Koertzen, Harper back umpire referral system

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/i/icclogo.jpg' class='caption'> The ICC's much-criticised Umpire Referral System has got the backing of two of its most senior officials, Daryl Harper and Rudi Koertzen.

Updated: February 18, 2009 08:39 IST
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The ICC's much-criticised Umpire Referral System has got the backing of two of its most senior officials, Daryl Harper and Rudi Koertzen, both of whom feel that the under-trial system has helped cut down mistakes.

Several current and former players have rubbished the system, which allows players two unsuccessful appeals, against the on-field umpires' decisions.

Critics say it undermines the on-field officials' authority but Harper and Koertzen beg to differ.

"The objective of the review system is to eliminate the obvious errors. Inevitably there will still be decisions that people will argue are wrong but that is not really the point of the system.

"Statistics from the trial so far show the system is getting rid of mistakes," Koertzen was quoted as saying by 'The Sydney Morning Herald'.

"More and more in cricket, umpires trust each other and work together as a team. Players are generally sympathetic and understanding about getting the decisions correct.

"They know that is our primary goal, and if that means we have to go back and change our own decision with the help of replays occasionally, then I for one am prepared to do that," he added.

Harper echoed the view and ridiculed suggestions that the system was causing "unnecessary stoppages".

"This system gives everyone a second chance to get appeals answered correctly when umpires may have erred - this is done with more time and with the help of a limited range of technology to review incidents.

"The amount of time taken depends on the specific decision and on the amount of information that must be reviewed to get the full picture," said Harper.

"No one knows how clear or relevant a piece of footage will be to the incident until the replay is shown. The average time taken so far has been less than two minutes and often a lot less than that," he explained.

The system would be used during the upcoming Test series between Australia and South Africa and Harper said as long as it helps keep the game error-free, there was no case for opposing it.

"The umpires are happy if, at the end of each day, the decisions made are correct and players can enjoy a fair environment in which to compete against each other. The whole trial is a chance to try a more consultative approach in cases where incorrect decisions may have been made."

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