Referral is a term in cricket that denotes a request for additional verification of the decision made by the umpires. Both the batting side and the team in the field have the right to challenge the referee’s decision if they consider it incorrect. In this case, the decision of the request submitted for consideration takes place on the spot by involving a third judge within the established time. Referral can be initiated either at the discretion of the captain/batsman or within the Umpire Decision Review System. According to the rules, each team has the opportunity to view the interpretation of the situation no more than twice per inning. Today, the system is welcomed by judges and players due to the objective decision of the most difficult judicial tasks.
The new referral system (including the use of video replays) has received recognition, despite criticism that, in the end, the judges may finally lose their authority on and off the field. However, the referees unexpectedly supported referral, trusting third judges and computer technologies.
What is the essence of the new system? There is an additional third referee on the field who can view all the cameras that take pictures from four angles. Thanks to this, you can get a complete picture of what is happening in its digital version. Perhaps, for tennis fans, the parallel with the “hawk eye” system, which is successfully used at all matches of the ATP category, will become much clearer.
The need for computer assistance in cricket is due to the LBW (Leg before wicket) rule: after the bowler serves the ball, the batsman has the right to touch the projectile only with the bat. In this regard, the situation in which the ball touches any other part of the body of the batting player (often the leg) leads to a violation of the rules – a change in the trajectory of the ball. It will not be difficult for a field judge to notice this moment, but everything changes dramatically at the speed of the projectile served by an elite bowler (about 160 km/h). In this case, computer viewing allows you to evaluate what is happening on the field and even create a kind of virtual perspective of the ball movement.
It is also worth noting that Hawk-Eye was used in cricket for the first time, but the decision on its regular use was not immediately followed. This was due to the peculiarities of the rules of cricket, which do not interpret the LBW situation unambiguously. If in the same tennis, there are only two options for the development of the situation “out” and “field“, then in cricket, the umpire has the opportunity to refrain from his own decision, evaluate it as “controversial”. As a result, attempts to appeal to referral decisions began in 2006 and lasted until 2009, when the International Cricket Council (ICC) agreed with it.
The new system was finally tested at the Test meeting of India against Sri Lanka in 2008. The Indian team evaluated the effectiveness of the computer replay even though it was defeated. This match was the official debut of the new system in the ICC. However, referral proved its maximum effectiveness in the framework of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, after which all disputes were concluded. In particular, thanks to the additional viewing in the semi-final match India – Pakistan, it was possible to avoid a plurality of opinions. Then the referral was resorted to as part of ODI matches during England’s tour of Australia in 2011.
At the moment, the system is used in most matches of the highest category, where it successfully demonstrates itself.