Make use of technology

Indian cricketers argue with the umpire after an unsuccessful appeal for caught behind against England’s Jonathan Trott during the penultimate day of the fourth Test in Nagpur.-K.R. DEEPAK

The India versus England Test series was consistently umpired, the lack of DRS was rarely noticed and it appeared that the two teams finished with few issues that could not be resolved in honest debate, writes Ted Corbett.

To review or not to review is the question of the era. The Board of Control for Cricket in India will have nothing to do with the red carpet, Snicko, third umpires or any of their accompanying devices and on the fourth day of the fourth Test that caused M. S. Dhoni to shout at an umpire and then at Jonathan Trott, the England batsman on his way to a century.

Trott had not walked after — if you believe the gospel according to Dhoni — edging the ball into his wicket-keeping gloves and being given not out by the umpire.

Dhoni’s argument, forcibly expressed, was that Trott surely knew he had hit the ball and should do what all honest folk do; walk off. Trott’s opposing view, as politely expressed as can be expected from an angry South African , was that it was his policy to obey the umpire and that may be Dhoni would be well advised to stick to the same line of reasoning.

My feeling is that in the end the Indian hierarchy will have to join the rest of the world and accept that it is unfair on umpires to follow the old ways. Television is not going to abandon the replay which gives a clear idea of whether the finger should be raised and it is grossly unfair for an umpire to wake from his afternoon nap, snatch at the first decision he can find and get it wrong.

I exaggerate of course but long before he can doze off again, the whole world will have seen that the batsman should be out — or perhaps not — and expose his lack of knowledge, understanding of the Laws or his lack of sleep.

I acknowledge that the technology being used at the moment is not perfect — although it is pretty good and certainly better than a hot, tired umpire — and if the Indian authorities are waiting for it to be developed further, fair enough.

Oddly, to that point the series was consistently umpired, the lack of DRS was rarely noticed and it appeared that the two teams finished with few issues that could not be resolved in honest debate.

Meanwhile fierce debate will revert to the two selection committee rooms. I hear that there are fewer formal meetings than there used to be. England’s three selectors always had dinner before getting down to serious discussion which may account for some of the stranger selection 30 or 40 years ago.

They once — ahead of the 1950-1 tour of Australia — decided that Australian batsmen could not play off-spin and finished by including three offies in the party of 17. Was a bottle of decent port part of that discussion? Who knows, but England lost the series, partly because they included a fastish bowler who was better at after-dinner speeches than producing yorkers.

England’s team pickers face a difficult time ahead. They have to choose the right fast bowlers for each Test at home and a balanced new ball attack for tours where pitches may vary. They have had so much success from Monty Panesar on this trip — 17 wickets in three Tests — and it seems essential for him and Graeme Swann to tour together.

The batting problems involving too many good young Yorkshire batsmen will be sorted out by asking Geoff Boycott. “Ah, er, Boycs, can you tell us if we should take Jonny Bairstow or Joe Cool — I mean Joe Whatsit — that’s right, Joe Root — to Australia next autumn? Or is there anyone else at Headingley who might be better?”

Boycott, with a twinkle in his eye. “Well, I averaged nearly 50 in my Test career, tha knows.”

There are also many useful young cricketers all over the county scene at the moment and there will be arguments whoever is chosen. Keeping James Anderson fit, getting Stuart Broad back to his highest confidence and fitness and looking after the towering Steven Finn can be left to the medical staff but it is important not to overwork such stars or to forget that slightly slower, more thoughtful, bowlers like Tim Bresnan will be better suited to New Zealand than India.

I would not seek a place among the Indian selectors if the fee were £1,000 an hour.

They need at least one opening bat and probably two, a middle order player with stickability, an all-rounder, a replacement for Zaheer Khan and they ought to be looking out for the next spin bowler. They have three or four but have they made a deep impression in this series? I think not.

There is also the question of the captaincy and the renewal of coach Duncan Fletcher’s contract. In the panic that followed successive defeats in Mumbai and Kolkata the agreement was that both must go.

I would agree but only if there were ready-made replacements to hand. As usual applicants of a good standard are hard to find. Those searching for a manager will discover a list of the usual suspects — although Andy Flower will wait before a move anywhere — and as for the captain there are only headaches to be gained in a search for Dhoni’s successor.

Wait for a while and think again. Patience will bring its own reward even in the hurly burly of international sport.