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Flower blasts ICC for blunder

2010-01-15 20:42
Andy Flower (File)

Johannesburg - England coach Andy Flower criticised the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Friday after South Africa captain Graeme Smith survived a controversial umpire review decision in the fourth and final test on Friday.

Smith was on 15 when he slashed at a wide delivery from Ryan Sidebottom and the fielders were convinced he had edged the ball to keeper Matt Prior, calling for a review after umpire Tony Hill gave the batsman not out.

Third umpire Daryl Harper then upheld Hill's decision and Smith went on to make 105 as South Africa ended a rain-interrupted second day on 215 for two, a lead of 35 runs.

Flower said Harper erred by not turning up the volume on his feed from the stump microphone, adding the England camp could clearly hear an edge on their television sets in the changing room.

"I've seen the match referee [Roshan Mahanama] a couple of times today," Flower told reporters. "The first meeting was to clarify the process the third umpire went through in making his decision.

"The match referee told me the third umpire has a different audio feed to the television stations but on subsequent investigation we discovered this is not correct. There is one audio feed for everyone.

"Mr Mahanama then said Daryl Harper had not switched the volume up on his microphone because they hadn't deemed it necessary, which is why we heard the nick but the third umpire did not," added Flower.

"If the incident had not happened in such a serious match I would have found it amusing but it is very disappointing and incidents like these do not reflect well on the ICC (governing body)."

England's coach said the umpire review system ran the risk of becoming illogical due to inconsistencies in its application.

"There are a couple of things which I find illogical," said Flower. "The first is the system is not used for no-balls and both Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Smith have been dismissed off no-balls in this series.

"The other inconsistency is that before the series Dave Richardson [ICC general manager - cricket] and Roshan Mahanama said in the absence of snicko and hot-spot (technology) they would use an increased volume on the stump microphones.

"The fact that today they would not turn up the volume is very disappointing. Our report on the umpires will be the forum through which we take it further," said Flower.

"Of course mistakes happen, we make them every day, but when there is no logic or reason to them it is very frustrating."

Smith was non-committal over whether he edged the ball.

"There was definitely a noise but I didn't feel I touched it," said the opener. "Maybe I did, maybe I didn't, but it's not my job to discuss the third umpire.

"To cry over spilt milk is not right, it shouldn't be an issue and we should just get on with the game."

England lead the series 1-0.

Read more on:    graeme smith  |  andy flower  |  england in sa

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