Just because the service in the restaurant isn’t perfect and the steak was a bit on the tough side, doesn’t mean to say you go on hunger strike and refuse to eat anything.
The players’ collective reaction to a couple of teething problems and cock-ups with the Umpire Decision Review System has been petulant to the point of spoilt brats. All but one of the reviews in the series to date have been uncontentious and have resulted in the right decision being made. And the decision which was incorrect was not a fault of the system, but of the man operating it.
Those who argue that marginal decisions – such as AB de Villiers being caught at leg slip off Andrew Strauss playing a sweep shot – could have been decided differently with the aid of ‘Hot Spot’ cameras and the ‘Snickometer’ are deliriously missing the point. The Review System was never, ever intended to decide on marginal decisions. It was introduced to eradicate obvious, howling mistakes! But now the players are calling for an “all or nothing” approach to the use of technology. How naïve.
Precious few international cricketers have much of a grounding in reality so you can’t expect them to be anything but selfish when judging the success of the Review System to date. Virtually to a man they now say they want every available piece of technology used in every series. You can’t help wondering how many of them know that there are only two Hot Spot cameras in the world! And that they cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per Test match.
The easiest and most practical way to level the umpiring playing fields is to do away with Hot Spot entirely. It simply isn’t worth it for the price. The systems being used during the SA – England series are perfectly sufficient to eradicate embarrassing umpiring errors. Provided they are used properly.
Ryan Sidebottom added his name to the ‘all or nothing’ club after the third day telling the media that he was “a bit old-fashioned” and that “unless all the technology is available then I’d leave it up to the two men in the middle.” With respect, Ryan, that’s bollocks.
If it happened, my greatest hope is that I am the man to interview Sidebottom in the sweaty moments after a long day in the field when ‘Hawkeye’ has revealed that he was denied three lbws by a nervous umpire protecting his job with a safety-first, ‘not out’ policy.
Even rich and arrogant millionaires eat sandwiches sometimes. You can’t always get what you want. Professional cricketers are better off with technology supporting them, and whatever technology is available is better than none. Of course, if they’d care to dip into their well-filled pockets to help out with the payments for it, then maybe they can have the five-course, gourmet meal.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Feel free to get in touch.