Farcial umpiring and a poor deal for spectators

…decisions take so long in Cricket. The players came back onto the field for one over. 6 balls. Strauss couldn’t pick up the ball at all. Umpires appeared to offer the light to the batsmen who rightly took it (as any batsman would), but they didn’t take a light reading. Off walk Strauss and Thorpe. Smith and South Africa stayed on the pitch, wondering what was going on – then spent a couple of minutes looking at the stump camera’s cable to see if the ball would go underneath it! What the hell’s going on?

Vaughan at the Wanderer’s was fined his entire match fee – 100% – for asking for consistency in offering the light to batsmen. It’s an utter farce and the umpires must be held responsible, especially Bucknor.

Law 9, clause d states:

(d) If at any time the umpires together agree that the conditions of
ground, weather or light are so bad that there is obvious and
foreseeable risk to the safety of any player or umpire
, so that
it would be unreasonable or dangerous for play to take place,
then notwithstanding the provisions of (b)(i) and (b)(ii) above,
they shall immediately suspend play, or not allow play to
commence or to restart. The decision as to whether conditions
are so bad as to warrant such action is one for the umpires
alone to make.

I don’t think this clause has been used all series. Certainly not at the Wande I don’t think the umpires are interpreting this rule correctly. It is my understanding that the light’s quality during a Test match is “tested” at various intervals. For argument’s sake, let’s say good/excellent light equals 10. At 4pm it starts to get gloomy, and the umpires re-test the light which comes to 8, a minor reduction. Why can’t there be a standardised format, which would introduce much better consistency, for light metering? If the light falls below X, take another reading. If it then falls further to Y, offer the light and don’t come back on the park until it reaches X.

Another suggestion: how about having a light meter embedded in the stumps? This would be accurate, and constantly monitored by the 3rd umpire. It could even be relayed to “The Big Screen” for spectators to see? I suppose the argument against this could be it could cause a tactical change in captains, who would be able to see whether the light was decreasing (but – they’ve got eyes, they can see the bloody light anyway).

Post your thoughts if you have any.

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