Fourth Umpire for Cricketing Empire

Wrong umpiring decisions have often tilted the fate of many matches and have also lead to huge controversies with fines and bans being levied on players for indecent behaviour and show of disregard to the on-field umpire. But come this July, the Indo-Sri Lanka test series will mark a new era in the history of cricket, with the induction of a rule by which the players can challenge the decision of the field umpire and refer it to the third umpire.

According to the new rule, the batsmen in the middle or the fielding captain can raise his forearm above his head forming a ‘T’ to signal a time-out in which the decision of the on field umpire will be referrer to the third umpire. Each team will get three chances to do so in a match. The rule has been introduced to minimise the umpiring errors and to remove the luck factor in the game. It would ensure that cricket is being played in the right spirit and increase the competitiveness among the players who often feel they got a raw deal due to the wrong umpiring decisions. Furthermore, it would reduce the controversies such as the once seen in recent India – Australia series.

It is said, “Technology cannot replace human beings and it is only good till it helps us”. Although the Hawkeye and Snickometer are excellence tools for taking decisions, but like any other technology, they are not completely error proof. As it has been found on many occasions, the referred decision to the third umpire has been inconclusive.

Another concern raised regarding this system is that is would add fuel to the problem of slow over rate. And the authority of the on field umpires will take a beating as the players will undermine their role on the field and lose respect for them. According to me, though the system would decrease human errors in the game and would ensure that the players do not get a raw deal, it would rob the game of its human element and slow down the momentum of play, unsettling the batsmen and the bowlers.

This system will be thoroughly scanned when India takes on Sri Lanka in the three test series which will begin on July 22. Now only time will tell whether this system will be good for the game; or rob it of its excitement.

Aditi Gupta

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