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Call for umpires only to use DRS

Date

Chloe Saltau, London, and Jon Tuxworth, Canberra

England captain Alastair Cook refers the decision to the third umpire after   James Anderson's appeal for the wicket of Brad Haddin.

England captain Alastair Cook refers the decision to the third umpire after James Anderson's appeal for the wicket of Brad Haddin. Photo: Getty Images

Australian vice-captain Brad Haddin believes the Decision Review System should be taken out of players' hands, leaving the discretion to check doubtful dismissals entirely with the umpires.

It is a call backed by a host of Test greats frustrated that it has failed to fulfil its main purpose of eliminating ''howlers''.

The DRS was a constant source of angst in the captivating first Ashes Test. A series of marginal calls were decided by the referral system while one diabolical decision - to reprieve Stuart Broad of a thick edge to slip - was not corrected because the Australians had used their quota of two incorrect reviews.

Australia's Brad Haddin  and James Pattinson leave the field after England won the first Ashes Test.

Australia's Brad Haddin and James Pattinson leave the field after England won the first Ashes Test. Photo: Reuters

Both teams support the DRS because it improves the number of correct decisions, but the Australians have admitted they have to use it better.

Haddin would prefer that it was not up to the players to challenge umpires' decisions.

''I personally think the umpires might as well use the reviews. I don't think they need to be in the players' hands, to be honest,'' he said.

Cricket Australia does not intend to make any official complaints to the ICC about the decisions at Trent Bridge, but said the DRS was a permanent agenda item at Cricket Committee meetings, which are attended by former Australian captain Mark Taylor and board chief executives.

''It's under continual review, as we constantly seek to improve it and ensure it's employed in all Test matches,'' a spokesman said. A major inconsistency is India's refusal to use the DRS.

Nor is CA pushing to have non-neutral umpires stand in Ashes Tests. ''We were once open to a system where the two competing teams could agree to have one umpire from each country, but this is not presently on the agenda. An Ashes series is a high-pressure occasion. We accept that umpires will make mistakes from time to time - just as players do.''

As wicketkeeper, Haddin is consulted about which decisions to refer, and said the Australians had to lift their game in that department.

''It's something we do have to look at. We weren't great at it this test match so we've got to make sure we're not going on emotion, just go on what we see.''

Former Test opener Justin Langer described the Broad decision as ''absolutely ridiculous''.

''There's no good having the technology and still having howlers, it just doesn't make sense,'' Langer said. ''The DRS was brought in to eliminate the really bad decisions, so common sense has to prevail.

''It was so obvious the umpire should have a message come through from the third umpire it was definitely out.

''There's merit in the umpires just using it, I think that's a good idea.''

Former Test quick Geoff Lawson concurred, saying the system must be tweaked so obviously incorrect decisions can be eliminated completely.

''The very reason DRS was introduced was to stop the howlers, and it hasn't done it simply because of how it's defined,'' Lawson said. ''For Broad you just needed a replay, the third umpire says, 'Yes, he smashed it and he's out.' In 20 seconds that decision would be made.''

Retired Test player Dean Jones said the system should be taken from the players' hands and used by the umpires.

He also believes a team should not lose a challenge if it is turned down through an ''umpire's call'' verdict.

''I've been saying for the last couple of years the umpires should use the DRS, and not the captains,'' he said. ''It's against the very fabric of our great game for a player to question the umpire's decision.''

Jones said Clarke must address his poor use of the system before Thursday's second Test.

England opposite Alastair Cook successfully adopts a tactic where they don't challenge unless he, the bowler and wicketkeeper agree.

''It's something we need to work out pretty quickly, and there's nothing wrong with copying the plain and simple way they do it,'' Jones said.

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