Without DRS Technology the Test Lottery spins away from India

Chloe Saltau, in the Sydney Morning Herald, 13 December 2014, where the title is “Absence of review allows umpiring shockers in first Test” … http://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/absence-of-review-allows-umpiring-shockers-in-first-test-20141213-126j1s.html

Spinner Nathan Lyon produced a man-of-the-match performance in Australia’s first Test win at Adelaide Oval. India’s refusal to accept the decision review system in its current form meant four umpiring howlers of the kind the system was designed to eliminate went unchallenged on the tense final day of the Adelaide Test.

Johnson- Getty

But the absence of the contentious DRS from this series cut both ways. Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan was given out, caught behind, off his shoulder. And Nathan Lyon was denied the wicket of Dhawan’s opening partner Murali Vijay, despite the Eagle Eye ball-tracker showing the ball crashing into his stumps.

Vijay was given not out by umpire Marais Erasmus when Lyon launched a strenuous appeal for lbw on 24. He went on to make 99.  Later, as the Australians strained for wickets in the final session, Virat Kohli was given not out on 83 attempting to sweep the Australian off-spinner. Eagle Eye showed it hitting middle stump. In the same over, Ajinkya Rahane was given out, caught at short leg, but the replay showed it came off the pad.

The decisions reignited the debate about the DRS, on which there is no consensus. While the Board of Control for Cricket in India is the only national board that refuses to consent to using the referral system in bilateral series, Australian captain Michael Clarke doesn’t like how it distorts decision-making and many players would prefer that it was in the hands of umpires.

However, the mistakes that saw Dhawan dismissed and Vijay reprieved are precisely the kind of umpiring errors DRS was brought in for.

KOHLI-Getty Virat Kohli —Pic by Getty

Indian captain Virat Kohli outlined the reasons for his country’s resistance on the eve of the series, essentially explaining that the players don’t trust the ball-tracking technology. “The only point we have maintained is that it’s not 100 per cent,” Kohli said. “We have seen incidents happen where DRS has been taken and some people feel that it’s clearly a not-out decision and the guy has been given out or it seems like it’s out and guys have been given not out. More than half of the ball hitting the stumps, the other half is just like a millimetre away. It doesn’t just make sense at times.

“Unless it is 100 per cent accurate I don’t think it can be a thing that we will change our take on. If it gets 100 per cent accurate and consistent, then who knows?”

Not all Indian players dislike DRS. Test great Rahul Dravid believes it improves the percentage of correct decisions, but is not always used as it was originally intended.

“In the Indian dressing room when I was playing there were mixed views on it. There were some of us who did feel that if it did improve improve decision-making then maybe we should try it, and technology would keep constantly improving. The others felt that the technology wasn’t reliable enough, that it wasn’t the same technology for every series and can we guarantee the same quality of DRS all across the world, not only for the Ashes where we have the best cameras and the best technology,” said Dravid, calling the Test for ABC Radio.

“Each side has its merits, but one of the things I always believed is that once you made the decision to actually play without the DRS, there was no point complaining about it. You had to accept what the decisions were. Some of them would go your way and some of them wouldn’t.

Dravid added that DRS “started off being something to get rid of the howlers but it was almost starting to get used as a tactic by the captains”.

Fairfax Media revealed last month that the ICC is embarking on an independent study to test the accuracy of all the gadgets that make up DRS including Hot Spot, Snicko and ball-tracking technology.  At present, the ICC relies on the host TV broadcaster for footage and the quality of production varies around the world. The results of the testing are expected to influence key decisions about the future of the DRS, such has how lbw decisions are judged and how many referrals are allowed for each team.

Clarke wrote in his 2013 Ashes Diary that if the technology isn’t perfect, it shouldn’t be used at all. “As a captain, I’d just like the technology to be used to make more correct decisions, without all the complications of how many referrals remain or don’t remain. There shouldn’t be a numerical limit. If this means passing referrals back into the hands of the three umpires, on and off the field, then so be it. My final word on the matter – if technology, and the use of technology by the umpires, continues to be as inconsistent as it has been in this series [in England], I would rather it is not used at all.”\

Courtesy: Sydney Morning Herald

See also 

Roberts: “Hegemonic Idiocy: BCCI and Dhoni on the DRS in cricket,” 19 February 2012, http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/hegemonic-idiocy-bcci-and-dhoni-on-the-drs-in-cricket/

UDRS – Wikipedia= http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umpire_Decision_Review_System

Authorship of the UDRS= http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2013/01/31/authorship-of-the-umpire-decision-review-system-udrs-a-plea-for-reparative-justice/


The field umpire’s immunity limits appeal rights


ICC to implement Lankan lawyer’s concept?


Lankan lawyer challenges ICC on origin of UDRS


Will the UDRS be proved a good thing?= http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/499969.html

Point-blank: It’s never too late = http://www.nation.lk/edition/columns/point-blank-saadi-thawfeek/item/7031-point-blank-it%E2%80%99s-never-too-late.html

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