Captains, umpires reach deal on disputed catches

Disputed catches won’t be referred to the third umpire in Thursday’s first Ashes Test unless absolutely necessary.

Australia captain Ricky Ponting and England skipper Michael Vaughan reached an agreement on Wednesday on the issue of contentious catches at a meeting with umpires Rudi Koertzen of South Africa and Aleem Dar of Pakistan, and match referee Ranjan Madugalle.

Ponting wanted to put in place a gentleman’s agreement whereby a batsman would take the word of the fielder if he claimed to be certain he took a catch. Vaughan wanted the decision left to the umpire.

The captains reached some middle ground, with all parties agreeing that the on-field umpires would make a decision if a fielder claimed to have caught the ball.

“What I want to do is take that decision out of the third umpire’s hands,” Ponting said.

“I think the technology that is being used just hasn’t been good enough to determine whether it’s been out or not out.

“I made very clear to the umpires in [the meeting] then, if this is the way we’re going to play and if this is the way we’re going to go about it, then it’s a big responsibility of yours, for the sake of the game, for you to make the decision on the field,” Ponting added. “They both said, ‘yes we’ll make a decision.”’

In rare instances where neither on-field umpire sees the disputed catch, they will defer to the third umpire.

Vaughan said he had wanted to give the umpires the chance to do their job.

“If one of the players says, ‘I’m not too sure,’ the umpires generally say it’s not out, it hasn’t really been sent to the third umpire,” Vaughan said.

“That’s the way that we think it should continue, to allow the umpire the option to give you out or not out.”

England’s Mark Benson will act as TV umpire for the first Test.
- Sapa-AP

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