IPL news January 29, 2016

BCCI mulling scaled down version of DRS for IPL

BCCI's decision appears to have been prompted by the recent softening of stance by the Indian team towards the system © PTI

In what is a significant departure from its stubborn resistance to the Decision Review System, the BCCI has initiated discussions about the use of the system in IPL 2016. Rajeev Shukla, the chairman of the IPL governing council, said there has been a proposal to adopt the system minus the referrals for lbw decisions.

A member of the IPL governing council, who present at the meeting in Mumbai on Friday, said the discussions were still at a preliminary stage. "This [discussion on introducing DRS] came up a few years ago as well, when the ICC insisted that we try it. But it met with a lot of opposition," he said. "Now, we are looking at the option of using it again, without the lbw element. Of course, there needs to be a lot of technical discussion on this before we go forward. This will continued to be discussed in subsequent meetings."

The BCCI's change of heart - it has come a long way since the time former president N Srinivasan labelled it a "faulty" system - appears to have been prompted by the recent softening of stance by the Indian team towards the system. While Test captain Virat Kohli said during the Bangladesh tour last year that he was open to discussing the matter with his team, R Ashwin said he wouldn't mind a DRS without an umpire's call.

"Personally speaking, I don't agree with the concept of umpire's call," Ashwin had told ESPNcricinfo. "Cricketers are not rocket scientists. Let's keep it that simple. Do you think in 15 seconds the captain standing at mid-off will be able to say it is not umpire's call? If you want to make the game a better place, either trust the technology completely or don't."

MS Dhoni, the limited-overs captain, had briefly suggested during the Brisbane Test in late 2014 at a kinder view towards the DRS if it wasn't used to justify the decision of the umpires. But, during the recent ODI series against Australia, India could have overturned the decision - had DRS been in place - to reprieve George Bailey, who went on to score a match-winning hundred in Perth.

Dhoni reiterated his general mistrust of the DRS rule. "It could have [changed the course of the match] but at the same time we need to push the umpires to make the right decisions," he had said. "You have to see how many 50-50 decisions don't go in our favour. It always happens, then you have to take it. But I am still not convinced about DRS."

Dhoni also felt there were too many variables involved for the teams to factor in while using the system. "There are quite a few deviations," he had observed. "Even the makers agree that can happen. Now you have to also take into account whether it was given not out or out. If it was given out it needs to touch the stump [for the decision to remain out]; if it was not out it needs to hit half the stump [to be given out]. That itself makes the variable too big. In cricket every inch, every millimetre, matters."

Dave Richardson, the ICC chief executive, had said in June last year that he was confident of getting the BCCI on board, with the technology being perfected over time.

"Ideally we want to be uniform but we are not there yet. What Geoff [Allardice, ICC general manager] is arranging is the testing of the technology so that everyone believes and trusts what the technology is supposed to be delivering is accurate and reliable," he said. "Once we get over that hurdle, the confidence in the DRS will grow and eventually we will end up with everybody accepting it.

India have used DRS only twice in a bilateral series. The first of those was on the tour of Sri Lanka in 2008, where the team felt most of the 50-50 decisions went against them. Three years later, in England, the system was partially adopted with only the hot spot and audio technology being used.

Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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