Australia v India, 1st ODI, Perth January 12, 2016

'Still not convinced about DRS' - Dhoni

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MS Dhoni explains his misgivings about DRS

MS Dhoni, India's limited-overs captain and a staunch cynic in DRS matters, has offered yet another trenchant defence of his stance. Just like in the first international of their last summer in Australia, India could, if DRS was in place, have easily overturned a critical decision that went against them.

In a chase of 310, Australia were 2 for 21 when George Bailey gloved the first ball he faced down the leg side, but was reprieved by umpire Richard Kettleborough. Bailey went on to a score a hundred that helped turned the chase into a stroll, and later didn't shy away from cheeky gamesmanship. "Would've been interesting to see on DRS, but we're not the team that doesn't want it," he said.

When the question was put to the team that doesn't want it, Dhoni retorted: "Are you indirectly saying we are not getting decisions in our favour because we don't use DRS?"

When told that that was not the case, Dhoni repeated his general mistrust of the umpires' role in DRS. Responding to how a review of the Bailey decision could have changed the course of the match, Dhoni said: "It could have but at the same time we need to push the umpires to make the right decisions. You have to see how many 50-50 decisions don't go in our favour. It always happens, then you have to take it. But I am still not convinced about DRS."

Asked whether he felt his team tended to get penalised by the umpires for not agreeing to use DRS, Dhoni said, "I may agree with you. I may agree with you. That's what…" And then he didn't complete the thought.

When asked if the team was united in its opposition of the DRS, Dhoni didn't answer that question, but did offer a slightly more nuanced explanation for his stance. "First DRS should ideally be the decision-making system," he said. "If you see the deviations in DRS, there are quite a few deviations. Even the makers agree that can happen. Now you have to also take into account whether it was given not out or out. If it was given out it needs to touch the stump [for the decision to remain out]; if it was not out it needs to hit half the stump [to be given out]. That itself makes the variable too big. In cricket every inch, every millimetre, matters.

"DRS should not be the umpires' decision justification system. It should be giving the right decision. Like in tennis you don't say the umpire called it out and half the ball has to pitch inside the line. It has to be plain and simple. You don't have to keep too many things in consideration. You either say, 'This is DRS, doesn't matter whether it is given out or not out, if half the ball is hitting the stumps, you are out.' Irrespective of the decision. Now, for example, you take DRS, in an lbw decision, what changes everything is whether it was given in favour or not. It can mean a margin of one inch overall, and that is very big."

This is, at its best, a limited understanding of the nature of decisions made in tennis and cricket. Tennis only adjudicates on what has happened, not what would have happened. The lbw decision is unique to cricket. It deals with what would have happened, which is the reason for a margin for error. At its worst, however, this is a deeply cynical view of the umpiring machinery. ESPNcricinfo spoke to a few other players over the course of the last year, and they expressed similar feelings that what shows up as "umpire's call" in DRS will tend to go against them, and DRS will be used only to justify it.

Shashank Manohar, India's new board president, also the ICC chairman, had earlier stood by India's opposition of DRS on tenuous grounds as well. "Instead of the umpire imagining the bounce and the direction of the trajectory, it is the person sitting behind the camera who is going into the DRS," he said in a Facebook interaction with the fans. "He is going to have his imagination put in the place of the umpire's imagination with regard to the bounce."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mohsin9975 on January 16, 2016, 11:24 GMT

    MSD said : "Umpires need to be pushed to make correct decisions." Indian batsmen do not walk after edging it. Where's the sportsmanship now? How are u going to achieve correct decisions when ur own batsmen do not want correct decisions to be made? I doubt that's even the objective of BCCI/MSD. Bailey gets flak for not walking but says DRS would have got it right. India do not want DRS & do not walk either.

  • rajkirp on January 16, 2016, 3:50 GMT

    Still not convinced about Dhoni's argument against DRS

  • mohsin9975 on January 15, 2016, 21:13 GMT

    @ IndianInnerEdge...DrJez has correctly put down d working of Hawkeye. The nature of a surface(cracks, pebbles, grass, moisture)is irrelevant for HE. It only comes into picture after d ball hits d pads. LBW is a mode of dismissal where a batsman is given out on d basis of an event dat will never occur for real. No one can ever be sure of d path after d ball is obstructed. The predictive path is a virtual extension of obstructed ball. All events prior to it are real & r important as a form of information collected by cameras. So, a higher frame rate camera is essential to make better predictions. HE is a tool dat gives graphical representation to an umpire's imagination which makes it more believable. The grey area for HE is when der is insufficient information to predict d path I.e. when a ball pitches very close to d pads which is being captured by lower frame-rates cams

  • myloveislike on January 15, 2016, 20:39 GMT

    FOREXCELLENCEINCRICKET , just like Dhoni in this article, still doesn't seem to get it. I don't remember the incidents (though as a fan I expect FCIC remembers every irritating moment) but you simply cannot blame DRS for any of those incidents. The fundamental fact in each case is that the batsmen were given NOT OUT by the umpires. DRS was not then able to correct the errors (assuming they were errors) because they margins were not great enough. So they STAYED not out.

    DRS corrects SOME umpiring mistakes (quite a lot really), so it MUST be better than no DRS. End of story, even though the story is endlessly repeated..

  • headleyy on January 15, 2016, 17:25 GMT

    Are you serious Mansman?The standing umpire did not give Amla out. Are you saying he would have given him out if there was no DRS? Can this subject not be dealt with rationally? Read my comment two down from yours.

  • DrJez on January 15, 2016, 10:13 GMT

    @IndianInnerEdge. For balls that pitch, DRS does not need to "guess" - it simply observes how the ball comes off the pitch, and predicts a continuation. It makes no difference if the pitch is wet, or if the ball hit a crack. Those factors do of course affect the bounce, but DRS uses observations of the bounce and, like I said, simply predicts a continuation. When the ball hits the pad on the full, the situation becomes more problematic - nobody knows how the ball would have bounced. There is an agreed convention that the system assumes no turn/spin, i.e. the ball continues in a straight line. As for bounce, I am not sure - if the batsman is in his crease, or not far out, then there isn't normally an issue, as the ball wouldn't have had time to rise over the stumps. If the batsman has run halfway down the pitch, then I don't know what happens. However this last situation I have never seen at all with DRS, so must be extremely rare.

  • IndianInnerEdge on January 15, 2016, 0:09 GMT

    @ DEEZNUTS_HUH_GOTEEM, FURQN.LODHI-numerous instances of our guys walking,the same as any other team m8, i've also mentioned 'one' instance that came readily tomind..lets not get carried int he whole walking bit becoz if Bailey did'nt thatz fine by us&we've moved on-doesnt change our opinion about bailey at all-contrary to a few posters @IWVA-i questioned your comment on the $$ for the DRS-did'nt rubbish you. In the midst of all the hoo ha and meaningless vitriol flung @ BCCI&India in general-can any one explain -how does hawkeye account for ball hitting a crack/upraised ledge on pitch? -how does hawkeye/whatchamacallit tech predict the bounce of the 2ndnew ball/semi new ball -how does hawkeye-predict angle/degree of revs/trajectory of bounce-for a spinner on the 1st ball bowled by spinner on the 1st day 1st session? -how does hawkeye predict the above parametres-for incident 1st ball after rain brk? -i suport DRS am no fan of BCCI-as MSD said-'its milimetres' cricifo plz publish

  • in_the_spirit_of_the_game on January 14, 2016, 23:26 GMT

    As the debate continues, game 2 in a few hours from now. Let's hope India makes it 1-1.. Chak De India!!!

  • mansman on January 14, 2016, 21:30 GMT

    Jan 14th, 2016: SAf-Eng, 3rd test Match, Wanderers: Stokes to Amla: Ball swings in, Amla is neither forward nor back. Caught dead in front. Umpire gives NOT OUT. Stokes goes to Cook immediately. DRS invoked. Ball clattering on the top of middle stump. Big board flashes - Umpires call. Decision stays and so does Amla. Mike Haysman commentating has this to say,"This is exactly why I think the DRS is incorrect. The ball is clearly hitting the stumps and the batsman is allowed to stay. DRS is wrong. Its a question of millimeters."

    The other commentators are silent on Mike's comment. The only point they are making is how Stokes is not impressed raising his arms in anguish at the tomfoolery that that DRS decision was.

    Dhoni's comments exactly.

    DRS is wrong. India is justified in not using it.

  • jimmyvida on January 14, 2016, 19:59 GMT

    If India does not want DRS, so be it. But, the other side should be allowed to use it. That, I guess would please both sides.

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