Re­view this! Third um­pire mustn’t be left OUT

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

IT’S LONG been a bug­bear of mine and so I ask your for­give­ness that I am re­peat­ing my­self, but fans who go to cricket grounds in this coun­try re­ally de­serve bet­ter treat­ment, be it from Cricket South Africa (CSA) or the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil (ICC).

Last Sun­day at the Wan­der­ers, a rea­son­ably packed sta­dium got to see a re­ally junk game of cricket. Sadly, the pitch just wasn’t what it should have been. There’ll be plenty of peo­ple, in­clud­ing some of my col­leagues, who will point out that adapt­ing to such a pitch is key for in­ter­na­tional crick­eters. And they’re right. But T20 cricket is en­ter­tain­ment and en­ter­tain­ment in the short­est for­mat is see­ing fours and sixes be­ing struck by the boat­load. That sur­face leaned too heav­ily against that hap­pen­ing and it made for an ugly spec­ta­cle, re­gard­less of the last cou­ple of overs be­ing dra­matic.

But what re­ally pissed me off last Sun­day, was the fact that so many peo­ple, hav­ing parted with a lot of money to come and watch the cricket, then never got the full bang for their buck in terms of what they could watch on the big screen.

The ICC match ref­eree, Richie Richard­son, ap­par­ently for­bid the show­ing of the third um­pire de­ci­sions on the big screen. Now, given that we’re in the 21st cen­tury and cricket is part of the en­ter­tain­ment busi­ness, it is sim­ply ridicu­lous that he has that power. And if he had tried it in Aus­tralia, New Zealand or Eng­land he’d have been told where to get off. In those coun­tries the third um­pire de­ci­sions are shown live on the big screens. It’s part of the spec­ta­cle, it adds to at­mos­phere for TV.

There’s no valid rea­son for cen­sor­ing those broad­casts. Peo­ple who’ve paid money and made the ef­fort to come to the sta­di­ums de­serve to watch the whole game – which in­cludes third um­pire de­ci­sions be­ing shown live on the big screen.

Tick­ets for the ‘Pink ODI’ in a lit­tle more than a week’s time cost be­tween R70 and R210. If you’re us­ing a ‘Park and ride’ fa­cil­ity you can add an ex­tra R80 to your costs and that’s be­fore you’ve even got­ten into the Wan­der­ers, where food and drink will set you back about R100.

As a pay­ing cus­tomer you de­serve to see ev­ery­thing the peo­ple who’ve cho­sen not to buy a ticket and to sit on their couches and watch the game on TV get to see. It’s time the ICC and CSA woke up to that fact.

If you re­ally think about it, is it worth it?

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