The debate over what to do about bad umpiring is rife again today after Cook was given out lbw to a ball that was heading wide of off stump. DRS might have saved him, but is it really the answer? DRS was introduced to reduce umpire errors but only seems to have stimulated more arguments over its effectiveness and it’s effect on the flow of the game. It is not being used in the current India v. England test series and in a recent blog Mike Selvey argues that it has made the quality if umpiring worse (http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2012/dec/03/india-england-drs-umpires-worse ). And what about cricket at other levels? Can the Counties afford DRS? What about club cricket where even providing neutral umpiring can be a challenge in small towns where everyone knows everyone (listen to Montgomery CC members talking about the match where an umpire gave 7 batsmen out lbw in one innings off his son-in-law’s bowling! http://www.takingthefield.com/stories/1960s-club-bowling-legend-bert-davies-and-7-lbws-one-innings).
But fear not cricket fans! My colleague Alan Rees has discovered the answer to umpiring woes buried deep in the archive. I present…The Denton Plan!
As you can see the plan is pretty detailed and I couldn’t quite fit it all on my scanner, but I hope this gives you the gist. Basically the only way a batman can be out is run out or bowled – Bat v. ball is the Denton mantra. This plan was received by the MCC in 1965 and was surprisingly rejected as it was felt it would received little favour from cricket fans, but what do you think? Denton believed it would not only solve all umpiring problems but would also make the game more exciting.
I have to admit that I’m not entirely convinced. It might make cricket simpler but the potential complexity of the game is one of the reasons I fell in love with it. I like a good relaxing draw now and then, I even enjoy bad umpiring decisions deep down – they give you something to discuss and get angry about! Let me know what you think, could this be the future?