When the umpire can play god

Last Updated: Tue, Mar 15, 2011 11:05 hrs

Here's world cricket's biggest nightmare scenario. All thanks to the UDRS.

It's the world cup final with India and Pakistan. Last ball. India needs one wicket to win. Pakistan needs two runs. The ball hits the pads and goes a fair distance in which time the batsmen run a frenetic two.

India appeals for the LBW. (Actually it doesn't matter what the decision is, for both teams have a review left and can use it.) The third umpire checks. Hawk-eye shows that the ball is clearly hitting the stumps, but since the distance is more than 2.5 metres, the decision is thrown back to the umpire.

UDRS is confusing: Yuvraj Singh

Now at this stage the umpire is god. He can either give the batsman out or declare him not out adding two runs to the batting team's score. He can award the match in India's favour. He can award the match in Pakistan's favour.

He can hand the world cup to India. He can hand it to Pakistan.

What will he do?

Will the pressure get to him? (He is after all a human being)

Will some inherent bias cloud his decision?

Will he hand it to India for the simple reason that he is standing on Indian soil and wants to get out of the country in one piece?

A way of testing any process is to imagine a worst case scenario.

Here, the ICC has goofed up on one count. On the field, let the umpire be boss. But once it goes for a review, let the third umpire decide it. Simple. What's the point in hitting the decision making authority like a tennis ball?

UDRS is a joke in its present form: Latif

Now you can well argue that even without UDRS, he had the power of god anyway. But an umpire has to make a split-second decision in the heat of the moment and he does that easily.

Now with UDRS, he has to make a cold decision with much more time to think and get confused and cope with an unwanted information overload.

Getting technology to confuse you even more, courtesy ICC.

The most exciting team

Make way for the most exciting team of the tournament. England. Four matches. Four tight

finishes. All super exciting. Netherlands put up 292 on the board and England chased it in the closing overs of the match. The one with India was a wild pendulum which kept swinging both ways till it landed in the middle for a perfect tie.

With Ireland, we got the world cup's greatest run chase and the fastest century in a match that lasted till the very end.

With South Africa, another brilliant choke. When England collapsed to 171, a lot of fans must have seen their cup dreams end in Ashes. But to see off South Africa from 124/3 to 165 all down is a truly inspiring performance.

As of now, an India-England final looks mouth-watering. (All the more so because they have unfinished business after the tie.)

And the Proteas? They are finding more innovative ways to choke.

One commentator said that with South Africa getting the choke out of the way so early, they might actually play well in the knockout stages!

New strategy?

A good old fashioned chase

One was transported to the 1980s during the India-Ireland match with a good old-fashioned 220-type chase. The pitch was not easy to bat on and offered something for both seamers and spinners. It was a good hard-fought chase.

Of course, till Yusuf Pathan came to the crease. He immediately stopped the eighties flashback and fast forwarded the match and crowd to 2011 with three towering sixes and a couple of boundaries, overshadowing man-on-of the match Yuvraj Singh.

Years back the captain and vice-captain (Yuvi at that time) would bail India out of the tightest of situations regularly. Then MS Dhoni fell from the ICC No. 1 ODI batsman rankings and Yuvi totally lost form. It was great to see the two in action for a match-winning fifth wicket
partnership. That was the biggest plus of the match.

More columns by Sunil Rajguru

All debate of the fifth bowler should end. That's Yuvi. The fourth bowler conundrum continues though and Piyush Chawla may be axed.


In Group B everyone can beat everyone.

A look at one such results sequence...

India beat Bangladesh. Bangladesh beat Ireland. Ireland beat England. England beat South

Africa. South Africa beat West Indies. West Indies beat Netherlands.


The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger.