Latest News | The 3rd Umpire and the ICC Debacle by Adam Hollioake

The 3rd Umpire and the ICC Debacle by Adam Hollioake

I am not normally one for writing negative articles but hopefully it is with the intent that something will come of it. I am occasionally driven to despair by something that I consider so obvious that I can't resist commenting on it. Let me say this 1st, we have a great game, one of the best in terms of respect and care for our officials, one of the things that annoys me about football is the way its players disrespect and abuse their officials. Cricket has an unwritten gentleman's agreement that prevents the majority of abuse towards umpires. I am not against a little bit of posturing and showing of disappointment. However all of this could be solved in one very easy move. At present the players are allowed 2 referrals. The problem with this is the very nature of the referral, places the players in the position of questioning the umpires, the very thing we grew up being told not to do! Secondly there is the fact that when umpires get decisions wrong (and all umpires do) then there is the after thought of a lack of confidence in that umpire. This problem could be so easily solved by allowing the umpires 3 referrals themselves (not including line calls such as run outs, stumpings etc) This way the umpires are allowed to say "I am not sure about this decision it is a 50/50 decision and I need help! A very different psychological position for the umpire to be in!

The 50/50 decision is every umpire's worst nightmare, when I first started captaining I used to fill out the umpire report cards (the forms the captains rate the umpires performance on) and any decision that didn't go my way I would mark the umpire down.... When I grew up a bit I realized there was such a thing as a 50/50 decision and these I used to allow the umpire the benefit of the doubt on. The 50/50 decision is the one that both sides think they are correct about. For example a batsman is hit 2 inches outside off stump, the batsman is convinced he is not out and the bowler is convinced he has got his man. Whatever decision the umpire makes one of the teams is going to be very unhappy! This is where the umpire can choose to refer, if he has got the initial decision wrong and says I will refer it he at least will have ended up making the correct decision.

I can already hear the people jumping up and down saying "it will slow our game down though"! Unfortunately these are the same people that complain about the bad decisions! You can't have both! So allow the umpires 5 referrals each so everyone can get on with the game. The fact they only have 5 will prevent those people who think that all of a sudden every decision will be referred some piece of mind and 5 will be plenty, look at the fact the captains only get 2 each and we will see that 5 is plenty but not over the top.

I think this way everyone is happy, the captains will rest easy knowing the umpire has a chance to correct a bad decision. The umpires can call for a referral but won't use it willy nilly as they only have 5 available, and all those people who hate seeing the players question an umpires decision and even worse the uncomfortable feeling an umpire has to endure when his decision is over turned.

I am interested to hear peoples thoughts on this and welcome your thoughts, please feel free to send your thoughts to or follow me on twitter and post your thoughts to me there

I think all the umpires that the young and immature Adam Hollioake used to give a hard time to deserve an apology at this point! I love you all really x


Speak soon

Adam Hollioake


To read Adam Hollioake's thoughts on India's win in the world cup click here



Adam Hollioake with the 1999 County Championship Trophy

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