England and Wales Cricket Board find early success with video instant replay

By Kevin Hilton

SVG Europe correspondent

Football is still putting off any decision on video replays but cricket appears to be pulling the technology ever closer, with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) running a trial of an extended version of the TV umpire during the 2007 Friends Provident Trophy tournament.

Under new playing conditions for the competition the decision of an on-field umpire can be queried and referred to the third umpire, who will review the action on a video replay. If the decision is adjudged to be wrong it can be overturned. Only the captain of the team fielding and the batsman deemed to be dismissed may make such an appeal. Each team is permitted two unsuccessful appeals in each innings.

The ECB’s head of operations for first-class cricket, Alan Fordham, said before the start of the season: “We are delighted to be undertaking this exciting trail as we are committed to innovation. While we acknowledge the high standard of umpiring in our domestic game we believe that the opportunity to explore ways that we can achieve even more correct decisions must be taken and this is the aim of the trial.”

The first ever referral to a video umpire was made on Sunday during the match between Sussex and Somerset. Sussex’s captain, Chris Adams, was declared out leg-before-wicket (lbw, when a ball that would have otherwise hit the stumps hits the batsman’s leg-pads).

Adams was not happy about the decision of on-pitch umpire Jeremy Lloyds but was about to walk to the pavilion when he remembered he could appeal. Third umpire Barrie Leadbeater reviewed the video footage and concurred with Lloyds. Adams was reportedly still unhappy but left the crease.

A second referral was made later; Sussex bowler Mustaq Ahmed thought he had caught Somerset’s Marcus Trescothick lbw but Umpire Lloyds decided otherwise. On appeal the video umpire agreed with his on-field colleague once again. Sussex won the match by 38 runs.