It’s far too late here in the United States to be watching cricket, but I can’t sleep. And in such a mood, Tony Grieg is not very easy to handle. As a general rule, I like Grieg; he more or less introduced me to cricket when he was part of the 1996 World Cup commentary team. He does have one major flaw: he’s unbelievably, ridiculously opinionated.
Take this flap over the URDS. Burned by a few previous incidents, India said they didn’t want it this Test series, even though Sri Lanka, the home team, did. Now, we can disagree about this (and we have; see here). But I think it’s ridiculous to make assertions about which team made the right decision based on one successful appeal within the first half-hour on the first day in the First Test. That is, however, precisely what Grieg just did, after A. Mithun gave a good shout for LBW against T. Dilshan. “That would have been one for India,” Grieg said. “Maybe they made the wrong decision.” (Maybe, but the sample here is very, very small.)
He then went on to say that the “ICC needed to get its act together,” and allow home teams to choose the URDS if they wanted. Again: ridiculous. Yes, some teams haven’t figured out the URDS, but it may just be that captains, already burdened with a long array of choices, do not want to confront another one (should we appeal the umpire’s decision? Where did that ball land? Should we save them?). Besides, it’s not as if the URDS is perfect; there have been more than a few quibbles that batsmen can be found both in and out on the same ball depending on how inconclusive TV replays can be.
And finally: cricket home teams have curators, audience, the ability to quickly call in substitutes — why on earth would you want to give them something more?