ICC backs Harper over review

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Roshan Mahanama reminds that "there must be conclusive evidence to overturn the decision" of the on-field umpire

ICC match referee Roshan Mahanama has defended the role of TV umpire Daryl Harper in the contentious appeal against Graeme Smith on day two at the Wanderers.

South Africa captain Smith was given not out by on-field umpire Tony Hill to an attempted cut shot off Ryan Sidebottom.

England appealed to the decision review system, after which Harper upheld Hill's original decision.

Mahanama addressed specifically the issue raised by England team director Andy Flower, that Harper had allegedly failed to turn up his volume knob to view the replay.

A discernible nick could be heard on Sky TV replays when ball passed the bat, but Mahanama maintained that at no stage did Harper fail to follow ICC protocol.

Mahanama said in an ICC statement today: “During the review, the TV umpire followed the correct protocol - and as he did not hear any noise to indicate the ball hitting the bat, he recommended Mr Hill to uphold his earlier decision. It must be noted that umpire’s decision is final.

“There have also been suggestions in a section of the press that Mr Harper had turned down the feed volume,” he added.

“It is clarified that the volume on the third umpire’s feed, right throughout the series, had been configured to optimise the quality of the audio, by both an SABC [host broadcaster] head engineer and the ICC technical adviser.

“It is also worthwhile to mention here that at no stage I indicated to the England team management that the third umpire had forgotten to adjust the volume of the speakers.

“I had actually briefed the England team management of the protocols that were followed during this review.

“If the audio level had been increased above its optimum level, distortion on the audio feed would have occurred - and the feed might not have given a clear indication of the true sound.”

Mahanama also confirmed the process by which the decision was reached, and the equipment available to Harper.

He stated: “The third umpire, when reviewing the decision, used a range of technologies that were made available to him by the host broadcaster - including the slow-motion replays, amplified stump microphone sound (at normal speed and slow motion), approved ball-tracking technology and pitch mat generated by the ball-tracking technology.

“It should be kept in mind that the TV umpires sometimes receive feeds which are at a different level to what others are receiving for the simple fact that various broadcasters at times use different technologies while televising a match - and the Johannesburg Test is a case in point.

“In the end, it must be remembered that there needs to be conclusive evidence to overturn the decision of the on-field umpire, because the decision review system has been designed to eliminate the obvious umpiring errors.”

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