Shocking decisions like Alastair Cook received on the opening day of the 4th Test are giving rise to more calls for the DRS. But why is it that the BCCI and India seem to persist with their indifference to the DRS? Rohan Sharma comes up with some telling answers.
DRS (the Decision Review System) has revolutionized the way in which umpires make judgments and have provided players on the field the ability to contest decisions they see unjust. The system was first introduced during the Indian tour of Sri Lanka in July 2008. It was hailed as a much needed improvement in light of a number of controversial decisions that had occurred in the past.
Today this system is widely accepted and endorsed by the majority of international cricket boards. However one particular board continues to lay scepticism on the system and its apparent benefits. India have remained steadfast non-believers in DRS, despite having a largely successful initiation of the system during the 2011 ODI World Cup. Their distrust of DRS can be traced back to a number of originating factors.
The BCCI have continually claimed that DRS is not 100% foolproof and should therefore not be used as a decision aid for umpires, as the board accepts the fallibility of umpires in the modern game. Taking DRS out of the equation allows the playing field to be levelled as captains can no longer gain an edge over one another.
The BCCI have also spoken about the liberal use of technology in today’s game and the need to preserve the game’s traditions and decorum. Ultimately the umpire is the final decision maker and should be entrusted the responsibility with minimal use of technological aid. While this lends a sense of consistency to the game, the possibility of umpiring howlers will continue to remain on the slate.
Another prevalent factor is how DRS can significantly influence the outcome of a match. What DRS does is reward good appeals while punishing those that are ignored. The team that best uses DRS to their favour can eventually sway the very nature of a contest. This is why the BCCI wants DRS out of the equation.
India have suffered from this predicament before in the inaugural series where DRS was used back in July 2008. Through the series Sri Lanka made 11 correct decisions while India made only 1. This is the first instance where rumblings would have surfaced over DRS and its ability to influence a match. This is also not the only time India have suffered at the hands of DRS.
During the World Cup 2011 group game last year against England, India received a very harsh decision regarding the LBW dismissal of Ian Bell. The cameras showed that while the stumps were going to be hit, the batsman had stepped down over 2.5 metres which influenced exactly where the delivery would pitch and hit. This controversial 2.5 meter ruling had been contested ad nauseam in the Indian media, seeing it as a potential pitfall to the accuracy of the system. Ultimately the decision was ruled not out, much to the chagrin of the Indian players and administration.
Another decisive reason in India’s reluctance to use DRS revolves around the fact that India will be playing at home for the better part of the next two years. For anyone who has ever played or watched a cricket match in India before, one can attest to the unbelievable noise and palaver that can be generated. The atmosphere greatly mimics life in India as there is just so much commotion and pageantry existing at one time.
Even the best umpires can be prone to error in such foreign conditions. Their hearing would suffer as their ability to ascertain snicks would come under question in such a din. Without the use of the system, umpires would be more reluctant to give outright decisions without the failsafe of DRS as a backup.
Therefore if there is an appeal an umpire would be less inclined to give an out decision. This would undoubtedly favour the batting team which in India is what fans come out to see. With all the distractions which exist, it is plain to see how DRS continues to be ignored by the BCCI. The underlying advantages of not using the system could potentially aid India in its pursuit of the competitive ICC test mace.
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