July 15th, 2006


We have the technology, so why don't they use it?

Those of us at home know within seconds whether an umpire/referee has made the wrong decision. We can watch replays in slo-mo and computer simulation.  Would it slow things down insufferably if the umpir/referee also had access to a screen (worn as wrist watch, perhaps)?

The issue arises in every sport that's played with a ball, but it becomes particularly acute in cricket, because the ball moves so fast. Every day's play throws up a clutch of contentious decisions. The top level umpires are good, but not infallible. Far from it.  Yesterday, for example,  Simon Terfel gave Paul Collingwood "not out" when the replays clearly showed that he'd edged the ball to the wicket keeper. Collingwood went on to score 184.  These dangblasted errors can have a huge effect on the course of the game and for me they spoil it. In fact I couldn't bear to watch Collingwood after he got that decision. He was out and he knew he was out and there he was still creaming balls to the boundary and all I could think was, "You so shouldn't be there, dude!"

The Collingwood decision was the third crap decision in the match. Pietersen was given out when he wasn't (not by a mile) and Cook survived an edged catch very similar to Collingwood's though perhaps not quite as blatant. Some days it seems that whether a batsman survives or not has nothing to do with his or the bowler's skill but is entirely a lottery.

The sports authorities may wish the technology would go away, but it won't and every further year they refuse to employ it sees  the sport they are supposed to be defending become less and less credible.