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 have now been closed for this article

  • Franklin Shand on January 13, 2016, 10:44 GMT

    After all these well reasoned responses, why not run an ongoing poll of cricket fans' support for or against DRS and post it on Cricinfo as a barometer? Surely it may give both sides an idea of how the cricketing world really feels about this seemingly contentious issue.

  • Abhishek on January 12, 2016, 16:39 GMT

    Absolutely agree with Sid that we take the first step to correct the howlers... Lbws can be discussed later

  • Shankar on January 4, 2015, 20:20 GMT

    I fail to understand all these arguments for and against DRS. Because for me, if people really want to get RIGHT decisions in Cricket why don't umpires use the technology for complicated decisions. Yes, I am opening another can of worms by saying complicated decisions. What are these? Come on, we all know it and umpires know it as well! When such technology and methods are available then umpires should allow to refer to third umpire. I don't agree that Decision Review System is a great addition. The technology is a great addition to the game and it should be used correctly by the umpires not players. Yes, leaving it to players add spice and flavor to the game but doesn't get 100% right result.

  • Android on December 18, 2014, 4:07 GMT

    If you dont want DRS, stop complaining.

  • Antony on December 16, 2014, 23:49 GMT

    To all of the Indian followers out there, stop just talking about the howlers you received, there are plenty that go against the team India is playing! In fact you probably end up in front! I can go back to Harbijhan's hat-trick in India - Gilchrist given out LBW even when it is clearly edged onto the pads. Are you are also worried that your heroes will be shown up? Before you complain you need to be completely honest and say you would call back every opposition player who receives a howler from an umpire when playing India. Indian supporter's can be very single minded in this respect. Don't go on about the ball tracking it is more accurate than the human eye, but it also the reason there is doubt built into the system when the ball can be shown to be hitting the stumps it is given not out as there is not enough hitting the stumps.

  • Indian on December 16, 2014, 18:06 GMT

    @nimper : If technology is so advanced why are the creators owning up to its errors and limitations (unfortunately only if pressed) still as of now? BCCI is not against using TV replays, use that - it's tried and tested.. not some half baked thing. But unfortunately its been "bundled" with this other stuff which doesn't work and the whole thing is called "DRS". Just say TV replay and use it!!. Also "From 10 wrong to 5 wrong" , where did you get that from?! Hawkeye/Hotspot/Snicko get many more incorrect. Further, I see you have sidestepped the issues of standardisation/ policies/ consistency and clarity of laws/ finance. Just having some new tech doesn't mean it's ready for use.

  • Ravi on December 16, 2014, 8:41 GMT

    Not accepting / adopting the DRS is hurting India big time. On day 5, two of the top five batsman are judged out wrongly. This had a big impact on the outcome. It is high time that BCCI embrace DRS.

    Given that the rub of the green more often that not goes against India, there is nothing to lose by using DRS.

    BCCI should do it asap....ideally just in time for the second test starting tomorrow.

  • Andrew on December 16, 2014, 8:15 GMT

    @Circumspect on (December 16, 2014, 6:04 GMT) - there was always howlers, but now EVERYONE, can tell what was a howler. Broadcasters replay bad decisions or dismissals repeatedly. In the old days, it was hard to tell from the boundary, or from off-centre TV angles, as to whether there was an LBW or not.

  • Debajit on December 16, 2014, 6:54 GMT

    If a batsman nicks a ball and the umpire gives him out, he would not ask for a review, but what if it is a overstep no-ball and the umpire missed it? Will the third umpire step in and ask the umpire to overturn his decision? If yes, why the third umpire cannot step in and overturn any foolish decision that can be detected with naked eye or one or two simple replays. It will hardly take the same time it takes the batsman to cross the boundary after being given out. We can ignore some errors which are difficult to judge even for the hawk eye, snicko, hotspot, etc.

  • HIMANSHU on December 16, 2014, 6:04 GMT

    Cricket has always been a game of inconsistencies and yet when it comes to statistics, apples may be compared with lemons or oranges. Throughout its history, performances have been influenced by variations in conditions such as uncovered pitches, test durations ranging officially from 4 day test to until finish, rest days in tests and absence of them, front foot no balls and backfoot no balls, modified lbw when no strokes are offered, 6 hour days v/s 5 & 1/2 H days on the subcontinent in the past and now a set 90 overs/day and so on. Batsmen err, bowlers err, fielders and wicketkeepers make mistakes- teams live with those then why not accept the umpires' occassional mistakes. Surely howlers existed before TV invaded our lives. Why all the fuss now!!! Wonder what Alan McGilvrey and John Arlott would have said!

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