Decision Review System June 23, 2011

Countries should outvote BCCI on DRS - Boycott

The Decision Review System (DRS) should be made mandatory and India's resistance to the system must be overcome by a majority vote in the ICC, Geoff Boycott, the former England batsman, has said. The BCCI has consistently opposed the DRS, claiming it is not willing to implement a system that isn't 100% foolproof. Even though this may be a minority view, Boycott said India's clout in international cricket meant many countries would fear offending the BCCI before anything came up for a vote in the ICC.

"If a majority of the ICC countries believe that the DRS is a good improvement for international cricket, they should vote for it and say, 'Sorry India, you are in a minority.' It's supposed to be a democracy around the world, where the majority takes precedence," Boycott said on ESPNcricinfo's fortnightly audio show Bowl at Boycs. "But there is fear to offend, and some countries are totally afraid to offend India. The sooner they get around to it and say, 'No. Since a majority of us believe it is good, we're going to do it,' the better. Simple as that. India won't like it, but you can't be run by one country."

The ICC cricket committee, in May, made a series of recommendations that will be discussed and voted on during the ICC's annual conference in Hong Kong later this month. Among them is the proposal to implement the system in all Tests, and in ODIs as well but with a limit of one failed review instead of two. Even if the DRS had widespread approval, Boycott said the decision to vote in favour of it was not going to be easy for many member boards. "Many countries that play cricket are frightened to death of India's financial power. You've got to understand that before you get to voting on anything at the ICC."

India are a major draw whenever they play and wherever they tour. The last decade has transformed this phenomenon into the BCCI's financial leverage in cricket. The potential television revenue to be gained by hosting India was something cash-strapped boards would hesitate to risk losing by taking an opposing stance against the BCCI, Boycott said. "When you play international cricket, every country has its own television rights with its home broadcaster. When India come, you've got a number of TV stations queuing up in India to get the rights to beam the coverage in India and they pay a lot of money for that. Other countries don't have the same financial buying power.

"So nobody wants to offend India. Nobody wants to create a situation where they say, 'We're not going to tour.' I'm not saying India say that, and I'm not saying India are putting the pressure on and blackmailing; they don't. But, underneath, these countries are frightened to speak up."

Boycott conceded that the game's traditional decision-makers, England and Australia - two strong supporters of the DRS - had an unfair say in the governance of cricket for a long time, but that didn't mean India should follow suit just because the balance of power has tilted. "If you believe it was wrong earlier... and there are some people like my friend Sunil Gavaskar. He says that England and Australia ran the Imperial Cricket Conference, when it was called that, and he's right. They used to have two votes each, the other countries had one. That wasn't fair and it wasn't right. Now everybody has one vote.

"If it wasn't right back then, two wrongs don't make a right. It's about time the other countries stood up and said, 'We're going to have the DRS because it's made more accurate decisions for cricket and it's all players ever want.'"

Siddhartha Talya is a sub editor at ESPNcricinfo