Monday, 13 June 2016

Graham Ford suggests technology use for front-foot no-balls

On a day when Sri Lanka was on the receiving end of an incorrect umpiring decision where Nuwan Pradeep was denied Alex Hales's wicket, Graham Ford, the Sri Lankan coach, suggested that front-foot no-ball calls should be made using technology. In the 46th over of England's innings on the fourth day of the Lord's Test, umpire Rod Tucker adjudged that the bowler overstepped and denied Pradeep of the wicket. Replays of
which, however, showed that the bowler had some part of his foot behind the line. This came after Sri Lanka were at the receiving end of a number of decisions that went against them all series, sparked ire from several quarters. "I guess the ICC are going to have to look at it," Ford said on Sunday (June 12). "It just seems strange that with the technology that is available you can get a line call wrong. The line doesn't move, and surely we can get to a point where that problem can be taken out of cricket. You'd think the best solution would be for the umpires to worry about what's going on down the other end and for technology to look after the line call.

"Umpiring is a ridiculously hard job anyway," Ford said. "Take one bit of pressure and one little problem away from them. The eye specialists all tell you that it's very difficult to be focusing on something a metre away and then focus on something 22 yards away within a split second. Maybe take that problem away from them and let them get on with the decision-making."

A similar incident occurred in Durham on the third day of the Test at Chester-le-Street where Steve Finn's foot seemed to be beyond the line for a delivery that dismissed Kaushal Silva in the second innings. The umpire's called for a re-check, but adjudged the batsman out. The Sri Lankan management felt that they were handed the raw end of the deal.

"There was a very tight no-ball incident in Durham," Ford said. "On our little TV in the dressing room, it looked as though it was a no-ball. We thought that one of our batsmen had been harshly dealt with. When we went across to the match referee, they showed us on their high definition screen that there was actually something behind the line. That was a legal delivery. Today when we went to see the match referee, this was more thinking whether we had the wrong picture again on our TV screen, and to go across and confirm."

While Ford said Sri Lanka came to terms with the decision, he confirmed that the team management approached Andy Pycroft, the match referee, for the second time in the series.

In a bid to show support to their players during a tough phase after Hales's reprieve, the national flag was unfurled from the Sri Lankan dressing room in the Lord's balcony. However, the flag was asked to be brought down after the MCC stated that no flags or banners were permitted at Lord's. While Ford acknowledged and apologised for the error, he added that it wasn't one they took offence to.

"At that stage, I thought the boys were fighting really hard out there and showing a lot of character, but a few things hadn't gone their way. Putting the flag out was to show a bit of support from the dressing room, try and boost the morale and let them know we're really supporting them. That was the feeling from our lads. We then found out that's not the done thing, and had to take it down. I fully understand that, and it's not an issue at all," he said.

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