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June 25, 2011
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In Focus: Technology in cricket
Players/Officials: Niranjan Shah
BCCI vice-president Niranjan Shah has criticised the Decision Review System (DRS) in its present form, saying it offers marginal gains for a technology that is exorbitant and not error-free. The Indian board's stand so far has centred on the perceived unreliability of the ball-tracking technology, but Shah has also questioned the economic feasibility of the system and the lack of competing technologies.
Shah's statements come ahead of the ICC's annual conference in Hong Kong, at which the cricket committee's recommendation that DRS be used in all Tests - a stand the BCCI disagrees with - will be considered.
"You have to look at the economics. Every board is not making money out of Test matches and ODIs. The system requires about $60,000 per match," Shah told DNA. "Last year, about 65 Tests and 170 ODIs were played around the world. Multiply those numbers with $60,000. It would be a staggering amount for one or two decisions in a match.
"The ICC can come up with such technology because the money is not going from its coffers. The member boards have to pay for it. There might be some matches in the world where the money coming in from the ticket collection will be less than the amount spent on DRS."
There are two companies that presently offer competing ball-tracking technologies, Hawk-Eye and Virtual Eye. Shah said more options were needed so that the technology could become affordable before it could be universally used. "I see some vested interests working here. Unless there are 10 different technologies and they become competitive and cheaper, we cannot adopt [the system]. A $1000 a day should be fine. Not $60,000 a day. That kind of money should go into the development of the game among the Associate members."
Shah also was not in favour of the manner in which the DRS is currently used, with teams allowed a maximum of two unsuccessful reviews per innings of a Test. "The DRS cannot be used for the whole game. If a team exhausts its options in the very first over, what happens then? For the rest of the innings, the team has to live without the system. If you can't have the system for the whole match, what is the use?
"If you want to use the technology throughout the match, then the game will never finish because the batsmen and bowlers will go on appealing. If there is a restriction, it won't justify the cost. Only the first few batsmen get the advantage. The others don't. Where is the fairness?"
Shah reiterated the BCCI's opposition to the ball-tracking technology, saying that it was the imagination of technology versus the imagination of the umpire. "They have to prove on what basis the tracking is going on, because every square centimetre of the pitch is different. If there is a human error, take the umpire to task.
"Even the accuracy level of the system is suspect. I'm told that the accuracy has gone up to 97% from 92%. It is not 100% still. I cannot fathom so much money spent for so little returns."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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