Peter Hartley says umpires should have the power of referral

Peter Hartley says he cherishes the time he spent with Sachin Tendulkar at Yorkshire Getty Images

Mumbai: Jan 8, 2012

As the debate on merits of DRS system continues, English umpire Peter Hartley feels that instead of the players it should be the umpires, who should decide if the decision needs a referral.

“I think there is a place for technology in the game. We cannot stand still. The batsmen get it wrong, the bowlers can get it wrong and the umpires can get it wrong. However, technology is needed to lessen the mistakes in the game,” he said, talking to PTI.

“The only thing I am against is the referral system that allows the players to question umpire’s decision. I would like to see it other way round. Whenever there is a close call, (as an umpire) you know it is a close call, but you are not sure. 99 percent of the time, benefit of doubt goes to the batsmen.

“In such cases, the umpire should be able to say that I’m not sure and I’m going to refer that. In such a scenario, a player can never question umpire’s decision. I think that would help solve the problems that persist now,” said Hartley, who has officiated in six ODIs and three T20s.

“The only problem I see is that umpires may refer every decision. But you won’t know unless you try it.”

Hartley, who is in the city to officiate the Ranji Trophy semi-final match between hosts Mumbai and Tamil Nadu beginning January 10, also said his suggestion could be tried in the domestic competitions.

“During the Champions Trophy (2002), umpires were allowed to do that. It has been tried in one-dayers but not in Tests.”

Like BCCI, the Englishman too is of the view that Hawk-Eye technology is not fool-proof.

“Everybody thinks the Hawk-Eye is fool-proof. It’s not. Everything is put manually down. Two balls can pitch on the same place and not bounce similarly. In Hawk-Eye, two balls pitching on the same place bounce similarly. It is a technique being sold as fool-proof. It is not fool-proof.”

Hartley, who played 232 first-class matches representing Warwickshire, Yorkshire and Hampshire, taking 683 wickets and scoring over 4,000 runs, also recollected the time when he was the team-mate of batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar at Yorkshire.

“I was fortunate to play with him. He was only 19 when he came to England. He was a very shy young boy when he came over. I think it was a good learning curve for Sachin as to how to play on different surfaces. He was very confident in what he did, in his performance, in his work ethics.

“You could tell at that time that he had an extra gift. He could work the ball a lot later than many others. He could play shots from certain position which other people could not do. Though he did not have a very great season I think he grew from that experience.”

Hartley said it was a matter of time before Sachin scores 100th ton. “It’s a big, big thing for him. It might have put a lot of pressure on him….He will get there, no doubt about it, it’s just a question of when,” he said.

The Englishman expressed surprise at India’s capitulation in England and Australia.

“At the start of the year, I thought that India would be the big test for England. It was very surprising how it turned out. The number one Test position was up for grabs and probably England wanted it more than India did. They had been preparing for it for the past two years. When they got the chance they grabbed it.

“India are a team in transition, probably some of their batsmen would retire in the next 12 months. Everybody has their shelf life. I think after the series in Australia, they will know where to go. I’m sure the Indian team will bounce back. There is depth in the team, they will be back perhaps in a year or two,” he said.