Marais Erasmus and Simon Fry will be the two men taking turns in the TV umpire’s chair during the forthcoming series and getting to grips with the system. They will see a live feed of each delivery, followed 1.5 seconds later by a shot of the front foot landing; if after consulting replays it is determined a no-ball has been bowled, the third umpire will send a signal to a “pager watch”, similar to the kind used in football’s goal-line technology to tell a referee if the ball has crossed the line.
With the third umpire also having to oversee the DRS and help adjudicate on a variety of other issues including run-outs, stumpings and whether a catch has carried, sometimes led by the view of the on-field umpires, Griffith said there was an increasing likelihood that the position would become a distinct one. “We’ve been thinking about that anyway, we’ve been looking at the feasibility and taking it towards specialist umpire anyway,” he said. “This may change the third umpire but we were always heading in that direction.”
Along with how the new system affects the third umpire’s job, Griffith and his team will be looking at whether the delay in calling no-balls has an impact on the game itself. Both teams have been told that the on-field umpires will not be calling no-balls themselves and are happy to see how the experiment goes. Slowing the game down is a potential side effect, although it could also help save time by cutting out the process of checking for the no-ball after a dismissal.
“We want to see what sort of timings it is, the flow of the game, because we don’t want to affect the game adversely,” Griffith said. “So those are the things we’re looking at, the flow of the game, what extra work, what limitations does it put on the third umpire, if any, what the teams think about it, how it affects the broadcast… To understand if what we’re trying to do is fit for purpose.”
From here, after the five ODIs in England and Wales, Griffith will collect feedback from all those involved in the trial and then present the findings to the ICC’s cricket committee, which will look at whether it could be rolled out in all international competition.
Asked whether he thought the system would be beneficial, Griffith said: “Yes, from what we have seen. In game, there will be things thrown at you that you probably didn’t think of, or hadn’t gone through, or different situations present themselves. But from what we’ve seen, to get to this stage, we’re happy that the technology works and it is worthwhile to go forwards.” (Courtesy Cricinfo)