Monday, July 28, 2008

Appealing against Umpire- taking the mystery out of Test cricket

By John Cheeran
One of the great charms of Test cricket is its open-ended nature. If you are a batsman, you can score as many runs you wish till you run out of company.
And eleven men are something of a company, if not a crowd.
If you are a bowler, you could bowl till you tire out from wheeling the arm. Or until the last batsman departs.
Test cricket is not a precise science though as in any other sport it too has a scoreboard. But it conceals more than it reveals.
And both bowler and batman get a second chance to redeem himself in Test cricket, a luxury life does not give you.
Be that as it may, the decision to implement the Review System in Test cricket is shocking.
A system that forces Umpires to depend on television replays to reach a decision on a dismissal takes away the crux of cricket, its mystery. And if the Colombo Test match between Sri Lanka and India is any indication even the Review System cannot get everything right. Read elsewhere how the camera cannot detect the deviation and other devilries of a cricket ball.
You cannot expect umpires to be infallible in their judgments just as you cannot expect batsman and bowler to be infallible. Just as mistakes are part of life, mistakes are part of Test cricket. Umpiring errors do not matter much in Test cricket as everyone get more than ample chance to set right other’s mistake. Even if a Virender Sehwag is unjustly dismissed a Sachin Tendulkar gets an opportunity to undo the damage. That’s what is sport is all about, especially team sport.
And what relevance the Review System had on the outcome of the Colombo Test?
India lost the match all the way. Their spinners – captain Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh could not get wickets and their batsmen trembled at the sight of Muttaiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis.
Kumble’s men lost by an innings and 239 runs, one of the worst defeats India has ever suffered in Test arena.
So what does review do to the fortunes of batsmen and bowlers?

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