New Delhi, March 22 (IANS) Twenty four years after it was first introduced in cricket matches, the third umpire system has seen a few changes during the ongoing World Twenty20.
Introduced in Test cricket during the Indian team’s tour of South Africa in 1992, it was a brainchild of former Sri Lankan cricketer Mahinda Wijesinghe. The third umpire was first introduced in Test cricket in 1992 at Kingsmead in Durban.
But the third umpire was hiterto a mute observer, silently putting forth his verdict through the big screen in the stadium after watching several replays from different angles.
But at this year’s World T20, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has introduced the practice of allowing a third umpire to provide a detailed commentary as he looks at replays from different angles before delivering the final verdict. It also allows television viewers to hear the conversation between the third umpire and on-field umpires.
This new practice has definitely added to the overall viewer experience as the television audience is now privy to an aspect of the game that was earlier out of bounds earlier.
Whenever a decision is referred to the thrid umpire by signals from an on-field official, this individual gets access to instant replays to make his decision. The instant replays are also available to the television and internet viewers.
However, the crowd inside the stadium does not get to witness it. Because in most of cases, third umpire decisions end up in a tight gap between out and not out. A live crowd will make their own conclusions based on the replay shown and may resort to unruly behaviour if the third umpire’s decision is not to their liking. However, the third umpire is required to follow guidelines which may not be known by the crowd.
(Ajeyo Basu can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)