Ricky Ponting's Bid To Trust Fieldmans Honest Catches

nikki morganCorrespondent IJanuary 27, 2011

Ricky Ponting's catching policy
Ricky Ponting's catching policyMark Dadswell/Getty Images

Ricky Ponting, the Australian cricket captain, has come up with a fair argument that if a player claims a catch close to the ground, you should take the player's word that they caught it if they think they have.

There were plenty of these cases throughout the 2010-2011 season, not only involving the Black Caps in India, but also during the Ashes series and in the series between Australia and India in India. Most, if not all, of the cases involved a player claiming he had caught the ball but were turned down as the decisions were referred up to the third umpire to use his video equipment, but they generally came back to the benefit-of-the-doubt going to the batsman because of inconclusive imagery that was not able to establish whether it was actually caught or not.

Quite frankly, I’m with Ponting on this, cameras don’t always have the best view so there must be some leniency with this if the player thinks they have caught it and the footage is inconclusive. Ponting tried to initiate this honesty policy in the Ashes series but Andrew Strauss was not having it.


What is the difference of using video footage that is inconclusive (which is the case most of the time) and taking the player's word for it? If the player thinks they have caught it and the video evidence can’t tell whether it is caught or not because it is that close a call then they should take the players word that they have caught it. It generally does not happen more than once in a match so why not take the player's word.

The other benefit of not going upstairs is that it won’t waste time going up to the third umpire. If a player thinks he has caught it, batsman out. If the fielder's not sure (which does happen) then go upstairs to the third umpire. Too many decisions seem to be referred upstairs nowadays, even when on-field umpires are not sure whether bowlers have bowled no-balls or not by overstepping the line get referred upstairs which has happened in Australia. It is ridiculous.

England coach Andy Flower’s has a fair view saying he did not see how an honesty system was practical in the professional age when he had seen so many catches claimed by fielders who mistakenly believed they had taken a fair catch. That is fair enough but you also see players who are not sure whether they have caught it. If players are not sure then why not say so then it can be looked at upstairs. But I have seen a lot of times when it is so close to whether the ball has touched the ground or not but is inconclusive because the evidence is not clear enough.

In the end, everyone’s views are going to be split on this issue.