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February - March 2004

India Sport Scene

Is the ICC Really Playing Cricket?

by Dr. C P Dalvi

Cricket is not just a game. It symbolizes honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, team spirit, and above all fairness. That is why anything unfair makes one say 'It is not cricket'. The unfair aberrations in the game could be easily and promptly corrected by the I.C.C. if it has the will to do so. At the moment it appears to be like a sleeping Buddha. Following simple measures require to be taken.

Both umpires should not only be neutral but also competent. Bucknor, Shepherd and Venkatraghavan were the best three umpires in the past. However, ageing, and excessive workload (due to running world over by the small group of elite umpires appointed by the I.C.C.) have reduced them to mediocrity. Their numbers of blunderous decisions are simply unacceptable. Ganguly should be congratulated for showing the courage to call a spade a spade in case of Bucknor even when he knew that Bucknor was going to officiate in seven of the coming one day internationals. But for very poor umpiring by Bucknor, India would have easily won the forth test match against Australia before the tea time. For a batsman Cricket could be a one ball game. Loss of concentration for just one ball could cost him his wicket. However, in case of umpires loss of concentration could be rectified by the use of modern technology and the player or the team need not suffer. The Elite Panel should be enlarged immediately by inducting many new good umpires. Each umpire should be assessed for his performance every year before giving him extension. Utterly useless umpires like Mr. Ashok D'Silva should be just banished without any delay.

The umpires should be given more powers to control discipline on the field of . Play. The field umpires should take maximum help of the T.V. Umpire to avoid mistakes. Modern technology makes it easy to know where a ball was pitched, whether it would have hit the stumps if it had not been intercepted by pads of the batsman and whether the batsman's bat had touched a particular delivery. Cricket is the livelihood of all professional cricketers. Bad decisions could easily ruin their careers. It is therefore very important that steps by I.C.C. in the right directions could save cricket and cricketers from ruin due to faulty decisions.

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