Australia v India, 1st Test, Adelaide December 14, 2014

BCCI's argument against DRS not 100%

Turning your back on a system that the whole cricketing world wants a discussion on, refusing to discuss it because it is not 100%, is not good enough

Play 01:35
Umpiring errors affected both sides

The Indian team took a Singapore Airlines flight to come to Australia. They would have been asked, as all passengers are, to wear seat belts before the aircraft took off. They would have been informed of emergency exits and life jackets and oxygen masks because there can be untold contingencies during a flight. One of the players is so unsure of flying he started screaming uncontrollably when a Johannesburg-Durban flight went through an air pocket last year. They still took the risk even though Singapore Airlines doesn't guarantee 100% safety.

The Indian team trains hard, as hard - if not harder - as any other team. It doesn't guarantee them fitness and intensity as the slagging performance of their quicks demonstrates. Their batsmen try to use their feet to get to the pitch of the ball, but sometimes they don't manage to do that. MS Dhoni always wears gloves while keeping wicket, but he still injured his thumb.

Duncan Fletcher's role is not a 100% sure. The assistant coaches they hired were based on recommendations. Fletcher endorsed Trevor Penney, who in turn got Joe Dawes in. There was no guarantee how they would do; they stand fired now. The ownership structure of some of their IPL teams or role of some cricket enthusiasts is not certain. Some of them agreed to play a Champions League T20 match five years ago at a ground where explosives had been found before the match. There was no guaranteeing safety after that. Life is not a 100%. Cricket is not a 100%.

Possibly the ICC is going about it the wrong way by insisting on using the tracking technology to complicate what is possibly a unique play in all sport, a dismissal where what would have happened is assessed as opposed to what has happened. Surely the ICC has to pay for DRS, as it does for the umpires, as opposed to the home broadcaster? It is perhaps unfair to be asking the players to know umpiring, too, so as to judicially utilise the reviews. A hair or three can be split with regards to some of the protocol. India don't talk about that.

When the Big Three took over the ICC, the "position paper" actually quite articulately argued the BCCI's case for a larger share of revenues. Why not try that with something that more directly affects the game? India, though, parade out the lamest of reasons for their opposition to a process that, among other things, tries to ensure fairer decisions for the benefit of the paying public that feels cheated when it sees the actual replays of a howler a few seconds later. You didn't need Hawk Eye or Eagle Eye or Hot Spot to tell Shikhar Dhawan was not out when a bouncer from Mitchell Johnson hit him on the shoulder and was taken down the leg side by Brad Haddin. A normal slow-motion replay would have been enough to call back Ajinkya Rahane at a crucial stage of the Test when he was given out bat-pad while in fact the second contact had been with his stomach. You didn't need any of the fancy but suspect tools to overrule the bat-pad dismissal of Wriddhiman Saha in the first innings when there was no bat involved.

As the most influential board in the world, and a major opposition to the concept, India could do better than keep repeating convoluted analogies about DRS' not being a 100%. The ICC listens to them on everything, surely they can get the world body to come around to a middle ground where you use the DRS for its original purpose: overturn the obvious howler? First agree to use the replays on what has happened: balls pitched outside leg when a batsman is given out lbw, a clear inside edge when a batsman is given out lbw. Then discuss the protocol and details if they need changing.

Nothing will be perfect. The system will always be a work in progress. Motorbikes are still involved in accidents, but Dhoni enjoys riding them, sometimes without security around him when he is in Ranchi. Turning your back on a system that the whole cricketing world wants a discussion on, refusing to discuss it is because it is not 100%, is not good enough.

If there is a deeper resistance to DRS - and it is not hard to imagine some - then India should let the world know. Otherwise, they should cool their heads down a little, forget all the human mistakes involved in DRS that have gone against them - and there have been a few - and revisit their stance. It is not that big a leap of faith to use replays to check what has happened and eliminate the howler. The protocols can be discussed later, we can wait for the predictive element until it is 100% or it can be shelved altogether, but we first need both India and the ICC to agree in principle that Dhawan and Rahane should have been called back on the final day even if both the parties don't agree on the use of Hawk-Eye and HotSpot.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments