David Shepherd - Shep's Viewpoint

The legendary umpire from Gloucestershire shares his standpoint on the Umpire Decision Review System

Sunday, June 22, 2021
An Umpire's ego will be hurt

The newly introduced Umpire Decision Review System is the talking point in the cricketing fraternity today and we got the best and most respected umpire in the business, David Shepherd to share his opinions on the new regulations in Test cricket that are effectual starting July 23.

I remember they were taking about it and the umpires were initially hesitant. The objective of every decision is to get the right one. If technology or anything for that matter helps in decision-making, it is very important and good for the sport.

The biggest flaw of the Umpire Decision Review System is the amount of time that will be wasted. It is worth an experiment but you know sometimes things are extremely good in theory but appalling when practiced.

The hawk-eye is not a good enough tool to judge LBW decisions. It is good to tell an umpire where the ball has pitched (outside the line or not) but it cannot judge the height of the ball, the wear and tear of the pitch, hardness of the ball and so on/

These drastic measures have surely been taken because of the controversial Sydney Test. They tell me that the Indians were ready to pack their bags and leave Australia and this happenstance has caused for the ICC to stand up and take such precautions. Errors are a part of the sport and will be made in the future as well. However, you can be rest assured that we (umpires) get at least 96% of the decisions right.

© Getty Images
Shepherd after standing in his last one-day international in 2005

The problem with standardising equipments is the high cost. Also, these things (equipments) are not available worldwide. The ICC may have to hold talks with individual cricket boards and get this organised so that fair decisions are made in all parts of the world and not just in a few that may be able to afford these equipments.

It will take us (umpires) time to get acclimatised with these new procedures – especially whenever we travel to another country.

I suppose these regulations will hurt the egos of umpires. It will affect our (umpires) status and respect since one wrong decision now will put us under the scanner immediately. It might become very hard to retain the respect of players and teams if we make any blunders now because the TV umpire can step in any give the right verdict, though not at all times.

Neutral third umpires?

The role of the TV umpire (Third Umpire) is going to become all the more prominent from here on. His workload may be as taxing as that of on-field umpires and that in my opinion, is not good for the sport. It is currently hard to predict if the three unsuccessful appeals ruling is going to help; we shall find out only when it comes to life on July 23.

I feel that the third umpire (TV umpire) might have to be from a neutral nationality henceforth since his role has become extremely important. I can clearly foresee it happening in the near future.

As told to - Sai Mohan