The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Technology not the final word yet: Venkat

Chennai: Despite the rapid strides made in umpiring, thanks to technology, veteran cricketer and senior umpire Srinivas Venkatraghavan says he would like to make only limited use of the third umpire because technology cannot provide conclusive evidence in every case.

“Except in cases of direct hits inducing a close run out or similar incidents — like whether the wicketkeeper or the fielder had the ball in his hands when the bails came off or the fielder made a body contact with the rope on the boundary line — which as an umpire, I cannot determine, I will not like to refer to the third umpire,” he said.

Venkatraghavan, a former skipper who is the only Indian in ICC’S Elite Panel of umpires and did duty in the final rounds in the recently concluded World Cup in South Africa, said that where technology cannot provide conclusive evidence, gestures like the one by Adam Gilchrist would make the umpires’ job easier.

In particular, he raised doubts over the effectiveness of TV replays determining leg before decisions — one of the new rules introduced on an experimental basis in the ICC Champions Trophy in Colombo last year — saying the technology used was “debatable”.

“If the straight camera is not in line and even one millimetre away from the stumps, it (the image it gives) can be distorted. And, if the cameraman is not good enough, it can create problems. The camera, which is 100 yards away and 100 feet high, is not transfixed. So, it could create parallax,” he said. “Though it is accepted by people that it is the right thing to do, it will provide clarity only if every technicality involved is perfect. If all the parameters are attended to, definitely it will be exact,” he said.

He however, welcomed the experiments in Colombo and said they could not be implemented at the World Cup in South Africa due to various reasons. “Like the other ICC umpires, I fully appreciate and welcome the experimental conditions. It took some time for the ICC to compile the whole gamut of playing conditions. “They did not have enough technicians to go around the many grounds in South Africa. Perhaps, the ICC did not enforce the experimental conditions.”

Venkat said he had discussions with the ICC on the rule according to which the batsman cannot be ruled out leg before wicket if the ball pitched outside the leg stump. “It definitely holds up play but there are hold-ups in cricket even otherwise. If I am in doubt on the ball that pitched on the leg stump, I will first ask the third umpire whether it pitched on leg stump and if the answer is positive, then give the decision only after ascertaining the height and bounce of the ball,” he said. (PTI)

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