Video technology has been used in the Pakistan-Australia and the South Africa-England series and for the most part it has been working quite well. As the teams become more used to it, it is going to be better utilised.
England seemed to be the ones most struggling with its use, particularly when they were in the field. They wouldn’t use reviews when they had the batsman out and then would waste them on frivolous appeals. It appears though that they have been getting better with it. They have been more systematic in their use of it like when they used it to dismiss Mark Boucher in the second Test. The strange thing was that soon after they had Dale Steyn plumb lbw and didn’t want to make use of it.
Also while they have been batting but there is more certainty about this when you are the batsman. Paul Collingwood was given out with the first ball of the fifth day of the Third Test and he used his review. Cricket betting would have been furious and up in arms has this been given. It was overturned because it was a bad decision. People talk about the umpires being embarrassed by the use of the video technology but saving him from this horrible decision saved him of embarrassment and humiliation.
It seems to be that some of the middle order batsman like to use the reviews even when there is no doubt that they are out. Mike Hussey and Michael Clarke are the main offenders as far as this is concerned. The reviews are the whole team and you shouldn’t be selfish where there is no doubt about the decision.
Sometimes if the stakes are desperate and you have nothing to lose why not go for it? This is what South Africa did with Graham Onions and the second last ball of the Third Test. There was no point in keeping the review up their sleeve so why not use it?
The same thing happened in the Second Test when South Africa was collapsing. Both AB de Villers and Graeme Smith used reviews for their lbw decisions and in both instances they blew the review – but if they hadn’t used the reviews what would they have gained from it?
The thing is that the umpire still maintains the power. If it is a 50/50 and the technology can’t overturn it one way or another, the onfield umpire’s decision stands. This is a good thing and why it has a big place in the game today.
David Wiseman writes for this blog and the Australian Open.