Decision Review System June 25, 2011

DRS technology expensive, unreliable - Niranjan Shah

ESPNcricinfo staff

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."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on June 28, 2011, 6:17 GMT

    @Deepanjan Datta - $60k per match NOT per day. This means maybe as much as $12k per day. The comment Shah said is very deceptive. One of the articles mentioned a price more like $5k per day. So the comment "...about 65 Tests and 170 ODIs were played around the world. Multiply those numbers with $60,000..." is completely wrong. Also - most ODIs did not use UDRS last year. Also - once the technology becomes mandatory, economies of scale will mean that will come down in price too. Also the comment "...It would be a staggering amount for one or two decisions in a match..." Is plain ignorant. In Tests, there can be many more then a couple of referrals. Particularly if they are upheld. Its easy to think that there could be at least 5 to 10 decisions a day used by UDRS. On top of that decisions not referred but looked at by the technology is important in establishing umpire accuracy.

  • Andrew on June 28, 2011, 6:07 GMT

    @AjaySridharan - re: opposing UDRS. They oppose quite possibly because they want a share of the action & have yet to come up with the technology to match Hawk-eye. Don't believe me? Think ICL! Self Interest? Think the Modi-IPL scandal where all the decision makers (well a lot of them), somehow have interests in the franchises. @Sanjeev_Talwani - 90% of the money hey? Hmmm sounds like you made that one up. Well when you get 80,000 people lobbing up to a test match - (Boxing Day Test 1st Day), talk to me about revenue raising! LOL!

  • vijay on June 27, 2011, 21:28 GMT

    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?.. hmmmm interesting point. though i thought the second team can go for reviews if first team is done with their reviews :D

  • Anand on June 27, 2011, 18:03 GMT

    I dont know much about Mr Shah but his arguments seem very logical and very reasonable. People are crticizing because it is fashionable to do so and they are used to it - BCCI has got to be the villain, right? They have a lot of issues to be sorted, no doubt but like someone pointed have you really thought why BCCI is opposing - what is there for THEM to gain ??? Not using DRS guarantees the Indian side anything ? Some nincompoops have even suggested maybe that is why India won the wc, etc etc! The decision to use DRS WITHOUT hawkeye/virtualeye is a great decision - Finally !!! Looking forward to that from next series.

  • Dummy4 on June 27, 2011, 13:47 GMT

    First Shah says it's $60,000 per match: "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." Then later he says: "A $1000 a day should be fine. Not $60,000 a day." That's a big difference. It makes one feel that he doesn't know what he's talking about... And indeed, today when the ICC's decision for mandatory DRS was announced, they said the cost was much lower- more like $5000 per day. Also, the "one or two decisions" per game thing is inaccurate: there have certainly been more than one or two in the recent West Indies games... Plus doesn't having the DRS technology in place benefit the umpires as well? Am I wrong, or don't the umpires also have the option of electing to use the DRS technologies if they are unsure?

  • Aaron on June 26, 2011, 20:22 GMT

    this makes no sence. how ridiculous it would be if a team were allowed unlimited udrs challenges as Shar suggests. every call would be challenged, even bowled out in chance of a no-ball. the BCCI will be the death of cricket

  • Ajay on June 26, 2011, 19:46 GMT

    A few things baffle me. Everyone is criticizing Shah for the economic stance he has taken. Can someone explain what BCCI stands to gain by opposing the system...that they can save ~1MM for the tests India plays?...come on guys, that's peanuts for BCCI. I think Shah has a point. That is a lot of money for 4 decisions in an innings. There is no incentive for anyone to use it...i'm wondering why the other boards are not opposing it. Shah's argument that the technology should become cheaper is company is going to invest to bring down the cost of a technology that only benefits a minority sport like cricket. Now what would be interesting is if BCCI is secretly nurturing a home grown tech company that will come out with a competing low cost technology! Then again, I don't see anything wrong with it...just makes business sense. Let's get and I would weigh the pros and cons of such an expenditure if it were our own business! So far, cost outweighs the pros

  • Dummy4 on June 26, 2011, 19:46 GMT

    Regardless of the political sharks they are and economic arm-twisting BCCI does - there are couple of pertinent points here .. (a) The financial viability - $60k a day isn't peanuts. Armchair critics from SA, ENG, PAK or SL can point that BCCI with it's deep pockets shouldn't have to worry. But what about other boards? A test match held anywhere other than IND and AUS doesn't make that kind of money. Period. ( b) Uniformity - any system which wasn't clear even to umpires and players officiating in World Cup, and can be used only 4/6 times a match isn't helping the officiating. Either use it for the entire match or don't.

  • maj on June 26, 2011, 18:48 GMT

    BCCI currently do not want DRS, any resons or arguments they put forward are in line with that stance. The objection now is on the economic model, however when they were asked if they wanted DRS to be used in their comming series with England they towed the same line (when money was not an issue, it was reliability). Excuses, excuses & excuses for political and personal gain. What grass roots investement have the BCCI made in the emerging nations, to sit on thier high horses suddenly and try to suggest they are objecting on the gorund of benefiting or saving international cricket ? ?

  • Mallik on June 26, 2011, 18:46 GMT

    Guys, don't we know that everything with the BCCI is about money. Is it going to turn a profit if it invests 60000$ a test match? What are the returns? Are the people going to watch test cricket more if the umpiring decisions are made right, thereby translating into more money to BCCI? If BCCI believes it'll make even a 1$ profit by investing 60000$ then DRS will make sense to it and it is going to claim it is the best technology in the world. This is the same organization that has two "strategic timeouts" in the midde of the T20 game to make money. Figure out what it cares about. IPL was never about cricket and I am going to think BCCI is not about cricket unless it does something to make me believe otherwise.

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