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December 24, 2009

Flower Criticises Review System

In my last piece for Silly Point, I spoke about my dislike of the review system. Now, in the aftermath of the first Test in South Africa, England coach Andy Flower has revealed that he is against the system.

One of the main talking points from the five days in Centurion was when Kevin Pietersen was bowled off a no-ball by Morne Morkel. Despite the introduction of technology, the decision could not be overturned under the current rules.

This seems to be one of the things that Flower has a problem with. He believes there are some 'illogical anomalies' with the system and that if technology is going to be used it should be 'done properly'.

Flower has a point, that's for sure. Why have someone sitting in the pavilion after being bowled off a no-ball when the third umpire could check this in a matter of seconds?

The Zimbabwean wasn't finished there though. He said that he would prefer it if 'the umpire made a decision and people get on with it'. Overall, Flower believes cricket has gone from a system that was 'nice and simple' to one that has 'more and more complications'.

Basically, he isn't a fan of reviews and his comments back up the fact that England have been against the system from the start. However, it is unlikely that the ICC will abandon the project any time soon, so England will have to get used to it.

Perhaps if they start having a bit more success with it, that will help things along. After all, they lost seven of their on-field referrals in Centurion. They were also unhappy with how long South Africa took to refer a decision regarding Stuart Broad's dismissal in the first innings.

The fact is Flower makes some valid points. It does make everything more complicated. Nobody is quite sure where they stand and it would be a lot easier if everything was moved back to how it was. However, as frustrating as the system might be, the team will have to make sure it doesn't impact onEngland's second Test chances.

In other sports news, pundits have already started casting their eyes over the runners and riders for next year'sGrand National.


December 18, 2009

Thoughts on the Review System

I am going to come out and say it straight away - I am not a fan of the review system. It takes something away from the greatest sport in the world.

I don't want to be celebrating a wicket, forget about the new rule and then be forced to wait for the decision to come through. Then, either the decision is overturned and my celebrations were a waste or the decision stands and it feels like a bit of an afterthought.

While the change won't have any impact on England South African Test odds, it does seem to have taken something away from the game.

To be honest, I didn't think there was much wrong with just the umpires doing their jobs, at least everyone knows where they stand. Yes, there may well the occasional wrong decision, but that's all part of the game.

The review system should only be used to prevent absolute howlers. In this sense, I think the power should be taken away from the players. At the moment, they are using the 'might as well challenge it' approach, which doesn't suit the game.

When one of a team's best batsman is given out, they think they should challenge it just on the off chance that they will be able to keep their star man in. Again, not quite what the system is intended for.

Likewise, the bowling side might challenge an LBW decision if it concerns an opposition player that is taking the game away from them. They might not think it is definitely out, but if there is an outside chance Hawkeye will say it is brushing the off stump, they will challenge the decision.

So, unless things improve in this sense, I think the decision to refer should be taken away from the players. Let the Umpires or whoever watches the replays decide if a decision should be reviewed.

Again though, there are flaws to this system. Which is why I think it should have been left how it was. If England take a wicket to 'win the series' and I celebrate like a mad man before realising the decision has been overturned – I'm not going to be happy.

The umpires are of the highest quality and they should be left to do their job.

In other sports new, the odds for the 2010 Cheltenham Festival are really starting to hot up.

Blog by Thomas Rooney, Professional Sports Writer


November 04, 2009

Praise throughout the game for David Shepherd

Some of the most famous names from the world of cricket have had their say on the death of David Shepherd. The former international umpiredied last Wednesday after a battle with cancer, aged 68.

During his career as an umpire, Shepherd officiated in 92 test and 172 one-day international matchesbefore deciding to retire in 2005. Only Steve Bucknor and Rudi Koertzen have stood in more tests than the Englishman who was famous for his aversion to ‘Nelson’.

Whenever the score was on a multiple of 111, he used to nervously hop at the crease between deliveries, much to the amusement of the crowd. In fact, it was one of many characteristics that made him a very popular character within the game.

Tributes have poured in for him as well since his death. Former England captain Michael Vaughan said he was a ‘respected individual because he got a lot of decisions right’ and because of his close relationships with the players, he will be ‘greatly missed’.

Dickie Bird – who umpired alongside him on many occasions – said that Shepherd was a ‘fine umpire and great friend’. ICC President David Morgan echoed these sentiments by describing Shepherd as a ‘true gentleman’ of the game.

Morgan also reminded everybody that Shepherd was a ‘fine player’ as well as a ‘match official of the highest quality’. David Graveney also had his say by describing him as ‘universally popular with players and crowds alike.’

So, there has been plenty of praise for a man that brought so much to the sport of cricket. To my mind, it is a shame that there aren’t more officials like him around today. An umpire that can have a laugh with the crowd and players is exactly what cricket needs.

He will be greatly missed


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