England's Matt Prior defends umpires following Ashes Test criticism

Matt Prior insists umpires do a "fantastic job" under intense scrutiny despite criticism during the opening Ashes Test.

Stuart Broad was controversially given not out by Aleem Dar at Trent Bridge after clearly edging the ball to slip, a decision that had a major bearing on England's victory.

The International Cricket Council on Tuesday announced that seven mistakes were made by the umpiring team at Nottingham, although four were corrected by the decision review system. Australia were unable to challenge the Broad decision because they had already used their DRS allowance.

Brad Haddin, the Australia wicketkeeper and vice-captain, said umpires should use the reviews instead of the players while Prior, who dismissed concerns that he was struggling with an achilles problem before Thursday's second Test at Lord's, said the officials have an extremely difficult job.

"Since DRS has come in I've realised how hard an umpire's job is," the England wicketkeeper said. "If we appeal and it's given not out everyone just looks at me. I'm expected to make a decision and it's a tough thing to do.

"We have a process now where the bowler, myself and Alastair Cook will have a chat about what we've seen. You want to make sure you get them right but I think also the mentality of it is very important. The biggest thing is keeping the emotion out of it and making it as logical decision as possible.

"You have a strange relationship with umpires as a wicketkeeper because they are slightly reliant on you and I always joke with them that I'll never appeal if it's not out. You have to respect umpires for the job that they do, the scrutiny is tough. More often than not they do a fantastic job."

England, with whom Chris Tremlett, Monty Panesar and Ben Stokes netted on Tuesday, made representations to the ICC during the first Test when Jonathan Trott was given out lbw despite an apparent inside edge. Dar did not raise the finger but the third umpire, Marais Erasmus, overruled the decision even though he could not use Hot Spot technology to ascertain whether Trott's bat touched the ball.

Haddin, who admitted he knew he had edged the final delivery of the match before a review, believes umpires, not players, should decide when to use the available technology and defended Broad for not walking after edging to slip.

"I think the umpires might as well use the reviews," Haddin said. "I don't think they need to be in the players' hands, to be honest. I see nothing wrong with what Stuart did. The umpire is there to make the decision and he has seen it different to everyone else."

Dar and Kumar Dharmasena made a total of 72 decisions throughout the first Test, well above the average of 49 for a match in which DRS is operable. The correct decision percentage during the match climbed by 5.5% to 95.8% because of the successful reviews.

"The umpires did a good job under difficult conditions," said the ICC chief executive, David Richardson. "This reflects the calibre of umpires Dar, Dharmasena and Erasmus who have consistently performed at a high level.

"Technology was introduced with the objective of eradicating the obvious umpiring errors, and to get as many correct decisions as possible. If it can help increase the correct decisions by 5.5%, then it is a good outcome, but we must continue to strive to improve umpiring and the performance of the DRS."

Eight of the 12 elite umpires officiating for the ICC are either English or Australian and therefore ineligible to preside over Ashes Tests. Dar, Dharmasena, Erasmus and Tony Hill are the only four remaining umpires and will rotate duties throughout the 10 Tests during the back-to-back series.

Prior admitted that while he has confidence in the umpires he was not so sure about Hot Spot at Trent Bridge, saying he was worried that Haddin's final-ball edge would go undetected.

"I wouldn't have put my mortgage on it [Hot Spot showing Haddin out], I know that much," Prior said. "I assumed he hit it, I heard the noise. That's why when Jimmy [Anderson] hadn't appealed I looked at Alastair and he's like 'he's hit that hasn't he?'

"I thought absolutely, so that's when we reviewed it. After we reviewed it I turned to Haddin and said 'you've hit that haven't you' and he nodded."

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by James Riach, for The Guardian on Tuesday 16th July 2013 18.25 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


image: © somethingness