Umpires call to scrap ear-piece experiment tried at WC
St George`s (Grenada), April: What was seen as a super experiment to improve umpiring standards is fast turning out to be, well, a pain in the ear.
The International Cricket Council had announced at the start of the 2007 World Cup with much fanfare that during the event, umpires would be plugged to the stump microphone with an ear-piece to enable them to detect the faintest of nicks.
The feedback has started to come now, and the on-field umpires have given a big thumbs down to the concept and suggested that the ICC dump the experiment as quickly as it can.
"All kind of sounds keep coming in. After we come out of a match we are stone deaf," said an Elite umpire in disgust.
"We have this asinine situation where batsmen are marking their guards, wicketkeepers thumping their gloves, close-in fielders adjusting their boxes and helmets, all types of words and encouragement to fellow fielders and it becomes a real pain.
"Indeed, there is so much sound coming from the stump microphone that you can`t really pick up the so called faint edge," remarked the umpire. "Earlier, the situation was better. We used to rely on natural sound and our eyesight to make a decision. Now it`s different."
According to this respected umpire, all kind of noises create the same sound on the microphone.
"This is the worst part. The sound from a bat is similar to the sound from the pads or gloves. You can`t really tell if it was an edge or it had gone from the pads.
"Imagine standing in this heat of Grenada and being plugged in for eight hours in a day. It`s a bigger strain and if anything it can make umpires commit more mistakes then they normally do."
Most of ICC`s technical experiments in the past have been similar disasters. It was decided during the Super Series in Australia a couple of years ago that umpires could even make their leg-before ruling going by the evidence of television coverage."That too is not fool-proof at all. For example in Grenada in a game, Stephen Fleming was given out leg before wicket to Chaminda Vaas. The hawk-eye showed that the ball had swerved out on pitching and could have missed the off-stump.