This series between England and Pakistan is the first in England to feature the Umpire Decision Review System, so it’s the first time I’ve really seen it in action, albeit through the Channel Five TV highlights.
As a bit of a traditionalist (read old f**t) I was in principle against the system as it challenges the authority of the umpire. But having seen it in action it really adds another dimension to the game – the issue of whether to seek a referral is an important one for fielding captain and batsmen. The good thing is that the decision on whether to review needs to be made on the field, and without any signal from the balcony based on TV replays.
Both sides get two referrals opportunities per innings, but lose one of them if they incorrectly challenge an umpiring decision. It very much matches the challenge system in place in the NFL.
Currently the technology available to the third umpire is instant replay, Hawk-Eye and Hot Spot, but ‘snicko’ isn’t used because, strangely, it isn’t deemed to be instant.
But so far so good. A few incorrect decisions have gone unchallenged, and a few obviously correct ones have been challenged. But as time goes on the teams will get more skilled in knowing when to seek a referral. But for it to become accepted it needs to in place for all international matches – firstly test matches but rolling out to one-day games too.