DRS is here, India; don’t complain to anyone

Umpire refers upstairs for the DRS (photo: Google Images)
Umpire refers upstairs for the DRS (photo: Google Images)

Such is the controversy over cricket’s Decision Review System (DRS), the Board of Control for Cricket In India (BCCI) has completely banned it from any series involving their national side.

Just how much longer remains a big question, however, with the Cricket World Cup literally on our front doorstep.  Quite incredibly, it’s been three years since there was no DRS used in an Australian summer – and you guessed it, it was the last time India made their way to our shores (2011-12).

While the benefits it gives the umpires in decision checking, and the players in potentially sending another batsman back to the shed, there’s plenty of negatives.  Many of these have been well voiced by India’s new test captain, Virat Kohli, and he’s adamant India won’t use the system till it’s 100 percent foolproof.

“It just doesn’t make sense to us sometimes.  Some people feel that it’s clearly a not-out decision and they’ve been given out.

“Or it seems like it’s out and guys have been given not out – and [there’s] more than half a ball hitting the stumps.”

Kohli struck a nail on the head with his comments, more so when it comes to hawkeye’s notion of how much of the ball is going to take out a stump or stump(s).  The dreaded “umpire’s call” comes into play when a decision is called not out, then reviewed, and stays not out due to the ball not hitting enough of one stump may well be the bane of international players.

The moment the umpire heads upstairs, there’s all manner of waiting and wondering.  Cheteshwar Pujara’s dismissal at the Gabba in the first innings screamed for the DRS.  Yet, there was no signal from the umpire to go upstairs – because India aren’t rolling with the rest of them.

Chloe Saltau’s stinging piece that threw deep hooks into India’s views of the DRS system now sits in the top echelon of why the nation has such a scathing stance against the technology.

If cricketers want one thing out of the international game, it’s consistency.  Players from all over the world have criticised the ball tracking technology, and want the third umpire to have the final call on “bad decisions.”

Rather than have the third umpire overrule, the tracking system needs to be refined, and the definition of “hitting the stumps” revised.  If it’s even going to graze the stump – ie, a tiny smidgeon of the small is passing through it – then that may be enough, in theory, to dislodge the bails. Out or not out?

With 14 teams hitting Australian and New Zealand shores, it was unfair to keep the system away from the tournament when only one team stands adamantly against it.  Amey Lonkar, from website sportskeeda, raises the exact ire of players – and the fans as well – on the topic of exactly how well DRS and hawkeye are measured.

India’s group games in the World Cup are against Pakistan, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, West Indies, Ireland and Zimbabwe.  With DRS being universally accepted for the entire World Cup, there’s every chance an on-field scuffle of sorts is going to happen.

Ultimately, the fate of decisions rests in the hands of the field umpires.  Backing themselves to make the right call, as they see it, is what players ask for.  Co-operation is key, but giving too much to technology is not.

Complain all you like, but the DRS is here to stay.


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