BCCI blocks technology for England tour
India's forthcoming tour of England will take place without the use of the Decision Review System (DRS), after the Board for Control of Cricket in India officially informed the England & Wales Cricket Board that they would be unwilling to embrace the use of technology.
The news comes as a blow to England, who - despite some teething problems on their tours of West Indies and South Africa in recent years - have become increasingly astute in their use of the review system. Graeme Swann has been a particular beneficiary of Hawk-Eye replays, with 29.71% of his 138 Test wickets coming via lbw decisions, the highest proportion for an offspinner in Test history.
"The England team are comfortable with the use of DRS, but the BCCI have advised us that they won't be willing to sanction its use during the Test and one-day series," an ECB spokesman told ESPNcricinfo. "Both boards have to agree to the technology being in place for it to happen, so it doesn't look as though it will be used this summer."
DRS technology has been used without incident during the current Test series between England and Sri Lanka, with the addition of Hot Spot replays helping to diffuse a potentially controversial caught-behind verdict against Kumar Sangakkara in Cardiff. Despite no visible deviation through to the keeper, a thin white mark on the edge of Sangakkara's bat helped to confirm that he had touched the ball, and at the close of play, his captain Tillakaratne Dilshan conceded that the right decision had been reached.
India, by contrast, have been reluctant participants, most notably during the recent World Cup, when Ian Bell was ruled not out during the tied match against India, because the batsman had advanced more than 2.5m down the wicket, at which point the parameters for Hawk-Eye's tracking system are deemed unreliable. "The adulteration of technology with human thinking meant we didn't get that wicket," said India's captain, MS Dhoni, at the conclusion of the match.
Dhoni's outspoken opposition to DRS is backed by other senior players within the Indian squad, including Sachin Tendulkar, and as a consequence the BCCI is willing to take a stand on the issue. "Our official position on DRS remains unchanged," an Indian board official told ESPNcricinfo. "To implement UDRS you need the agreement between the two participating nations. Now with the BCCI not supporting DRS, the ECB cannot force it on us."
India's stance leaves the future of DRS in doubt, given that the ICC's cricket committee recommended in May that technology ought to be incorporated in all forms of the game. There had been moves to make DRS mandatory at the ICC's annual board meeting in June, but the BCCI's opposition will be hard to overcome.