We need third umpire on the field, suggests Trent Woodhill

Trent Woodhill, who recently had a short stint with the Pakistani team as its batting coach and served the New Zealand team as its assistant coach, has suggested the novel idea of having one more on-field umpire.

by BIPIN DANI

Speaking exclusively from Australia, where his wife recently gave birth to a first baby-boy, he says, “instead of continuing on down the road of technological advancement that, regardless of what the Warren Brennan’s (HotSpot inventor) of the world would have you believe, is not improving decision making, what if we went back to the ability of the human being to make the right decision the majority of the time and in real time”.

“We currently have only two on field umpires performing several tasks such as the front foot no ball to the square leg umpire ruling on the height of a delivery. What if cricket went one step further and had an umpire directly behind the keeper, (similar to baseball) who could adjudicate on catches behind the wicket in consultation, when and if needed, with the umpire at the bowlers end. The bowlers end umpire would ultimately still have the final say on the decision,” Woodhill, a coach with the Delhi Daredevils IPL team said.

“This would quicken up the decision making process and if there is any doubt the on field umpires could go upstairs to the video umpire to look over available video evidence to confirm the decision by the on field umpires. It would get rid of the DRS by the players and make it only available to the three standing umpires and only when a decision is inconclusive rather than from the badgering of the players”.

“We currently have a fourth official that is basically just a water boy for the standing officials who could immediately fill the ‘behind the keeper’ role. Every other moving sport such as Rugby, Football, AFL, Gridiron, baseball has officials in the thick of the action. Thus there is no reason why the extra umpire would get in the way and should help the on field umpires get back to making decisions without faulty technology impeding the game”, Woodhill added.

The DRS (Decision Referral System) was seen as the technological advancement of modern cricket. Television stations worldwide-developed concepts such as ‘snicko’, ‘Hawkeye’ & ‘hot spot’, their inventors claiming foolproof status and no doubt cashed in on the added drama it offered a telecast.

Though players and coaches remained extremely suspicious by what these gimmicks were, not only showing on the television but also the effect it is having on the game. Though this didn’t stop the western hemisphere crying foul when the BCCI rebuked its benefit and claimed, with the strong support of the Indian captain, that until it was foolproof that it would not back its mandatory use.

Never has the DRS come under a brighter spotlight than during the current Ashes series. The technology has shown to be faulty and the developer of Hot Spot, Warren Brennan has said that the ICC must make a rule change for his technology to work properly… Australian television station Channel 9 even went as far as implying that maybe players were trying to beat the system.

Well if the Hot Spot technology doesn’t work properly let alone efficiently, with players using tape down the sides of bats (a practice performed by players and bat manufacturers for a minimum of thirty years) then his technology should not be involved in any definitive decision-making. It should be left as a gimmick.

Bipin Dani

A Civil Engineer by profession, Bipin is also a senior cricket journalist in India.
He has toured UAE, Sri Lanka, Morocco and Malaysia, to name a few, and contributes to a large number of newspapers in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
His twitter bio reads: Eat cricket stories, drink cricket stories, sleep cricket stories.

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