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by Homer

My reservations on the use of technology have been documented on this blog and elsewhere. One of my pet grouses has been that technology, as it stands today, is privy to human malice. Vide this new report in the Guardian

The International Cricket Council is ­powerless to sanction South African Broadcasting Corporation staff even if they are found guilty of sharp practice in protecting Graeme Smith's wicket today.
The ICC has launched an investigation into the circumstances of the referral to the third umpire, Daryl Harper, of Smith's wayward shot in the first-session. While British viewers were cheering an audible nick, Harper was heard by the Sky commentator Nasser Hussain saying he could hear no sound.
Conspiracists infer that this meant South Africa's broadcasting technicians had suppressed the audio, though some reports have suggested Harper may ­simply not have heard as he had the ­volume on his television turned up to only four out of 10.
But even if technicians did suppress the audio, they were under no obligation to do otherwise – other than a possible moral responsibility – since despite their role in the referral system effectively making them participants in the Test match, the ICC has no regulatory framework governing their conduct.
An ICC spokesman said: "Unfortunately we don't have any code of conduct in place for broadcasters. But we continue to make improvements and to update what is required from the ­referral system.
"After every series we discuss what has happened and how we can improve. If a broadcasters' code of conduct is agreed in principle it will be referred to the cricket committee, then to the chief executive's committee and then to the ICC board for a final sign off."
Players and officials are bound by the terms of a 29-page code of conduct that covers a number of offences, several of which carry life bans from all forms of cricket.


PS: From this Cricinfo article
It led Andy Flower, the England coach, to make an official complaint to Roshan Mahanama, the ICC match referee, who has also had a curious part to play in the whole affair after first telling Flower, incorrectly, that he had a different TV feed. It was only after England made further investigations and found out this wasn't true that Mahanama admitted Harper had failed to adjust his volume.
Harper was also the TV umpire during the England series in West Indies early last year, when he was unable to rule on a caught-behind appeal against Darren Powell. It transpired that, on that occasion, he was let down by the hardware because his TV screen wasn't wide enough to include the whole picture and the ball was lopped off. The ICC have put measures in place to ensure such situations don't arise again.
But later in the series, at Barbados, Harper failed to overturn an lbw against Shivnarine Chanderpaul that was clearly heading over the stumps, although at that stage of the UDRS trial, the predicative element of Hawkeye wasn't available to the TV umpire. All the same, regardless of the possible defences for Harper in those situations, a system is only as good as the people operating it - and faith in Harper's decision-making is currently at rock-bottom.
On the whole, the review system has emerged from this series with its reputation boosted after an iffy start at Centurion, during which the main issue was the length of time taken to ask for reviews. At Cape Town it was especially impressive as it overturned three glaring errors; a caught-behind against Ashwell Prince, an lbw against Kevin Pietersen when he inside-edged the ball and, most crucially, a first-ball slip catch at the start of Paul Collingwood's match-saving rearguard, when the ball deflected off his back leg. Ironically, the Prince and Pietersen errors were both made by Harper, the standing umpire, but that is what the system was designed for and it worked.
However, this latest controversy again highlights the problem of UDRS's inconsistent implementation around the world. In this series there is neither HotSpot nor Snickometer technology, and either of those would have offered a definitive answer to the question of Smith's edge. The lack of HotSpot is due to there being only four cameras in the entire world and they are all in Australia where, despite Mark Benson's walkout at Adelaide following an overturned decision against Chanderpaul, it has proved effective.


Mahek said...

Selective vision at its best.

Anonymous said...

Bullshit. The referral system is one of the best things to happen to test cricket in a lomg time.

Homer said...


Selective vision, how?


Honer said...


The concept of the UDRS may be the best thing to happen since sliced bread, but there are enough flaws in its implementation for me to have reservations on its utility.

And this is not about the UDRS either - it is about the technologies that are currently in use, the lack of regulation on their usage and the lack of oversight in their implementations.


Mahek said...

I think you mean lack of foresight :)

Homer said...

Foresight and the ICC are mutually exclusive :)

raj said...

Homer, now that England have been affected, you can hope for some action. However, being ICC, they'll muddle it up but there will be some action, for sure,.
For one, Harper might develop some "health problems" and retire from umpiring :-)

How conveniently do errant umpires against Oz and England develop health problems to conveniently retire from the game in a timely manner? Why doesnt it happpen to Bucknors, and we have to suffer a 100 times before we push him out and earn a bad name as bullying Indians. Why cant we manipulate the game as cleverly as the English and Australian boards, press and public?

Prabu said...


On a separate note, did you notice the SAf convenor of selectors who announced Imran Tahir's name? Care to guess who would be that incompetent and yet be in such an important post?

Homer said...


The Elite Panel of Umpires is a joke.


Homer said...


"Only one team was telling the truth".... So why should the Imrah Tahir fiasco surprise anyone?


Jonathan said...

I will be my usual (irritating?) self and withhold judgment on this particular incident, but you are absolutely right about the possibilities for abuse of the system.

Mind you, is McGlashan seriously suggesting that HotSpot or Snicko must have given definitive evidence in this case? What's he on?

Raj, which errant umpires against Aus and Eng are you talking about?

Homer said...


The problem stems from a lack of adequate regulation on the technologies in use and their implementation.

The other problem is that the Elite Panel of Umpires, like the Match Referees panel, has become a boys ow club. So umpires are allowed to screw up, very publicly, with no effective deterrence in place to curb such behavior ( the same argument holds true for the Match Referees panel).

And in the absence of deterrence, abuse of the process in place is more likely than not.