1 December 2010

Ponting is spot on...

No, not in his field placings obviously. In expressing his frustrations about low catches not being given because of the way that technology is currently being used. I think he's 100% right, but he offers no solution other than to reach a gentleman's agreement with other captains. If you scroll to the comments at the bottom of this piece on The Roar you'll see my proposed solution to the problem of adjudicating on low catches - it's ultra simple - and the same solution I've burbled about before.

Surely the ICC have to see sense eventually?


Dhiraj said...

I'm going to slightly disagree with you on this one Ed. I think it's right that the fielder should get the benefit of the doubt and not the batsman, but I don't think it's quite as black and white as you put it.

If the ball is shown by video evidence to have bounced it doesn't automatically suggest the fielder cheated. There is a grey area where the fielder doesn't actually see the ball when contact is made with his or her hands.

I think the logical next step would be for that fielder to have some self doubt the next time he or she claims a catch thus deferring the decision to a technological review which in all likelihood will deem it not out unless it is clearly seen to be a clean catch.

Ed said...

It's perfectly ok to disagree!!

I think we're actually agreeing though, or certainly not far off! I agree there are times that the fielder isn't sure if the ball carried - I think what I'm suggesting is that if things change so that the batsman isn't going to automatically be ruled not out for very low catches when TV replays are used, then there is no reason for a fielder to claim a low catch. They should do as you suggest and say they aren't 100% sure to the umpires who will call for the technology (exactly as Ponting did).

As the technology will only give it not out if it has definitely bounced, there is no incentive for a fielder to claim one that bounces, so the only reason they would do that is to try to avoid the use of technology altogether. That would be low and as a result would deserve a ban from the game.

Andrew said...

I'm inclined to cut the ICC some slack on this one. Neither of the solutions you and The Roar offer are clear-cut ways to solve this problem. They have their advantages, but also plenty of room for confusion, and unless the ICC can see a solution that obviously improves things, I think they're entitled not to make changes.

Of course you can make the argument that they have to try things, but do we want international cricket to turn into a testing ground for every speculative new law? It's not something that has worked well in the past.

Ed said...

I like your second point - completely agree that changes should be tested elsewhere first rather than in Test cricket.

I'm not sure what confusion my proposed solution on low catches could cause, but with any change those that oppose it will of course try to create reasons why it doesn't work. That's why the ICC need to show strong leadership. I'll put it in the "it will happen in future but the cricketing world isn't quite ready for it yet" locker, along with the use of technology for any decision umpires wish to use it for, rather than this strange system of referrals! Or I suppose it's possible technology will improve enough that low catches can be adjudicated on properly.

Andrew said...

Maybe it's just me then, but I spent quite a while trying to figure your proposal out. It's also not impossible to forsee a row about a player being banned for what the authorities feel was blatantly not a catch, whereas he was convinced it was.
My point was basically that, yes the current system has a problematic grey area, but I have yet to see a proposal that doesn't. Better the devil you know.

Alternative possibilities? Stop using replays for catches til the technology improves, or give the benefit of the doubt to the bowler. Neither is entirely satisfactory though, which takes me back to my point.

As for the ICC, I don't think they ever show much leadership, but I don't think this is related to that. Change doesn't in itself equal leadership. Show me a definitive solution and I'll criticise them for not implementing it. Until then, one could argue they're being decisive by not tampering with the game everytime there's a controversy.

Andrew said...

Plus, ban or no ban, what professional cricketer is ever going to admit he's in doubt about a catch? For every one you see (I remember Damien Martyn doing so about ten years ago), there are dozens more who don't.

Ed said...

I think I've explained it very badly because I was trying to propose giving the benefit of the doubt to the fielding side! I've found an alternative post where I've Burbled about it before which may (but probably won't!) explain it better. Seems so logical to me, but obviously not to everybody (story of many of my theories)!

I'd hope that if the benefit of doubt went to the fielder, you'd see plenty of people saying they are unsure - rather that than risk the humiliation of trial by TV and years of recriminations via the media....especially when you add the threat of a ban on top of that. But perhaps I'm being idealistic.

Re the ICC, I agree that doing nothing can be good leadership. They've just ballsed up the key big issues in the last decade which means that I've lost confidence in their ability to lead. And the reason they've ballsed them up is that they've dithered over significant changes required (technology isn't going to go away). For me, low catches is something that needed to be addressed after Vaughan caught Amla and he wasn't given, if not before - that wrong decision contributed to the result of the match which contributed to Vaughan resigning.

Andrew said...

It's a fair point, and it is a prominent issue that's not going away. I just don't know what they can do that's obviously going to make things better at this stage.