A Problem With Hawkeye

Some among the technology futurists believe that the ICC should include Hawkeye in the umpire review system. I’m not one of them, for two reasons: 1. the usual, ol’ fashioned creed that readers now know by heart, and 2. of all the ways batsmen can get out, LBW is one of the more mysterious. This is a law that basically requires umpires to predict the future, relying on a) where the ball pitched; b) height at impact; c) where impact occurs vis-a-vis the stumps. But it’s also based on an important value: batsmen bat, they don’t pad.

So when Ricky Ponting does not play a shot against Mohammad Asif, I think R. Koertzen hits the mark when he raises the Slow Finger Of Death, even though Hawkeye later reveals the ball would miss the stumps. I’m not saying all batsmen who get hit on the pad for not playing a shot deserve to get out (though that would be a fine rule). But that ball looked close enough (Ponting’s typical lunge to the right didn’t help) and it showed that it was going to miss leg stump, which really makes it a problem for me (what kind of batsman pads up to a ball that’s swinging in enough to go past his leg stump?).

I just think certain LBWs can rely on more leeway, and padding up is one of them. It would have been a real shame if Hawkeye were used and restored Ponting’s wicket — not just because I hate Ricky Ponting (in a sort of, You’re one of the greatest batsmen of all time, resentful way), but because, in this case, he deserved the duck he got.

8 thoughts on “A Problem With Hawkeye

  1. Russ says:

    DB, well put. Umpire discretion almost always seems to favour a sort of justice-be-done approach. If a batsman plays forward, but misses the ball by a little, they are normally reserved the benefit of any doubt. But be they beaten entirely, playing back, or not playing at all…

    It probably isn’t possible to write into the rules that “benefit of the doubt shall be dependent on whether the batsman played a shit shot”, but it probably should be.

  2. Like Ian Chappell would say, kicking the ball away in that way with impunity is not “batting”!

    • beefy says:

      This article misses the point by miles. The existing protocol (for people who have been bothered to watch closely) allows for the TMO (third match official) reviewing the decision leeway to decide whether or not the batsman is playing a shot. In this way the ICC combine the science – pitching – imterception, and whether or not the ball hits the stumps with the human and subjective was the batsman playing a shot. Problem solved.

      • duckingbeamers says:


        Thanks for the comment (but not the snarkiness). Let’s just talk about this particular case: if Hawkeye had been used, the third umpire would have seen that the ball was missing the stumps in Hawkeye’s view. I’m not sure any umpire, seeing that projection, would feel comfortable with not reversing the onfield umpire’s call. He would give the man a reprieve.

        Also, can you send me a link that states this mysterious protocol you speak of? Would love to read it.

      • duckingbeamers says:

        Beefy —

        I just found this outline of the umpire review system form the ICC. http://static.icc-cricket.yahoo.net/ugc/documents/DOC_39EFCA4C7A2F335D543EF937F162F837_1257924398353_687.pdf

        It doesn’t mention that the third umpire is allowed to look at whether or not a batsman was playing a shot. Sorry, but you’re wrong.

        Enjoy the summer!

  3. Mahek says:

    The only flaw in your logic is Hawkeye was brought in especially because batsmen got away with what Ponting was given out for. Revisit footage from his prime and you’ll see the number of times he shouldered arms to a ball that would’ve gone on to hit the stumps, only for the umpire to turn down the appeal because Ponting was on the front foot.

    • duckingbeamers says:

      Mahek — Thanks for the comment. I’ll have to revisit the old video vault to see if what you say is true. But in this case at least, Ponting was given out — and I’m not sure Hawkeye would have corrected that.

      • Mahek says:

        I don’t think the system says anything about reviewing whether a batsman offered a shot, and you did provide a link to validate it. But it could even mean that the third umpire is not prohibited from doing it, right?

        This can be handled with common sense as it’s intuitive that umpires should be able to check whether the batsman has offered a stroke or not.

        Another interesting situation is when a player is given out LBW when the ball has taken the inside edge of his bat. What if the fielder catches the ball on the full? Is the batsman out caught? Similarly, what if a batsman is given out caught when he hasn’t nicked the ball but the replays showed he was LBW?

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