Sydney: Australian skipper Ricky Ponting has branded the TV referral system as ‘a blight on the game’ after being denied what he considered was a fair catch in the drawn first Test of the Ashes series.
The bone of contention was the decision to give England double centurion Alastair Cook not-out after being caught by Ponting.
Cook’s chipped shot, on 209, off the bowling of Xavier Doherty ended up in the hands of Ponting, who dived forward at short mid-wicket to take the catch, but both the batsman and the umpires were not convinced.
The decision was referred to the third umpire, but the TV replays were not conclusive and the decision was tossed back to the on-field umpires who decided that the batsman could not be given out.
“I do get a little bit annoyed with it because I actually think it is a blight on the game, trusting in technology which is not good enough. I could have got that ball and tossed it up straight away and no-one would have asked a question of it,” a sports website quoted Ponting, as saying.
“I said to the umpire straight away that I was pretty sure I caught the ball. That was about all I could do. Quite a few of the boys ran to me straight away and said, ‘You caught it’. I wanted to see how they got to the not out decision.”
“What they said to me was that it wasn’t 100 per cent clear on the replays, they found it hard to give it out,” he added.
The Australian captain has long campaigned for the fieldsman’s word to be trusted in such incidents, but has failed to get support from the captains of other Test nations.
“As soon as they’re referred, you pretty much know what the end result is going to be, which is why six or seven years ago when I took over the captaincy job I pleaded with every opposition captain to take it out of the referrals and third umpire’s hands,” Ponting said.
“I didn’t get much support from other captains for that. It’s probably a bit late now [to expect it from opposition teams]. If I was going to do it I should have done it at the start of the series. I think it’s up to the umpires now, they’ve set that standard.”
“They just have to be consistent right the way through the series. It’s not that long ago in a Test match at Lord’s where a pretty obvious one went the other way, sometimes you’ve got to take the good with the bad. It just highlights that the technology isn’t what it needs to be if we’re talking about Ashes Test matches,” he added.