Cricket review system / VAR

People who think technology [the cricket review system] is going to lead to a mistake free world are very wide of the mark. What are you going to get is a different argument about a more highly refined type of mistake. And it’s going to come down to scrutiny of inches and millimeters of a television screen, rather than a judgment made out in the middle. So, all we are getting is a displacement activity where contentious decisions are being moved from the field off the field. You are never going to get to a mistakes free world or a controversy free world – Ed Smith (55m 29s into programme)

Personally, I think it’s a good thing that we can never completely eradicate out those contentious decisions. I think sport needs them. But Smith’s point is worth thinking about after the first competitive club match in England using VAR (Video Assistant Referee) technology was played last night (Brighton v Palace).

In cricket the scrutiny of those inches and millimeters on a tv screen takes time, but the game and crowd have managed to accommodate this and so the delay contributes a certain tension to the game. Whether similarly, in football, those off-pitch decisions that take time and slow the pace of the game down (I can’t see how they won’t) add to the overall excitement of the match or detract from it remains to be seen.

The Ashes

I’ve loved this Ashes series, even though England has lost it, because each game they lost contained moments when they could have won – and not just moments, but whole half-hours, and occasional mornings, and even the odd day. Test matches, and entire test series, have a wonderful open-ended quality, and then an equally wonderful finality when the door eventually shuts. Whenever a game ends, there’s always that strange feeling that there must be one more twist life. But the haunted look on the faces of the defeated players tells you that there isn’t.

Ashes to Ashes, LRB