It is time cricket embraced the digital age after Voges gaffe

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When replays showed that English umpire Richard Illingworth had incorrectly no-balled Tim Southee‘s perfect delivery to Australia’s Adam Voges in the first test against New Zealand, you instantly had a horrible feeling in your stomach.

In the back of the Kiwi fans' minds, the feeling would have been that Voges was going to go on and score a big total.

It is now folklore that Voges, who was only on seven at the time, went on to make 239 - the most runs ever scored between Test dismissals.


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Voges' record-breaking performance was clearly a deciding factor in the contest that the Australians won by an innings.

It was also a case of déjà vu - as in the Australian home series, Nathan Lyon was given not out by third umpire Nigel Llong when he edged a ball to slip - despite DRS showing there was a white mark on Lyon’s bat.

That moment was decisive in the test as Australia were 118 at the time for the loss of eight wickets.

Lyon and wicket-keeper Peter Nevill went on to add another 72 runs, which proved pivotal in a very low-scoring contest.

So the main question is: do cricket officials trust the technology that is on offer?

Isn't it more than a little odd that umpires are quick to check a replay for a no-ball when a batsman is dismissed - but there is no replay when a batsman is dismissed after the umpire calls a no-ball?

What makes them so sure that their call is correct in that instance?

All it takes is for the umpires to go upstairs, check the front foot and proceed.

It is one of the easiest things the third umpire can search for.

Cricket fans around the world know about India’s resistance to the DRS system and how they take the word of the on-field officials as gospel.

Purists of the game applaud that kind of stance, but the problem with it is that there is so much pressure on them to get every decision right, there is no fallback position to the third umpire.

Granted, the DRS system needs an overhaul to fix some flaws - especially with the ball tracker reading - which seems to confuse even the most knowledgeable of fans.

The third umpire also needs to know what he is looking at in terms of the appeal.

In the Llong/Lyon case, the third umpire was looking at all the possible causes instead of the one that was right in front of his face. It was farcical in the extreme.

However, the main fact of the matter is when technology is available, it is there to be used.

Any umpiring decision is crucial in a game of cricket and every base must be covered to prevent wrong calls being made.

Nothing is foolproof, but preventable decisions like the one seen in Wellington have no place in the game.

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New Zealand cricket
Australia cricket

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