Former Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar has called for the abolishment of the rule of umpire’s call in the instances when a fielding team opts for a referral to overturn an LBW decision, and the ball tracking shows that the ball marginally hit the stumps.
In a video uploaded by Tendulkar on Twitter, in which the Little Master engaged in an interaction with another batting legend from the same generation, West Indies’ Brian Lara, Tendulkar, after admitting to agreeing with the ICC on the account of providing 3 referrals due to the absence of neutral umpires, said,
“One thing that i don’t agree with ICC is the DRS that they have been using for quite some time. It is the LBW decision where more than 50% of the ball has to be hitting the stumps, to be overturned, the on field umpire’s decision, if the umpire has given not out, and 50% of the ball or more is hitting the stumps, then that can be overturned, but otherwise it cannot be. I feel somebody’s unhappy on the field, the batter or the bowler. Somebody’s unhappy with the on-field decision, and that is the only reason they have gone upstairs to the third umpire. And when we go upstairs to the third umpire, let the technology take over, just like in Tennis! It’s either in or out, there’s nothing in between. The on-field referee’s decision does not come into play. So it should be like that.”
“That’s the motive of using technology in cricket. As we know technology isn’t 100% right but neither are humans,” he added.
Tendulkar, who has been at the receiving end of plenty of umpiring howlers over the course of his 24 year long International Cricketing career, uploaded the video with the caption, “What % of the ball hits the stumps doesn’t matter, if DRS shows us that the ball is hitting the stumps, it should be given out, regardless of the on-field call,” Tendulkar tweeted.
Law 36 of the laws of Cricket written by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) states that:
The striker is out LBW if all the circumstances set out in 36.1.1 to 36.1.5 apply.
36.1.1 The bowler delivers a ball, not being a No ball
36.1.2 the ball, if it is not intercepted full-pitch, pitches in line between wicket and wicket or on the off side of the striker’s wicket
36.1.3 the ball not having previously touched his/her bat, the striker intercepts the ball, either full-pitch or after pitching, with any part of his/her person
36.1.4 the point of impact, even if above the level of the bails,
either is between wicket and wicket
or, if the striker has made no genuine attempt to play the ball with the bat, is between wicket and wicket or outside the line of the off stump.
36.1.5 but for the interception, the ball would have hit the wicket.
36.2 Interception of the ball
36.2.1 In assessing points in 36.1.3, 36.1.4 and 36.1.5, only the first interception is to be considered.
36.2.2 In assessing point 36.1.3, if the ball makes contact with the striker’s person and bat simultaneously, this shall be considered as the ball having first touched the bat.
36.2.3 In assessing point 36.1.5, it is to be assumed that the path of the ball before interception would have continued after interception, irrespective of whether the ball might have pitched subsequently or not.
36.3 Off side of wicket
The off side of the striker’s wicket shall be determined by the striker’s stance at the moment the ball comes into play for that delivery.
The basic criteria for giving a leg before wicket decision needs to be the assumption of the ball hitting the wickets after hitting the batsman at any body part other than the gloves, which further validates Tendulkar’s views. However, the Little Master did not specify what is to be done about the point of impact, whether or not that is required to be treated in the same way. Plus, relying completely on technology might hinder the significance of the on-field umpires altogether. So, one method which can be adopted is; upon fulfillment of the basic criteria of the ball hitting the stumps, even if it clips the stumps, the fielding team needs to be favoured, which was Tendulkar’s point. Umpire’s call can come into play while adjudging the point of impact, so that there is something for the on-field umpires to make a call on and not entirely depend upon technology, which might not be foolproof according to some.