW appeals would have really failed because of overshot situations.


Since there can never be 100% accuracy—TV cameras, for example, cannot always identify tiny edges—batsmen still benefit from some degree of doubt. The ICC is quick to remind out that the mechanism is for consultation, not referral; on-field umpires still have the final say.


There should no longer be any clearly incorrect judgements made in Test cricket if the trial is successful. For instance, despite the fact that the ball struck Alastair Cook's leg rather than his bat, he was called out caught behind in the first innings at Headingley. His challenge would have been accepted right away, and he could have promptly started another inning. There will undoubtedly be a similar situation in Sri Lanka, which will immediately support the usage of technology and off-field umpires.

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