Uniform DRS likely from October
A uniform Decision Review System (DRS) is likely to be used across all three formats from October 2017. The DRS will also be utilised for the first time in an ICC T20 tournament in 2018, with one review per team in the Women's World T20 in the West Indies. These proposals were discussed and approved by the ICC's Chief Executives' Committee at a two-day meeting in Dubai last week, where it was also proposed that the ICC contribute towards the costs of using DRS to reduce the financial burden on member boards in a bilateral series and enable consistent use of the system.
A more detailed plan will be tabled for approval at the ICC's Cricket Committee meeting in May followed by a final ratification at the annual conference in June in London.
The proposal also specifies that accredited technology service providers that form part of the DRS will need a stamp of approval from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) before use in matches. In the last year all the major technologies used in DRS - HawkEye, HotSpot, Ultra Edge, Real-time Snicko - have undergone performance testing by an apparatus developed by the engineers from the field intelligence unit at MIT in collaboration with the ICC. The apparatus specifically assessed the performance of technologies used in the DRS: ball-tracking and the two types of edge detection - based on noise and on heat. Virtual Eye is the only other technology provider yet to be tested, but will do so in March.
The high cost of using DRS has been one of the challenges for countries adopting the system. Last July, David Richardson, the ICC's chief executive, said it was time the ICC "paid heed" to the suggestion of the CEC and the Cricket Committee, which had asked it to "take more control" over DRS.
In bilateral cricket, the norm followed is that the home broadcaster usually pays for DRS and, in some rare cases, the home board contributes some amount or pays fully for the technology. However, going forward, the CEC suggested that the ICC pay a set amount of money per day of the match. Sharing the costs would help the ICC ensure the technologies used are consistent with the standards recommended by the MIT team, even as the home board will have the final word on the technology provider being used for a series.
"The Chief Executives' Committee agreed to the principle of a consistent use of DRS technology across all international cricket," the ICC said in a release on Saturday. "A full implementation plan will be considered by the ICC Cricket Committee in May before approval in June 2017 for roll-out from October 2017."
Another significant decision approved by the CEC was use of DRS in T20 internationals for the first time. The 2018 Women's World T20, to be played in the West Indies, will be the first ICC event in the shortest format to have DRS. There has been an outcry among some of the member boards, who have sought the use of DRS in bilateral T20 internationals.
This is a big shot in the arm for Richardson and ICC considering they have been pushing for consistent DRS for a while. The one big challenge the ICC had faced was the opposition by BCCI, which had strong reservations against the ball-tracking technology in DRS. The Indian board said the technology was not perfect but changed its mind in October when it decided to use DRS on a trial basis in the five-Test series and ODIs against England at home. India captain Virat Kohli, also gave a thumbs-up to DRS, which is now likely to be used in the one-off Test against Bangladesh and the four-match Test series against Australia in March.
The issue came to light as recently as last month during England's three-match T20I series in India. After being edged out in a last-over finish in the second T20I in Nagpur by India, England lodged a written complaint with the ICC match referee against an Indian on-field umpire for ruling Joe Root lbw despite an inside edge. England captain Eoin Morgan was dismayed at the unavailability of reviews in the T20Is.
"The fact it's not [available] is a concern. There is as much on the line as there is in a Test or a one-day match so no reason why it shouldn't be used," Morgan said.
At this week's CEC, member boards discussed whether use of DRS in bilateral T20s could form part of the series agreements. However, there was no substantial discussion on the use of the system in the format outside of the World T20. A final discussion will be held during the Cricket Committee meeting in May. It was also decided that DRS will be used in the Champions Trophy in June and in all televised matches of the Women's World Cup.
Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo