Tried to get all the cricketers’ names in the headline (SEO-friendly website, don’t you know). The catching referrals clearly need some revision, and not just because Ricky Ponting’s head is likely to explode. Sure, many Indian fans will note Ponting deserves little to no sympathy after the fraught Sydney Test, but things are still a mess.
To review: Ravi Bopara miscues a pull to Nathan Hauritz, who looks like he takes the catch practically next to Rudi Koertzen. Bopara stands his ground and, predictably, the cameras are no help. Ponting’s angry, but a little bit of him resolves to adopt the tactic, so when Phil Hughes edges one to Andrew Strauss, he holds the line, knowing that regardless what anyone saw in 3-D mode on the grass, those silly cameras are likely only to sow doubt. And that’s what they did:
Some conclusions: first, cameras and technology are clearly not the cure-all many believe. The umpire referral system will be in place soon, but I’m not sure it’ll clear things at all (as several Test series have already shown). Worse, players now understand they can manipulate technology to see what they want to see. Since the standard set is so strict — beyond any doubt whatsoever — they know the camera replays will save their skins even though they don’t deserve to be. Doubt, rather than the truth, becomes the decider.
Second, Ponting — oh, I hate to say this — has a point. Why refer Bopara’s catch and not Hughes, when, if anything, Bopara’s was nearer to you? Ponting doesn’t deserve much credit for this little piece of logic, though: he wanted a system wherein fielders decided any dispute, but that failed largely because no opposition team trusts the Australians (this may have something to do with it). Besides, it didn’t make much sense: umpires should make decisions, not players.