DRS needs remedial steps

The ICC should take corrective steps to avoid controversies related to the ball tracking technology.

AuthorPublished: 10th Mar 2017  2:11 amUpdated: 10th Mar 2017  4:37 pm

For long, India was a reluctant supporter of the Decision Review System (DRS) after their bitter experience in the 2008 Test series against Sri Lanka. Even as other countries embraced the DRS, Team India was the sole nation that opposed the use of the technology, either at home or away series. The Srinivasan-led BCCI had a sceptical view of the ball-tracking technology as India felt it was not 100 per cent accurate and needed corrective measures. Then skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni had taken a vehement stand against it. At the same time, India’s steadfast refusal meant it cost the team a few matches when the technology showed that umpires had made blunders. The International Cricket Council (ICC) in their defence had said the DRS would minimise errors of the on-field umpires. The world body was reluctant to force upon the BCCI in any bilateral series but they did make use of the technology in major international tournaments like the World Cup or Champions Trophy. Apart from the ball-tracking system, the team and the umpires had the ultra-edge and hot-spot technology that could detect the thinnest of edges. India finally agreed to use the DRS on a trial basis against England in the last home series. It took around eight years before Indian players had the assistance of DRS in a series. The teams have the option to take two reviews in 80 overs in Test and one review in one-day international. The fielding team or batsman can appeal against the umpires’ decision in 15 seconds. If a team fails to review successfully in 80 overs, they then stand to lose both the chances. The wicketkeeper plays a key role in helping the fielding team while reviewing the umpire’s decision.

Virtually new to the DRS, Team India blundered on various occasions during the series against England and Australia. Skipper Virat Kohli acknowledged the fact that they were inconsistent in their DRS appeals. In the gripping second Test on a tricky wicket in Bengaluru, Australians were caught napping by the Indians when skipper Steve Smith went for the dressing room assistance on whether to review the lbw decision. This was against the team spirit as the rule clearly says that signals from the dressing room must not be sought. A furious Kohli complained to umpire Nigel Llong. The issue snowballed into a major controversy with Kohli short of calling Smith a cheat. The BCCI and Cricket Australia too swung into action to support their respective captains before the ICC doused the controversy. It is now left to the ICC to take some remedial measures to avoid such ugly disputes in the future.