Thursday, February 09, 2012

Pakistan vs England: UDRS By The Numbers

Saeed Ajmal traps Eoin Morgan lbw. Source: ESPN Cricinfo

Here's a brief look at some of the numbers behind the referrals made under the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) in the recently concluded Test series between Pakistan and England.

First, here's a list of all referrals made, the players and umpires involved, and the result (click to enlarge):

There were a total of 45 referrals made in the series, 24 by Pakistan and 21 by England. There were 11 reviews in the 1st Test, 15 in the 2nd and 19 in the 3rd.

First things first, let's drop all pretensions and call the UDRS what it actually is: an LBW review system. Of the 45 reviews, all but 2 were LBW referrals. The other 2 were for caught behinds. This series by the way ties the record for the most LBW decisions in a series ever, with 43. The other two were the 1981 Ashes, and West Indies' tour to England in 2000. The difference being that those series were 6 and 5 matches long, respectively, while this one was 3 matches. The previous 3-match LBW record was 33, when Pakistan toured West Indies in 1992/93.

Back to the UDRS, 8 times in this series the result of the review was an overturning of the on-field call. Which means that the umpires made the correct call 37 out of 45 times, or a success rate of 82%. Don't really have a frame of reference, but this seems pretty good to me, especially considering that there were no real howlers as such. More on this later.

Simon Taufel, 5 time ICC Umpire of the Year award winner between 2004-08, fared the worst. 3 of his 9 reviews were overturned meaning he had a success rate of 67%. Bruce Oxenford, who stood in his first Test only in 2010, was the most successful. In total his decisions were reviewed 15 times with only 1 being overturned, which incidentally was the first review of the series when Ajmal got Pietersen LBW. So 14 in 15 correct gives him a success rate of 93%. Steve Davis got 14 in 17 (82%) and Billy Bowden 3 in 4 (75%).

There were 22 batting reviews and 23 bowling reviews. Another way of saying this is that 22 times the review was for when the on-field call was out and 23 times for when it was not out. Of the 22 batting reviews, only 2 were overturned to not out (9% success) while 6 of the 23 bowling reviews changed the decision from not out to out (26%). Clearly, bowling teams asking for reviews fared better. This also seems to confirm the belief of many that the UDRS means batsmen don't enjoy the benefit of the doubt as much as they used to.

All told, of the 110 total dismissals in the series, 26 were made after UDRS was involved, whether for out or not out calls. This amounts to roughly 1 in 4 decisions involving UDRS.

In terms of teams, Pakistan got 4 of their 24 reviews right (17%) while England got 4 of 21 right (19%). Pakistan had 14 bowling reviews - all LBWs - of which they got 3 right - and 10 batting reviews - again all LBWs - with a solitary success. England had 9 bowling reviews with 3 successes and also only called 1 batting review correctly in 12 tries.

Of Pakistan's 10 batting reviews, 4 were Misbah reviewing LBWs against himself and getting it wrong each time. Misbah in fact got out LBW in all 5 of his innings, the one time he didn't review was because it was called not out and England reviewed to have it overturned. Incidentally Misbah isn't the first (and I doubt will be the last) Pakistani captain to be liberal with reviews when involved himself. I recall at one point in last year's World Cup, Pakistan had 10 bowling reviews, 6 of which Afridi had called off his own bowling.

Of England's batting reviews, 5 came against Abdur Rehman and 4 against Saeed Ajmal, all LBWs and all turned down. Not surprising since between the two they took 43 of the 60 England wickets to fall. Ajmal in total featured as a bowler in 13 of the 45 reviews, the most out of either side.

Finally, something that is specific to the 3rd Test, because it would've taken me too much time to do it for all three.

First, I counted a total of 8 occasions where the umpire made a decision that the teams would've reviewed only that they had no more reviews left.

In all 8 occasions, the umpires made a call that would have stood even if a review had been made. This says two things. One that the umpires were spot on even when they knew they had no support from the UDRS, i.e. there were no howlers. And two, the flip side of this is that as such neither team wasted a review. What I mean by this is that neither team put itself in a position where they were stupid and ran themselves out of reviews only to rue it later on by virtue of not being able to challenge a dubious call, because again, there were no howlers.

Indeed, the only bad decisions happened when teams had a review to use but chose not to, both in England's 1st innings. One was when Trott was sent off LBW to Gul to a ball shown to be missing the stumps and didn't review, and the other was when Rehman had Strauss plumb in front but not only was there no review there was barely an appeal made.

There were also 7 reviews that were marginal i.e. shown to be 'umpire's call' on replay. By definition, a review on an umpire's call is a failed review. But once again, confirming the UDRS' bias against batsmen (or its leveling of the playing field, depending on how you look at it) 5 of these marginal calls went against batsmen and only 2 against bowlers.

Anyway, there's a whole lot more to say. Some of the tactical changes brought about as a result of UDRS are covered in this piece by The Economist. There may be some room for tweaks to be made to the system. But all in all I feel this was a good series for the UDRS and umpires in general.


karachikhatmal said...

Excellent piece. I Am a big fan of the UDRS as it seems to be getting rid of the antiquated notion of a benefit of doubt and makes batsmen squirm.

Mahek said...

I think the 82% rate is a bit misleading because of the way UDRS is structured. Plenty of decisions were upheld because there wasn't overwhelming evidence to change them. Take the Pietersen LBW in the first innings of the third test for example. He was given out on the field, referred it, decision stood. However, had the umpire given him not out and Pakistan had referred he'd have stayed not out. Ditto for the Younis Khan LBW. These are decisions where the umpire's verdict will be right no matter what it is.

Kartikeya Date said...

Interesting. The findings were similar in the World Cup. Cricinfo's Rajesh posted stats about this which I've written about.

The sample sizes are too small to say anything definitive about any of the Umpires based on DRS reviews.

A number of these reviews and revisions are manufactured - a lot of marginal revisions have been revised, and a lot of marginal decisions have stayed under "Umpire's call"

Shahir said...

karachikhatmal: Thanks man. Regarding removing the benefit of the doubt I'm slowly coming around to accepting that given the capability of technology this needs to go. Batsmen have had it too easy for too long anyway.

Mahek: Put differently, we can say that there were only 8 cases where there was overwhelming evidence that the umpires were wrong. With these marginal calls, I think it's fine to leave the system as it is (though some argue that it should always be out if the ball is shown to be hitting). The point of UDRS is to remove obviously bad decisions and I think at least in this series it did exactly that.

Kartikeya: Really enjoyed reading your blog, thanks for linking to the post. You are right, regarding individual umpires the sample is too small to make any definitive statements.