Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Howzat for a Revolution as Umpires Enter Hi-Tech Age

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Howzat for a Revolution as Umpires Enter Hi-Tech Age

Article excerpt

Byline: WAYNE VEYSEY

Technology's bid to put an end to poor decisions gets a tryout in this week's Champions Trophy, reports Wayne Veysey AT SOME stage of England's Champions Trophy opener on Friday, when the ball beats the bat, slams into the wicketkeeper's gloves and the fielders scream in unison, 'Howzat?', all eyes will fix on umpire Steve Bucknor's finger.

But the West Indian will be more concerned with another part of his anatomy - his right ear and the tiny receiver which will shape his decision and herald the start of cricket's brave new world.

For the first time on an English cricket field, officials standing in seven of the 15 matches will wear an earpiece designed to improve their ability to make the split-second decisions that change matches. The device will be attached to their collar and is designed to pick up the sound from the stump microphone as the ball passes the batsman.

The trial will indicate whether the microphone can help provide the umpire with more accurate information when it comes to thin nicks to the keeper or bat-pad fielders.

The ICC's idea is for umpires to have access to the same technology available to the television companies who are covering the sport with an ever increasing number of gadgets.

The search for improved decisionmaking will not only see standing umpires wired-up to TV stump microphone technology, but also third umpires calling no balls. The no-ball trial was a success at a recent triangular-one-day tournament involving India, Australia and Pakistan.

ICC general manager David Richardson said: "In practice, it is more demanding for the third umpire, who has to look at every delivery bowled.

Where no balls have been called, there has been minimal delay between the standing umpire receiving the call from the third umpire and making his signal. …

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