MCC news July 17, 2013

MCC restates that DRS is 'good for the game'

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The MCC's World Cricket Committee has restated its support of the DRS with a "unanimous" opinion of those present at its meeting at Lord's that the referral system can only improve umpiring decisions.

The MCC backing comes a day after the ICC issued an unprecedented release stating its support for the umpires and DRS in the wake of the criticism that emerged from the decisions taken during the first Investec Ashes Test at Trent Bridge last week.

The world cricket committee, which included the ICC's chief executive Dave Riahardson, and eminent former cricket players like Steve Waugh, Geoffrey Boycott, Michael Atherton and Shaun Pollock, discussed the Trent Bridge Test at length and felt that the mistakes that occurred were more of operational nature and DRS could not be blamed.

Kumble and Dravid, the two Indians on the cricket committee, did not attend the meeting at which "unanimous" support for DRS was expressed. India has always been the most sceptical country about DRS and the BCCI refuses to sanction its use in bilateral series.

The MCC's world cricket committee has always whole-heartedly supported the DRS in the belief that it improves the quality of decision making.

An MCC statement said: "It was a unanimous view of all members of the World Cricket committee present at its meeting that the Decision Review System works, and undoubtedly helps the umpires to bring about more correct decisions on the field.

"Incidents at the recent England v. Australia Test Match at Trent Bridge were discussed. The committee was unanimous in its opinion that it was the poor implementation of DRS that led to the controversies, rather than the system itself. Human error will always play a part in the game for both players and umpires but the DRS is successful in limiting this."

On Tuesday, the ICC revealed calculations that in Nottingham last week, the umpiring team of Aleem Dar, Kumar Dharmasena and tv umpire Marais Erasmus made a total of 72 decisions, which was well above the average (49) for a DRS Test match.

According to the ICC assessment the trio made seven errors during the match, out of which three were uncorrected decisions and four decisions werecorrected using the DRS. It concluded that correct decision percentage before reviews stood at 90.3% but climbed to 95.8% as a result of the use of the DRS. This represented an increase of 5.5% in correct decisions, which was the average increase from DRS Test matches in 2012-13.

Regardless, DRS debate has only gathered more steam. Brad Haddin, the Australian vice-captain, opined that the best way to make use of the DRS was to take it out of the players hands.

Mark Nicholas was one prominent analyst and commentator who countered that handing DRS over to the umpires was a "simplistic" solution which would wreck the rhythm of the game by introducing endless stoppages to check decisions.

One development proposed by the MCC's world cricket committee was for the ICC to own the DRS and implement it universally - India included.

The statement said: "With the DRS, more correct decisions are being made (generally DRS improves correct decision making by about five percentage points in Test cricket) and so the committee strongly reiterates its desire to see the universal implementation of the system in international cricket matches.

"The DRS is not perfect, but it improves decision making and adds to the spectator experience, which is good for the game. A further benefit from universal use would be the ownership of the whole process by ICC rather than by television companies."

The MCC world cricket committee consists of: Mike Brearley (chairman), Jimmy Adams, Mike Atherton, Geoffrey Boycott, Steve Bucknor, Rahul Dravid, Charlotte Edwards, Majid Khan, Anil Kumble, Rod Marsh, Shaun Pollock, Barry Richards, Dave Richardson, Kumar Sangakkara, Michael Vaughan, Steve Waugh.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo