The future of Indian cricket
Innovations — one step forward, two backward?
First, England batsman Kevin Pietersen changed his stance and, more importantly his grip, to hit New Zealand slow medium bowler Scott Styris for two sixes, triggering a debate whether it was fair to the bowlers or the umpires who have to decide on leg
before appeals and rule of wides.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) will test a new umpire referral system during India’s test tour of Sri Lanka, allowing the batsman at the striker’s end or the fielding team captain to ask for a review of the umpire’s decision with the teams allowed three “unsuccessful” appeals per innings.
For cricket fans who are suddenly being stuffed with plenty of Twenty20 cricket, innovations such as Pietersen’s could be the perfect way to spice up the 50-over version.
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar says the ICC is already looking to make the 15-35 over period more interesting in the longer limited overs game.
Although Pietersen’s “switch-hit” has been cleared by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the custodians of cricket rules, it is still unclear how much it would affect the bowlers, who can’t switch their bowling arm on their run-up, and the umpires
who will have to make leg before decisions and judge wides.
The ICC has been forced to come up with the referral system to end umpiring controversies, particularly the kind which erupted during India’s test tour of Australia.
Many sports are tweaked to meet the demands of television, whose technology also magnifies every umpiring error. However, reviewing decisions by on-field umpires could affect the flow of the game, which goes against the fundamental requirement of TV.
There will be much debate on both issues in the coming days.