Universal DRS falls at board table
The universal application of the Decision Review System (DRS), which was recommended by the ICC's cricket committee and by its Chief Executives Committee, has met an expected and swift end at the ICC's Executive Board meeting in Kuala Lumpur. It is believed the issue was discussed at the meeting but was not put to a vote. The development came a day after India publicly and unambiguously repeated its opposition to DRS, when most other countries are believed to support it.
Those present at the meeting, which was chaired by ICC president Sharad Pawar, say the DRS question came and went without a murmur, with the BCCI being the sole objector to its universal acceptance. The issue was not put to an open vote despite support for the DRS from most Full Member nations as well as the majority of the playing community. The development effectively retained the DRS in its current form - a mutually agreed arrangement in bilateral series.
The motion for the universal application of the DRS was put to the Executive Board by the CEC on Monday, also through a "unanimous" non-vote, with the BCCI's opposing stance being noted and the matter not being put to vote. The CEC said it was satisfied with the improvements in technology in the fourth year of the DRS, which included new Hot Spot cameras and independent ball-tracking research.
It is understood that an appeal by a majority of the Full Member nations to the ICC for the sale of centralised rights to the DRS to a single sponsor was also not likely to gain traction due to the BCCI's opposition to the technology itself.
With the matter not being put to vote by the Executive Board, the DRS returned to the position it has held since October, when the Board overturned the decision it took at the 2011 ICC annual conference in Hong Kong. The cost of the system will still be borne primarily by the host broadcasters and technology providers, rather than the ICC, even though the DRS forms part of the umpiring operations.
Most of the other CEC recommendations, particularly the amendments to ODI regulations, were approved by the Executive Board. The only issue that raised some debate was cricket's inclusion in the Olympic Games via the Twenty20 format. The ECB was reportedly opposed to the idea.
The Executive Board will meet again on Wednesday to settle issues regarding a constitutional amendment, the fourth in 16 years, to the process of appointing the ICC president - making the presidency an annual ceremonial term and creating a parallel and more powerful post of chairman. Today's meetings were attended by the board presidents of the 10 Full Member nations and three representatives of Associate and Affiliate nations. It was chaired by Pawar, the outgoing president, along with the ICC vice-president Alan Isaac, the chief Executive Haroon Lorgat and the ICC's principal advisor IS Bindra.
Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo