Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Can technology lead to pure cricket?

By John Cheeran
Can technology lead to pure cricket? Free from flaws, free from erroneous decision-making?
We have appreciated technology over the years and that is true even in sport. With the ICC planning to widen the scope of technology, may be to assist umpires, may be to undermine the authority of umpires, it is interesting to tune into different views.
When Sachin Tendulkar, the most successful batsman of the recent times, says that he wants more technology but no referrals, it is a contradictory statement. Technology is the only reason why there are referrals. Without technology would there have been a rethink on the pending decision?
Even a schoolchild knows that LBWs invove the most subjective decision-making in cricket umpiring.
Tendulkar now wants only clean bowleds and LBWs out of the ambit of technology. Many, including Ian Chappell and Michael Holding, feel that HawkEye predictions are far removed from reality. So again, a cricketer has no choice but to respect the integrity and intelligence of the umpire.
Gone are the days of walking.
Now commentators talk, critics carp and still few are happy with the decision-making out on the field.
As a cricketer your aim is to win. You need to score runs and take wickets. Contemporary cricketer may be pardoned if he argues that he has no business to walk and a right to appeal on every ball.
But at the end of the day, technology can be no substitute for honesty and integrity on the part of cricketers. We need to have upright and intelligent umpires who can earn the respect of the players.
You cannot control weather. You cannot have a level playing field even in Twenty20, leave alone in Test matches sprawling over five days.
Poor decision making is part of sport, as much it is part of life. Diego Maradona's Hand of God goal did not make Argentina's World Cup triumph in 1986 illegitimate.
Yes, I know that bowlers have had a tough time to prise out batsman and the recent innovations in technology such as HawkEye, HotSpot and referrals would have tilted the scales in favour of them.
Does batsman deserve the benefit of doubt any longer?
May be, may be not.
But all a bowler has to do to dismiss the batsman is to bowl again. Over after over.
If we reduce cricket to disease diagnose, for the sake of certainty, the game will be poorer, for, what will be left of the glorious uncertainties?

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