DURBAN - Former International Cricket Council match referee Mike Procter joined a growing list of those calling for the need for match referees to be given a platform to explain their decisions and sanctions to a wider audience.
In the wake of an explosive first two Test matches between South Africa and Australia, which both ended with players in the dock, Procter said he felt for Jeff Crowe, who has been under the spotlight as much as, if not even more than, the players.
“It hasn’t been easy for him, and it is a real pity that those decisions have made as many headlines as the cricket itself, which has been terrific,” the former all-rounder bemoaned.
“I was always a fan of being able to front up to the media, and have the opportunity to put these things to rest.
“The speculation on how you arrived at a certain decision probably adds to the emotion around issues like this, and that can’t have been easy for Jeff.
“Going in front of the media after a match, or once a decision has been taken, means there are no grey areas. It is definitely something worth looking at.”
The world’s top-ranked bowler in Test cricket, Kagiso Rabada, has been suspended for the last two matches of the series, after his run-ins with the Australian captain and vice-captain in the second Test in Port Elizabeth. Procter said the current system of demerit points, which stay on the record for a period of two years, is a tough one.
“It is very difficult. It is a bit like the driving system in some countries, where you can rack up a lot of points, and then one parking ticket takes you over the edge, and you are banned from driving altogether. Rabada is definitely paying a big price for some mistakes he made a while ago.”
“If I do get banned, I’ll have to see it as a big learning curve and not keep ‘repeating the same mistakes’ in the eyes of the umpires. I’m not happy about it, but time moves on.” @KagisoRabada25 #SAvAUS #ProteaFire #SunfoilTest pic.twitter.com/3UNbmZeQGl
Expanding on what it means not to have the fast bowler playing in the last two matches, Procter said it was a real shame.
“It is a huge loss for the series. Rabada is clearly the best bowler on both sides, and to not have him taking part in the last two games really takes something out of the series,” Procter lamented.
“He is a brilliant young bowler, and I have to agree with what AB de Villiers was saying to the press. The senior players will have to take him in and help him through this, but he also has to look at himself.
“As a fast bowler, you will always have that fire in the belly. It is what helps you to bowl at the level you need to be the difference. Rabada has to learn to take that fire away from the batsmen, because it is taking away from brilliant performances’’
The third Test of the four-match series begins in Cape Town on 22 March.