ICC news August 3, 2013

India in discussions over DRS compromise


India have been offered a compromise solution in an effort to persuade them to accept the Decision Review System so it can be universally adopted at international level.

The BCCI currently refuses to sanction use of the DRS in series involving India and, under the chairmanship of N Srinivasan at the ICC, has declined the recommendation of the ICC'S cricket committee to embrace the DRS in all formats of the game at international level.

Supporters of DRS are optimistic, however, that the BCCI's attitude to the issue has softened and believe that misgivings are now less about the technology and more about the number of reviews allowed in each innings.

At present, two unsuccessful reviews are allowed in each Test innings but private discussions have led some to believe that the BCCI favours unlimited reviews.

Unlimited reviews are likely to remain unacceptable to the ICC on the grounds that it risks slowing the pace of the game and encourages speculative use of the system.

But a compromise has been suggested whereby a side would not lose one of its two reviews if its appeal only failed on the basis of "umpire's call" - the margin of error built in to give the on-field umpires the benefit of the doubt in marginal decisions.

The BCCI declined to comment, but a spokesman did admit that they had been in discussions with the ICC over the issue "for a while."

It may also be relevant that Jagmohan Dalmiya is currently the acting president of the BCCI in the absence of Srinivasan, who temporarily stepped aside to ensure no perception of bias while the BCCI looked into allegations of spot fixing within the IPL.

The ICC has also sponsored testing of various ball-tracking methods in recent times, with the results generally vindicating faith in the system.

The timing of the news that universal introduction of DRS is back on the agenda is still surprising. The current Investec Ashes series between England and Australia has contained several umpiring controversies and highlighted deficiencies with the DRS system. Indications are that discussions began before the series and may be difficult to maintain.

But while the ICC have accepted there have been problems during the Ashes, they feel they have been caused more by failures in protocols or human error than problems with the technology.

As a result of the problems, the ICC will consider developing specialist TV umpires and are also using the current Ashes series to trial an updated system whereby the TV umpire will have access to more images and technology than ever before rather than being reliant on the broadcaster to provide a limited number of images.

It is also possible that overseas umpires could be invited to officiate in county cricket. Up to four or five umpires may be accommodated for up to a season at a time in order for them to gain experience and add to the number of officials eligible to stand in Ashes series.

At present the ICC's elite list of international umpires contains only four men who can stand in Tests between England and Australia due to the neutrality rules that prevent on-field or TV umpires officiating in games involving their home nation.

Billy Bowden, the New Zealand umpire removed from the elite list in June after some modest performances, may be reinstated in a bid to ease the burden on the four officials involved in the back-to-back Ashes series, and there is an acceptance from the ICC that further reinforcements are required.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jo on August 7, 2013, 4:05 GMT

    @Smithie: It is not the question of DRS technology in most part. Its about what are the resources DRS depend upon. If the media resources are used, then they will have the say in missing captures or partial captures, which make DRS helpless. It has to have certain number of rendered frames to make sure the whole incident is captured fully and available fully for the referee/umpire to visualize clearly. That itself is a question now, and very visibly the issue in on going ashes. Let ICC provide a standalone umpire package with their standalone/non-shared resources. Then, yes it can be used as a mandatory requirement. Until then, let ICC spend time and money on it to make it stable and standalone affordable package for the hosts (SURELY NOT COMBINED WITH MEDIA RIGTS).

  • Steve on August 6, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    Hope ICC can make DRS mandatory for international matches. The hosting country should bear the costs of setting up. ICC should provide assistance to those countries that may not have the financial wherewithal.

  • Chathura on August 6, 2013, 5:07 GMT

    A good call that it doesn't waste a review on "umpires call". Two reviews in an innings of a test is the optimum amount, i guess. Other than that captains may go for more and more reviews and it will kill the over rate as the writer has stated here. Technology is a good thing. Every sport should move on with it. It can correct human errors and can make most fair decision than the on field umpire who sees the incident just split of a second. But there should be available all the tools including hot-spot, snico and hawk-eye view. The most recent decision review case was that KP was ruled out in the Eng's 1st innings of 3rd Ashes by the on-field umpire. KP took time to go for a review, coz he didn't feel that he had an inside edge. There was a tiny hot-spot appeared but it was not enough to turn down the on field umpires call. But lately Snico did show the edge. So it is mandatory to see the snico in a DRS, not lately but on time.

  • Dummy4 on August 5, 2013, 19:17 GMT

    The best option on DRS et al - trash DRS & the 3rd umpire. Both sides may have 2 / 3 of their own members watching on TV, allowed as many replays as they can get within 30 secs. The fielding side may withdraw the appeal. After the fielding side appeals, the batsman may be asked to walk (by his team-mates). If the side suffering the error spots an incorrect decision any time before the next break, they can simply say what would have happened upto the break, the match continues after the break as though what they said had happened. Nobody will have the guts to claim borderline / half-volley catches as if they are sure, batsmen who nick will not wait, umpires will be left with the necessary mental peace to actually decide on the actually borderline / tough decisions.

  • Dummy4 on August 5, 2013, 17:03 GMT

    I think ICC should remove hotspot and use only a snicko

  • Dummy4 on August 5, 2013, 14:57 GMT

    To improve the DRS system, ICC need to do the following to remove its teething problems : "To implement the DRS they need to Paint the Crease with Yellow or Red or Phosporscent colors, have Crease or Front Crease Call men at the end of the Crease on the both sides of the wicket and and at both ends, just like is the system in Tennis courts from where the idea has been taken and being used in Cricket for the Run out and Stumping Decisions. Also the Ball should have a "LED" inbuilt that can light up on contact with the bat or vice versa the Cricket Bat should have the LED that lights up on contact with ball, which is better probability since the Bats being so large can have a Micro Electronics Chip with LED installed in it to remove all doubts and so that Umpires with eyesight problem can see the light and if they are "ColorBlind" should be provided with Color code scheme to judge the decisiion.

  • John on August 5, 2013, 14:47 GMT

    @ProdigyA please give an instance where DRS TECHNOLOGY has been incorrect. There have been a very few instances where hotspot has failed to register feathers but there have been more examples where it has overturned incorrect onfield umpires decisions. The objective is to MINIMISE umpiring errors - not eradicate them. DRS technology has improved cricket. DRS human protocols need revision because it is in this area that the vast majority of the angst is arising

  • Dummy4 on August 5, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    The ICC will go to any length in saying the DRS is not the problem and it is Human error in the ongoing Investec Ashes Series, India should stick to its NO Use of DRS as it is not a "failproof" system and the 2 reviews or 10 reviews will make no difference if the Umpires continue to do the "Human Error" 10 out 10 times.

  • Shiv on August 5, 2013, 13:34 GMT

    The DRS itself is going thru its worst possible crisis since its inception. The number of howlers that DRS is making during the Ashes is ridiculous and we are bare halfway through it. It seems the umpires are a bit more relaxed because of the DRS which inturn is failing terribly. Its becoming a lose-lose situation. Even today KP's dismissal was again another fail by DRS.

  • Dummy4 on August 5, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    I think the idea given by the ICC to BCCI is much better side would not lose one of its two reviews if its appeal only failed on the basis of "umpire's call" - the margin of error built in to give the on-field umpires the benefit of the doubt in marginal decisions.