Umpires to be wired at Champions Trophy

Agence France Presse

London, May 18:

Umpires wearing ear-pieces and no-balls being called by the third umpire are two of the innovations set to be trialled by the ICC at their Champions Trophy one-day tournament in England this September. ICC general manager David Richardson, speaking at the tournament launch here said: “For the second ICC Champions Trophy in succession we hope to be trialing various technological innovations to see if they help umpires in the decision-making process.”

“We are hoping to use the 2004 tournament to build on our testing into the use of stump microphone earpieces that began in South Africa last year. The plan is for umpires to wear an earpiece that picks up the audio from the stump microphone as the ball passes the batsman,” he said.

“The trial will enable us to assess whether the microphones position closer to the action area will provide audible assistance in instances of thin nicks,” former South Africa wicket-keeper Richardson added. He added that statistics collated over the last year showed that umpires on the ICC’s elite panel for international matches were, on average, getting 92 per cent of their decisions correct. This compared to a 94 per cent succes rate in Major League Baseball. With the controversy over the legitimacy of Muttiah Muralitharan’s action still raging following the Sri Lankan’s new world record for most Test wickets, Richardson said the ICC would use the Champions Trophy to conduct more research into slow bowling.

At the last Champions Trophy tournament, in Sri Lanka in 2002, on-field umpires were for the first time in international matches allowed to consult TV umpire about lbw decisions. But that experiment has so far not been repeated in either Test or ODI cricket. The no-ball and stump microphone trials are still subject to final approval by the ICCs chief Executives’ committee which meets in London in June.

Court rejects complaint against Akram

Lahore: A Pakistani court on Tuesday rejected a case against former cricket great Wasim Akram that he hurt religious sentiments by modeling in an Indian liquor advertisement, court officials said. Judge Musheer Rao dismissed the case and ruled that “the petitioner had no right to file such a case as he was not directly at a loss,” they said. The private petition, filed by Mohammad Fayyaz, demanded a public apology from Akram and payment of damages amounting to about $400 for allegedly posing in an Indian liquor company advertisement. The 37-year-old Akram retired in May last year after taking 414 Test and a world record 502 one-day wickets.

He along with seven international players modelled for the Indian company Royal Stag but his lawyer Chaudhry Fawwad said Akram modelled for the company’s cricket equipment and not liquor. Indias Harbhajan Singh, Australias Glen McGrath, Jonty Rhodes of South Africa, Mervyn Dillon of the West Indies, Stephen Fleming of New Zealand, Marvan Atapattu of Sri Lanka and Andy Flower of Zimbabwe had also modelled for the company. — AFP