ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

DRS in World Cup 2011

The Decision Review System in numbers

A look at the teams and the umpires who have handled the DRS better than the others

S Rajesh

March 8, 2011

Comments: 39 | Text size: A | A

Daniel Vettori directs team-mates during practice, Chennai, February 14, 2011
New Zealand are still searching for their first successful DRS intervention in this World Cup © AFP

The Decision Review System has evoked plenty of controversy in the World Cup so far, but even its strongest critic will agree that the system has helped reduce errors. A good example was the match between Canada and Pakistan, when the reviews prevented as many as five errors. The effectiveness of the DRS was on display much earlier, in the fourth match of the tournament, when three decisions were reviewed in Australia's match against Zimbabwe, and on each occasion the on-field umpire's call was reversed. (Check the match notes below each scorecard for the details.)

Along the way there have been problems, with the ICC making it more difficult for themselves and the umpires by changing guidelines midway into the tournament. A lot of good has still come out of the system, though, and a fair number of decisions have been overruled already: an average of more than one decision per game has been overturned after the third umpire has taken a close look at the replays. In 23 matches in the World Cup so far, the DRS has been used 96 times, of which the umpires' original decision has been reversed 27 times. (With better technology, that number would have been even higher.) Even in its current form, the system has helped: apart from reducing the errors, it has also helped reduce the rancour on the field as it does away with the sense of perceived injustice. For the purposes of this article, though, let's just look at the numbers in terms of the decision-making.

The success rate of 28.13% means a little more than one out of every four decisions reviewed goes in favour of the team which asks for the review. That isn't a very high number, considering the fact that you'd expect a team to exercise that option only when they're fairly sure they've been wronged, but often teams have gone for that option out of sheer desperation, or when they have nothing to lose.

This also means the on-field umpire has got it right 71.87% of the time, which is a reasonable percentage considering these are usually marginal decisions. Due to the imperfect technology, more than one incorrect decision hasn't been corrected despite the replays, but overall these numbers offer an idea of how the system has been used so far.

The table below shows that the reviews asked for by batsmen have yielded greater success than those summoned by the fielding team, which is as you'd expect since batsmen usually know when they've been wrongly given out. One out of every three reviews asked by a batsman has been overturned, while that ratio is about one in four for the fielding side.

Overall stats for the DRS
  Reviews Successful Unsuccessful % successful appeals
Fielding team 51 13 38 25.49
Batting team 45 14 31 31.11
Overall 96 27 69 28.13

Some of the resentment with the DRS in the World Cup has also been because all the means available to make a correct decision are not being used. It's been particularly difficult to overturn not-out decisions for caught-behind appeals due to the absence of Hot Spot - Mahela Jayawardene arguably benefited from this loophole twice in an innings against Canada. The only caught-behind review when a not-out decision has been overturned in this World Cup was when Graeme Smith was given out against England. The other successful caught-behind review was when JP Duminy appealed after being given out against England, and won a reprieve. Not surprisingly, only eight times have teams appealed against a caught-behind verdict.

DRS for lbws and catches in the World Cup so far
Dismissal type Reviews Successful Unsuccessful % successful
Catch 8 2 6 25.00
LBWs - Fielding team 48 12 36 25.00
LBWs - Batting team 40 13 27 32.50
LBWs - Overall 88 25 63 28.41

And now for the performances of the teams with respect to the DRS. All teams have a success rate of less than 50%, but the best among the lost are the South Africans, who've got three out seven correct. Canada wouldn't have had too much experience of this system before the World Cup, but they've got used to the system pretty quickly, getting five correct out of 12. India haven't used the DRS much either, but their numbers aren't as good - only one correct out of six, though they'll feel aggrieved they didn't get the Ian Bell lbw decision in that tied game. The two teams with a 100% unsuccessful record so far are New Zealand and Ireland

The match in which the review was used most often was the one between Pakistan and Canada, when Pakistan called for it seven times and Canada tried it thrice, for a match total of ten. The next highest is eight, in that cliffhanger between England and South Africa. Most often, though, reviews have been used four to five times in a match, with nine games out of 23 falling in this category.

There's been no game in this World Cup so far when the review hasn't been used. Only in two matches - Bangladesh's games against India and West Indies - has the review been called upon just once.

Team-wise DRS stats in the World Cup so far
Team Reviews Successful Unsuccessful % successful
South Africa 7 3 4 42.86
Canada 12 5 7 41.67
Australia 5 2 3 40.00
Zimbabwe 8 3 5 37.50
Pakistan 12 4 8 33.33
Kenya 10 3 7 30.00
West Indies 4 1 3 25.00
England 9 2 7 22.22
Sri Lanka 5 1 4 20.00
Bangladesh 5 1 4 20.00
Netherlands 5 1 4 20.00
India 6 1 5 16.67
Ireland 4 0 4 0.00
New Zealand 4 0 4 0.00

The DRS is also a way to judge umpires, though two factors make this a task fraught with danger: so far the sample sizes for decisions reviewed per umpire are small - an argument which applies to team stats as well - and the lack of some technology means a few incorrect decisions don't get corrected by the review and end up skewing the numbers.

Among the umpires who've had their decisions reviewed at least four times, two have a 100% record in terms of never having their decisions overturned. Aleem Dar and Billy Bowden are on top, while Simon Taufel and Shavir Tarapore aren't far behind.

Most of the umpires have pretty good success rates, but for four of them, the percentage of correct decisions on reviews is less than 60%. Amiesh Saheba has had his original decision overturned four times out of nine, for Tony Hill it's three out of six, while Daryl Harper and Asoka de Silva are the only ones with a sub-50% success. Harper's decisions were overturned four out of six times in that game between Pakistan and Canada, while de Silva has had every one of his four decisions reversed when it has gone up for review.

DRS stats for umpires in the World Cup so far*
Umpire Matches Reviews Decision upheld Decision reversed % upheld
Aleem Dar 3 5 5 0 100.00
Billy Bowden 3 4 4 0 100.00
Simon Taufel 3 6 5 1 83.33
Shavir Tarapore 2 6 5 1 83.33
Richard Kettleborough 2 5 4 1 80.00
Billy Doctrove 2 5 4 1 80.00
Asad Rauf 4 9 7 2 77.78
Rod Tucker 3 9 7 2 77.78
Kumar Dharmasena 3 4 3 1 75.00
Nigel Llong 2 7 5 2 71.43
Amiesh Saheba 3 9 5 4 55.55
Tony Hill 3 6 3 3 50.00
Daryl Harper 2 9 4 5 44.44
Asoka de Dilva 2 4 0 4 0.00
* Includes umpires who've had their decisions reviewed at least 4 times in this World Cup.

All numbers updated till the match between Canada and Kenya on Monday, March 7.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. The collation of data for the DRS was done by Sanjay Murari.

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Comments: 39 
Posted by   on (March 9, 2011, 12:42 GMT)

I have never a doubt about Ashoka being the worst of all umpires now we have dharmasena fron SL he must quit. And so sad harper time is up also.

Posted by Tsotsi on (March 9, 2011, 8:36 GMT)

India have a 16.7% success rate - India are against the DRS, seems all too connected. It also brings up a question; if India are such bad judges of what is a good decision and what is not (verified by their bad success rate) then could this explain why they dislike the system? If they truly believe that a decision should be X and the DRS says Y then of course you will be wary of it. I draw your attention to the Indian fans who seem to have blinders on in some situations, could this be true of their national team and administrators? All I say is that the system is not there to replace the Umpire but to reduce the number of bad calls/mistakes.

Posted by venkyheros on (March 9, 2011, 8:35 GMT)

on-field umpire has got it right 71.87% of the time is not fair conclusion. decisions like last day hafeez "ball might touch top of the leg stump" many on-field calls which can go either way. and many reviews like "strauss on tie game were just tactical or checking luck even strauss knows it was out". statistics has to take those also in to consideration then we might see less than 40%...

Posted by   on (March 9, 2011, 3:24 GMT)

I agree with chahat thakkar as some decisons are unsuccessful as the right decison was made in the first place, also i think ireland have even used their reviews as a last resort in their innings (last wicket) against india even though the decision was plumb and obvious. These two factors have to be taken into account for a review of the referral system.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2011, 22:28 GMT)

@ShortMemory: Man, I initially beeve what you described to be a valid scenario. But I just read the rules myself and cant believe that such a glaring flaw exists. I cant imagine the repurcussions of sch a scenario if it arises in any match (need not be an India vs Australia final).

Posted by gandabhai on (March 8, 2011, 20:25 GMT)

Who needs urds when you have TOP umpires . Did anyone see the last S Africa v India test & 1 day series ? That is the standard of umpireing ICC must aim to achieve .

Posted by Quaser on (March 8, 2011, 16:45 GMT)

Seems that we are still missing the mathematical point here. The path that is drawn and shown on tv is mathematical calculation, a prediction. So when a ball hits pads 2.5m down the pitch, the mathematicians say they can't be certain that the line drawn for the ball on tv is correct. So even though the crowds shout out, "absolutely as show on tv" the path is a mathematical line with stong probabilities that it is inaccurate if the ball hit pads 2.5m down. So please, do not believe all that you see.

Posted by   on (March 8, 2011, 16:04 GMT)

Respect Aleem Dar!!!!! the best umpire of this cricket world!!!

Posted by   on (March 8, 2011, 14:57 GMT)

Its unfair to say that UDRS has 28.14% success rate. If something is true it is true. Please Don't give 71% credit to Umpires. Its absolutely wrong to divide 100% between these two, (Apple and Oranges). For me, UDRS is 100% correct and successful. Though I know ;) I am confusing between Success rate for winning team & Correctness of the system. but still. 100% division is wrong :)

Posted by   on (March 8, 2011, 13:38 GMT)

udrs talk without a mention on the 2.5 meter rule? :)) aleem dar way to go!

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.

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