Australia news November 11, 2013

Clarke claims DRS 'distorts the game'

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Australia's captain Michael Clarke has questioned the wisdom of the referral system for disputed verdicts, stating that its use is distorting the actions of the umpires as well as the players, and admitting he would prefer the DRS to be thrown out entirely if its consistency does not improve.

Clarke has also declared he does not wish to see Hot Spot return to the array of technological tools for third umpires until its reliability can be improved beyond the level seen during the previous Ashes series.

Tackling the issues surrounding the DRS in The Ashes Diary, his account of the Test matches in England, Clarke said that the introduction of referrals had created an unsavoury tactical and mental battle in addition to those traditionally fought between bat and ball - as glimpsed by Stuart Broad's infamous reprieve at Trent Bridge.

"The referral system - where captains have two unsuccessful referrals at their disposal - can distort the process," Clarke wrote. "I don't like the tactics involved, where umpires and the teams know how many referrals are left, and change their decisions accordingly. It should be consistent for all players."

Clarke chose as his example the most controversial moment of the Ashes series when Stuart Broad edged Ashton Agar to slip, via the gloves of wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, but chose not to walk and the DRS regulations allowed him to remain at the crease even though the nick was abundantly clear to everybody but the standing umpire Aleem Dar.

"The ultimate problem with the Broad 'dismissal' in Nottingham wasn't that he didn't walk, or that the umpire had made an error - it was that the complicated DRS rules meant the third umpire didn't have the opportunity to overrule the on-field decision."

The wider principle Clarke has argued for is that if technology could prove that a batsman was out, then he should be made to go, irrespective of the initial decision or the number of referrals available to the fielding team. "I believe that if it's clearly shown that the batsman hit the ball and he was caught, then the technology should be used to ensure he is out," he wrote. "If he's hit in front of the wickets and the technology shows he is lbw, he should be out, regardless of how many referrals remain.

"As a captain, I'd just like the technology to be used to make more correct decisions, without all the complications of how many referrals remain or don't remain. There shouldn't be a numerical limit. If this means passing referrals back into the hands of the three umpires, on and off the field, then so be it. My final word on the matter - if technology, and the use of technology by the umpires, continues to be as inconsistent as it has been in this series [in England], I would rather it is not used at all."

Hot Spot appears to have been shelved for the forthcoming series, and Clarke said he would not appreciate its return until the technology improved in its ability to deliver consistent results. "My opinion is that if the technology isn't perfect, it shouldn't be used at all," he wrote. "The inventor and owner of Hot Spot [Warren Brennan] came out and admitted it doesn't pick up all nicks. Ok, that's fine: Hot Spot should not be used until it is more reliable.

"Once the technology has been tested and is shown to be correct, then the ICC should rule that every team has to use it. We should have the same rule for everyone."

Since Clarke's thoughts were penned, the ICC has introduced a "top-up" of a maximum of two additional reviews for each side after 80 overs.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JG2704 on November 14, 2013, 10:17 GMT

    I see this article agrees with Clarke too - being that all 3 featured comms are agreeing with Clarke. A shame one or 2 of the comms who disagree with Clarke weren't featured comms - for a bit of balance

  • UmpirezCall on November 14, 2013, 1:26 GMT

    @Agnihothra: Going by that logic we'd have to get rid of all the umpires as well!! If the technology improves decision making, of course we should use it.

  • Agnihothra on November 13, 2013, 10:01 GMT

    "My opinion is that if the technology isn't perfect, it shouldn't be used at all,"

    AND every body criticises the BCCI................

  • TheRedLeb on November 13, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    Clarke is quoted as saying "The ultimate problem with the Broad 'dismissal' in Nottingham wasn't that he didn't walk" ... So those posts referring to previous batsmen not walking and Cpts giving instructions not to walk hold no weight in this discussion Clarke at no point has said Broad should have walked.

    All he has said is that the system is flawed in that he was unable to review it and the third umpire was powerless to overrule the on field umpires decision when it was clearly wrong. All he wants and I agree is a system that either eliminates all bad decisions or eliminates none of them and you take the good with the bad and hope that over a course of a Test or series they even out.

    As it stands I think the system is skewing "luck" rather than levelling out, like umpires are humans so are the players and they are being punished if what they felt they saw is proven wrong by tech in many instances the margins are minute seems a team shouldn't be punished for erring

  • dummy4fb on November 13, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    The problem is that you can't give teams unlimited reviews, or even put it all in the hands of the umpires for the same reason; it would slow the game up too much! Umpires would review everything just in case they made a mistake, and captains would review everything just in case a ball was actually a wicket. Also batsmen would review every time they got out. The fact is that DRS is better than the naked eye, no matter how well trained, and the system of reviews, with additional reviews after 80 overs is about the best that we have at the moment. Imagine the tedious nature of the alternatives, or the dissatisfaction of going back to no DRS....No thank you.

  • Kaka13 on November 13, 2013, 6:43 GMT

    Due to one incident of Broad, Clark wants to dump DRS, Symonds did not walk when he had very healthy edge and Australia was in deep trouble. When India opposed DRS all sais arrogance but when technology is not proven u can not apply. We need to see how it can help on ground umpire but ultimately on filed umpire should take a final call until HE refers to third umpire.

  • dummy4fb on November 13, 2013, 5:58 GMT

    We keep hearing about Broad not walking in the ashes series lets not forget about the series against India when Symonds nor Hussey walked when they nicked the ball at the Sydney Test a few years ago and here we see the Australians complaining about Broad not walking which captain instructed his batsman not to walk funny when it happens to the aust team when the BCCI did not want the DRS every one complained but these same people are now against the DRS

  • gdalvi on November 13, 2013, 5:35 GMT

    One problem people fail to understand is that several things are interconnected here. If technology is not very close to 100% accurate (>99.9%)- then you are reviewing not based on what you know is true, but gambling on whether tech will confirm what you saw. A keeper might actually see and hear the nick - ask for review and still lose it - because tech is not accurate. Unless tech is >99.9% accurate, it does not make sense to limit number of reviews.

  • mican on November 13, 2013, 3:10 GMT

    There is only one other person to blame for the Broad dec'n apart from Dar: Michael Clarke. If he didn't squander his referrals so stupidly he would have had opportunity to appeal and retain his referral rights.

    I like referrals being the responsibility of the players. Clarke is effectively arguing for unlimited appeals or placing them in the hands of the umpire. Well that would just recreate the type of behaviour the DRS has effectively stopped such as players appealing every other ball and pressuring the umps. When they make the inevitable mistake we will see the old rancour and threats return.

    Leave it with the players. Let them bear the pressure. When a mistake is made then blame will be left where it should be: The players themselves.

  • dummy4fb on November 13, 2013, 1:36 GMT

    Its not that the BCCI does not want reviews. It is just that they want better decisions. The 'Howlers' that are still pervading Tests can still be reduced if the Umpires use technology available to make correct decisions, the way they did before the introduction of DRS. The only change is that they can confirm with a 3rd Umpire if the decision they are about to give is right or wrong, similar to asking the 3rd Umpire whether or not a batsman was in or out in a stumping or run out.