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Why is cricket’s non striker being forced to be a second umpire?

The non-striker does not need this additional pressure when batting is a difficult discipline as it is.

Dawid Malan incorrectly not reviewing an LBW decision after checking with his partner. Credit: Yahoo

When Dawid Malan inside edged the ball onto his pad and was given out LBW early on day 3 of this MCG test, and decided not to review the decision, some of the blame seemed to fall upon his batting partner, Alastair Cook.

Talk of Cook keeping the reviews for himself, and not helping his partner out with proper advice were being spoken about. Alastair Cook was basically being accused of either being selfish or being a poor umpire.

Lets look at Alastair Cook, the umpire.

Last time I looked, Cook's trousers were white, and not black, which in cricket means he is a player, and not an umpire. But what the game of cricket has done is turn cricket's non striker into a second umpire. This is simply unfair.

Cook's job isn't to umpire. It's not his responsibility to say 'I think you hit it, or you are outside the line, I think you are not out,' this is the umpires role, or with DRS in its current form, the batsman's role.

Cricket has allowed this to happen. It has allowed a batsman, in the desperation to not have to walk back to the pavilion, to look for a way out. And almost always when given out LBW, he will talk to his partner, who will help decide his fate. Not fair.

Cricket should not allow this to happen. The non striker's role in umpiring should be zero. He is out there to bat, not umpire.

'Brainfade'. Steve Smith checking with the dressing room after being suggested to do so by the non-striker Handscomb. Image: Mid-day

So what is the solution?

Either you make the batsman stand his ground and not wander down to the non strikers end for a chat. If he thinks he is not out then say so, don't go asking anyone. If the non striker wants to lend a hand, he can, but it should be discouraged. By making him stand his ground and decide for himself, the responsibility would have fallen more on Malan, and less so on Cook.

The other solution is to remove the batsman from the equation all together. Perhaps someone can review all close LBW's. If the third umpire sees a close LBW shout on TV, he can stop play and review it himself. All decisions given out on the field would be reviewed automatically. At least this would prevent the batsman getting involved in decisions, and it would leave it totally with the umpires on and off the field.

At the moment the batsman becomes an umpire, and also quite farcically, the non striker is being forced to be a second umpire.

He is not there to umpire, he is there to bat.

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