Vol. 5 Num 64 Fri. July 30, 2004  

Umps to be wired

Umpires in September's ICC Champions Trophy will wear earpieces wired to stump microphones so they can better hear edges.

In another innovation cricket's governing body also said on Thursday that third umpires will be responsible for calling no balls in the tournament rather than the standing umpires.

"The effect of this is that the standing umpire will not need to adjust his line of sight from the bowler in delivery stride to the batsman receiving the ball," ICC general manager of cricket David Richardson said in a statement.

"Instead, he can concentrate fully on the business end, which could provide crucial extra fractions of a second to judge an appeal."

Matches played in the triangular tournament in the Netherlands between India, Pakistan and Australia in August will be used to test the new no ball procedure.

Umpires standing in seven of the 15 ICC Champions Trophy matches will wear the earpieces.

The idea follows trials in South Africa earlier this year where initial feedback suggested the devices were beneficial to umpires.

ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed believes the time has come to try new technology.

"I do not believe the game or its followers want to see umpires reduced to the role of coat racks but we all have a vested interest in trying to improve the accuracy and consistency of decision making," he said.

The ICC also confirmed it has already started its programme of filming slow bowlers in a bid to assess their actions.

The second Test between England and West Indies that began at Edgbaston on Thursday marks the start of the process which will continue throughout the Champions Trophy held in England.