India in Australia 2011-12 December 30, 2011

Dhoni backs umpires over DRS


India will not support the DRS until they are convinced that the technology is 100% perfect, captain MS Dhoni has reiterated. Coming to Australia, India were under pressure to agree to the use of the DRS, in part because Channel 9, the host broadcasters, use some of the best technology available in their production of home Tests. However, India did not budge, and Dhoni said his experience in England, where there were several incidents that suggested Hot Spot was not completely accurate, played a part in making that call.

"I still put my money on the umpires because they have been doing the job [for a long time]," Dhoni said. "It is just that the pressure on them is growing with plenty of technology around. We feel the technology is not 100% accurate. At times you see an edge on Hot Spot, sometimes you don't see anything happening. Before the start of the England series I was a big fan of Hot Spot. The way things went in England I don't have the same kind of confidence. If it is not 100% I will still go with the umpires. This is a game in which people commit mistakes. If the bowler doesn't commit a mistake the batsman can't get runs. If the batsman doesn't commit a mistake the bowler doesn't get a wicket. So we'll make umpires too a part of it."

The DRS refused to die as a topic of debate because in the Melbourne Test there were many potentially match-turning decisions that could have been overturned had they been reviewed. Michael Hussey would not have been dismissed for a golden duck and Ed Cowan could, possibly, have continued batting in the first innings. The decision to adjudge Cowan caught-behind is an interesting grey zone with the DRS because there was a sound at the exact time the ball went past the bat but Hot Spot did not show an edge. In the past the umpires have acted just on the sound.

Ironically, It was India who could have had more decisions reversed than Australia. They could have got Ricky Ponting out early in his second innings, and they had Michael Hussey lbw twice and caught down the leg side once. It is all a matter of conjecture, but India could actually have won the match had they agreed to the use of the DRS, and used it wisely. Dhoni, though, did not want to go down that route.

"What is important is that if a mistake is committed by the umpire, it should not affect him," he said. "If as an umpire you give something out when it's not-out, you don't need to go into your shell thinking you have made a wrong decision. If the next ball the umpire feels it is out, he should boldly give the decision.

"We are happy to go that way because it is a difficult job for the umpires. We come back to our dressing-room after bowling and only two batsmen go out to bat, but these are the people who stand there for five days. Cricket has been in good shape for long enough with two people in charge. They don't need to worry too much about what technology is going around, about what will show on Hot Spot and what will show on Snicko. We need to back their decisions. If mistakes are not committed intentionally, I am perfectly fine with it."

Dhoni went on to take a dig at the numbers the ICC provides regarding the number of correct decisions made by umpires. "You'll have to see what exactly the ICC sees as correct decisions. Giving a boundary is a correct decision; that also goes in favour of the umpires. You have to categorically say this is what it is."

Dhoni's mistrust of technology would have grown when India appealed for an lbw against Brad Haddin in the first innings and the ball-tracking service failed to show a projection due to lighting issues. That was a pretty adjacent call, but India wouldn't have enjoyed the benefit of the DRS had it been in use. So even if the DRS was a part of this series we would still have had as large, if not larger, a controversy on the first day itself. Hussey would have survived, Cowan's fate would have been decided subjectively by the third umpire, and Haddin would have continued batting.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Aadil on January 2, 2012, 12:13 GMT

    agupta429: Come on man, get a grip... you gave one eg that 2.5m rule, and player can use it to trick umpires. Guy the rule states that if the ball hits the batsmen more than 2.5 m in front of the wickets then it is not out... Do you understand for a batsmen to practically get ahead 2,5m to get hit? either he needs to come down the wicket or lie down to play sweep... how can it be misused??? pls elaborate. And this rule too is there cause it is not possible as if a ball hits 2.5m in front n shows to go on to hit the stump, u need to be really hit on the ankles and then the hawkeye doesnt really take into account the pitch conditions... so it is not possible to guess the variable nature of pitch whether it will hit stump.. Dont say things for saying. evn ur argument of football, there is no misuse, the players dive to fool onfield referees nt TV replays.and if found guilty they do get retrospective bans. Use head nt closed heart for support of Dhoni and India.

  • Aadil on January 2, 2012, 11:44 GMT

    Its ok not to use DRS only if production houses on tv are banned from showing replays.. if umpires dont need them, we timepassers certainly dont deserve it.. its easy for us and commentators to pass on comments looking on the 30 replays.. lets go back to 30years back.. :)

  • Kris on January 2, 2012, 2:26 GMT

    You feel so bad when you see from just a normal replay that your favorite player is let down by a field umpire's reflexes. DRS reduces, if not eliminates, this happening. If some party thinks otherwise it means they imagine umpires are under pressure to favor them.

  • raj on January 1, 2012, 18:54 GMT

    Umpiring has always been an issue in cricket. The DRS adopts great technological advancement and, even if not perfect, is a huge improvement. Dhoni and the BCCI have shown India to be backward villagers, afraid to embrace technology. DRS is definitely an improvement from the old system where two old farts on the cricket feild kept making howlers after howlers. Now the howlers can be reviewed and overturned if required. PLEASE Mr. Dhoni and Team India accept the DRS because right now, not only are you losing matches but you are making us Indians look like cheats!

  • AYush on January 1, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    All these people criticizing India for not supporting DRS. Why should they???

    If the present form DRS continues, they will breed players training to take advantage of the Loopholes in DRS (2 metre hawk-eye rule, etc.). And when that happens, Cricket will be nothing but a boring version of Soccer where players train and practice faking on field injuries for fouls...

    To all those boards that support DRS technologies and take commission off it, tell them to fix it first.

    Getting out to an honest human error is Muchhh more livable and fair than not getting out because the batsman tricked the technology.

  • kannan on January 1, 2012, 0:44 GMT

    India's blind opposition to the DRS does not augur well for the greater good of the game. We have to move forwards and technology has to be embraced. This is my 2 cents. 1. Take out the predictive path. Only analyse what's already happened. ( ie, inside edge, pitching outside/ in line etc) 2. No game uses "prediction" for decisions ( in tennis they are tracking something thats already happened). Predictive pathway is flawed ( doesnt work if its too close or more than 2.5 m away, doesnt work in shade and is speculative). 3. Unless there is evidence to the contrary, the umpire's decision stands. That would mean that Hussey would be not out ( 1st inns) but Cowan would be out ( as there was a sound) 4. Alternatively, give it to the on field umpires to check marginal/ tough calls. ( this does have a potential to prolong the game though)

  • lugu on December 31, 2011, 15:00 GMT


  • shishir on December 31, 2011, 14:50 GMT

    while technology may have its flaws....but it does help prevent atrocious decisons.the point is use the reviews wisely. Team india doesnt know when to use a review and eventually lose out on their qouta of reviews, case in point in is world cup, where viru wasted 2 reviews when he was plumb lbw both times, and he knew it. one of the best use of reviews was made by strauss in ashes down under last year, where he seemed to knew when to go for it instead of opposing tech., embrace works for both teams, remember sachin' lbw against ajmal!!!!........ however icc should bear the expenses for whole technology and not leave it upto individual boards to do it only then one can expect uniform standards!!!!!!!

  • mansoor on December 31, 2011, 14:25 GMT

    I still suggest, DRS shd be used, but with the Umpires deciding what is to be referred Upstairs. They hv to make decisions in ' split second'. If at the time of an appeal they hv confusions in thier minds, they shd refer it to 3rgd Umpire, discuss with him what the technology suggests, and what they saw/ think. Then make the decision.


  • Bob on December 31, 2011, 13:31 GMT

    Many of those who are opposed to the use of the DRS consistently quote incidents of what they have perceived to be incorrect decisions when the DRS has been utilised, as evidence against the system. Since the DRS visuals and/or subsequent TV replays are the only source of this so-called evidence, aren't they just saying that they know better than the match officials. I wonder how many of those detractors are qualified umpires or fully understand the Laws and playing conditions to the same extent as do the ICC test match umpires. Judging by some of their comments, I would suggest very few if any of them are. It exemplifies perfectly the old adage: "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing"

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