Exposing The Batsman’s Dilemma: UDRS and Michael Clarke

Regular readers know that I haven’t been the biggest fan of the UDRS. If it were up to me, we’d stick to as little meddling with the onfield umpire’s authority. But watching its latest incarnations, I’ve been fascinated with the sheer awkwardness the system has created. First, the umpire has to cross his arms and plead for mercy if his decision has been successfully reviewed. But secondly, imagine what it does for batsmen like Michael Clarke, who refuse to walk?

In the old days — um, five years ago, say — batsmen could stay at their crease and happily wait for an umpire to make his decision if they nicked (or didn’t) a ball to a fielder. If a replay showed his guilt, the batsman wouldn’t care; after all, it’s not his job to rule on an appeal, it’s the umpire’s. Impeccable logic. Now, however, if a batsman nicks a ball, as Clarke did off Pietersen on Day4 at Adelaide, he has no choice but to walk if he hit unless he wants to take a very silly bet that Hot Spot won’t catch him out. Otherwise, he’ll be caught out on a technological display of who-dun-it, exposing his lie. By standing at the crease and risking the review, the batsman’s complicity grows somewhat more embarrassing.

Ryan Harris had a different problem the other day. He nicked the ball and was given out, but he was convinced he didn’t touch the ball with his bat. So he reviewed the decision, but the technology didn’t back him up (or rather, it was inconclusive). Now, one of the things that infuriates me in cricket, especially in this Glorious Age of Batting, is the notion that the benefit of doubt should go to a batsman. But in Harris’ case, thankfully, the benefit of the doubt went to the umpire, and he was told to head off, and rightly so. Let’s peg back these batsmen a touch or two, please?

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3 thoughts on “Exposing The Batsman’s Dilemma: UDRS and Michael Clarke

  1. golandaaz says:

    Brilliant observation…. So the UDRS actually forces a batsman to “walk” unless he wants to look like a cheat like MC did…

    Also on the 2nd point its not so much as benefit of doubt but more about “enough evidence to overturn an existing decision”.

  2. achettup says:

    A few weeks ago I stubbed a post about a similar theme, as technology improves the players are obligated to return to the true spirit of the game, but never got round to finishing it (been happening a lot that). All this talk about “not walking” being okay and different to claiming bumped catches or appealing when you know the batsman isn’t out doesn’t work because as the decisions move towards being 100% accurate, you can no longer fall back on the argument “sometimes it goes your way and other times it doesn’t, so it all evens out in the end.” The interesting question remains though, does the batsman still say “its up to the opposition to appeal and the umpire/technology to prove I’m out” or just walk himself when he’s out. Maybe its time cricket became a little stricter on players being honest if they’re going to make such a fuss about getting accurate decisions all the time.

  3. Golandaaz says:

    I have argued in the past that the root of all the umpiring issues is players’ refusal to “do the right thing”. If batsmen walked, fielders were genuine in appeals, 90% of all the noise can be eliminated. I can understand a few instances when the player genuinely does not know if it was a bump catch but most of the time deep inside players know whether they are out or not.

    When Dhoni demands better performance from the umpires; I feel like telling him first get your clan to stop pursuing an Oscar nomination.

    I too am against UDRS but more so the process of appeal-decision-challenge (player demand)-review-decision.

    I think it should be appeal-review (umpire’s discretion) -decision

    I like the technology..more so if its going to make players act up and behave. I think this is a point/observation that you make that many have missed. If I feel I can add to that, I might put up a post myself because its an aspect wort exploring and discussing

    But I think it would also be wise to punish players for feigning if they are “found out” by technology

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