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World Cup 2011

ICC tweaks 2.5 metre DRS rule for 'consistency'

Sharda Ugra

March 6, 2011

Comments: 33 | Text size: A | A

What the law says

  • If a 'not out' decision is being reviewed, in order to report that the ball is hitting the stumps, the evidence provided by technology should show that the centre of the ball would have hit the stumps on any part of the middle stump (previously "within an area demarcated by a line drawn below the lower edge of the bails and down the middle of the outer stumps").

The ICC has made a slight but significant alteration to the 2.5m rule, the most controversial segment of its decision review system (DRS) used in this World Cup, to enable more consistent application by the umpires. The change to the DRS rule No. 3.3 - which expands the umpire's scope for interpretation - follows its contrary usage in the first two weeks of the competition.

An ICC spokesperson confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that the umpires have "changed the protocol" in the clause to ensure a "consistency" of on-field umpires when using the DRS pertaining to not out lbw reviews.

A directive has gone out from the ICC's Umpires & Referees manager to all umpires that if an lbw appeal shows that even though there may be a distance between the stumps and the point of impact of 2.5m or greater, the on-field umpire can think of reversing the decision even if the replay shows that the ball is hitting "any part of the middle" stump.

The altered 2.5metre rule came into application during an lbw appeal against Alex Cusack, India v Ireland, Group B, World Cup 2011, Bangalore, March 6, 2011
The altered rule came into application during an lbw appeal against Alex Cusack in the India v Ireland game © Getty Images

The previous rule required that the leg-before could be reversed - by the on-field umpire - only if the replay showed that the ball was hitting the middle stump dead centre. This change in the 'protocol' was brought into play in the India v Ireland match in Bangalore, when umpire Rod Tucker reversed his lbw decision against Alex Cusack off the bowling of Yuvraj Singh. Tucker was heard on the stump microphone asking third umpire Marais Erasmus to let him know whether the ball was hitting "any part of the middle stump." The third umpire, it was confirmed, was also required to give the on-field umpire "all relevant information" during an lbw review and not merely specific pieces of information during the DRS process.

Teams had also been informed of this alteration in the rule and Yuvraj said later that while he "did not understand the 2.5 rule much", he knew it had been what he called "removed." He said the current rule stated that if, "the ball is hitting the line, it's out... I was just discussing it with Dhoni, so I took the referral."

The application of the same 2.5m rule had led to two contrasting reviews under the DRS last week, one involving Ian Bell - in England's match against India - and the other the Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura against New Zealand. Both batsmen were struck well forward from the stumps but the not out decision against Bell's was not overturned while Chigumbura was declared out.

The 2.5m clause was included in the DRS rules following the expert view that the predictive path of the ball-tracker technology (in this case Hawk Eye) lost its accuracy when the distance between the point of impact and the stumps was greater than 2.5m.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 33 
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Posted by Prasad on (March 8, 2011, 0:32 GMT)

The 40 cm rule has to be applied irrespective of how far from the stumps the impacted the batsman's body, like harbhajan's dismissal by bresnan in bangalore

Posted by Mihir on (March 7, 2011, 22:08 GMT)

So it looks like the HawkEye is now offering to work harder to help umpires in that it is claiming that it can be relied upon even if the point of impact is more than 2.5 m - provided it has got 40 cm of ball motion from point of bouncing to point of pad-impact to work with. But in requiring the ball to hit middle stump, it is not really making that much of an effort to make the speculation more concrete... If a ball is in line with the middle stump, it is not likely to be missing. So, it is not really helping the umpire as much as it claims, really.... Perhaps, if it could vouch for being able to make reliable predictions even if the ball were to be hitting leg or off stumps, it would be worth the cost of the technology. Otherwise, the umpire should be expected to be smart enough to be able to call an LBW, shouldn't he?

Posted by Big on (March 7, 2011, 19:59 GMT)

If hot-spot and snicko are more reliable but expensive to use, then let the advertiser pick-up the tab.

Posted by Ashok on (March 7, 2011, 19:54 GMT)

Firstly, ICC should restore the original name "UDRS" because it is really a review sytem of the Umpiring decision. Secondly, the Umpire has no right to over rule the Hawk eye decision, if the UDRS is to be taken seriously.Thirdly, ICC must clarify the applicability of the 2.5M rule to the intentional padding and whether ball has also got to be hitting any part of the middle stump, in case of intentional padding. Why does ICC presents its decisions in dribs & drabs thereby leaving itself exposed to more questions than provide answers? UDRS should be crystal clear with ro room for Umpires to supercede any part of it or scrap UDRS.

Posted by Dr Athar on (March 7, 2011, 18:49 GMT)

Age old conservatism versus lberalism arguments. All the verification is being done about the UDRS/Hawkeye. The mindless conservative approach says that if one can find anything slightly "imperfect" about the new technology, the old approach is better.

Has anyone thought of precision of ball tracking by humans. Haven't all of us, seen umpires declaring someone LBW even when they are within 2.5 meters of the stumps and the ball is clearly missing the stumps by not inches but feet. what about their precision and how is that better than hawkeye.

A calculator that rounds off numbers at 9th decimal is precisely one billion times more precise than a human guess. Here we are terming the "human guess" as more precise (I can only laugh).

Can we make some sense in UDRS? At least some, even little.

Posted by Mario on (March 7, 2011, 17:49 GMT)

In short though a DRS is paramount to the improvement of cricket and its globalization. In a world where complication is the new simple and suave; the public appeal towards cricket when using technology would be nothing short of positive. Cricket needs a DRS, and this is a good thing! How technology is used and implemented will improve with time, till then clench your teeth, play better shots, quit bit**ing and play the game right, that includes going with the flow and respecting the umpires decision, cos in the end every one gets the same treatment and the same DRS whether it might be Tendulkar or Kamande, Muralitharan or Tahir.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 7, 2011, 17:46 GMT)

Not a good idea to change rule mid way through the tourney. cud have atleast waited till the end of first round.

Posted by Mario on (March 7, 2011, 17:41 GMT)

it all depends on whether the ball is rising or falling at the distance of 2.5. lets say for example the batsmen is 2.5 meters out and the ball hits him in line of the middle stump but hits him low on the leg. regardless of whether its 2.5 or not it should be out since the ball will go on to hit the stumps. The problem occurs only when the ball is still rising and hit the batsmen high on the pads, which means if the batsmen is out 2.5 meters out there is ample space for the ball to rise higher.

The problem is that the hawk eye system does not accurately take into consideration the height at which the ball was delivered and the amount of bounce on the pitch, which would greatly alter decisions and the trajectory of the ball.

For it to improve i think there should be a system to access the pitch and give it a number 1-10 for the amount of bounce expected before every inning and take that into the calculation and then implement a maximum distance at which DRS can be used. Simple Physics

Posted by Mathew on (March 7, 2011, 17:10 GMT)

Despite ICC's initial protests, Dhoni's blunt assessment of the situation when Ian Bell was declared 'not out'based on the 2.5 mtr rule, seems to have hit home (and not just a raw nerve). I am glad they have reassessed the rule before more potential embarassments in crucial matches. You can bet your last penny that if there are such decisions in the knock-out stages, this world cup will come to be known as the "2.5 meter World Cup".

Posted by Goutham on (March 7, 2011, 16:26 GMT)

What a Shame!! the same ICC which stood by bowden's decision just a few days ago, changed its mind in no time. this shows absolute indecision and ineptness on the part of ICC to run the game efficiently. I hope Ian Bell decision will not come back to haunt India in its quest for the second cup victory. crossing the fingers. Shame on you Haroon Lorgat and ICC.

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