March 3, 2011

Grey is the colour of the DRS

The review system is still mired in controversy, as the Ian Bell reprieve and its fallout show
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By some cosmic design, it was India's lot to be on the wrong end of one of the peculiarities of the Decision Review System (the "U" has been dropped in deference to the sentiments of the umpires) in the World Cup, to ignite the first umpiring controversy of the World Cup.

Ian Bell looked so out on the giant screen, he had started walking. Apparently none of the players - certainly neither MS Dhoni nor Andrew Strauss - were aware of the regulation that reprieved Bell, who was originally given not out to a leg-before appeal, a decision that was challenged by the Indians. Though the replays suggested the ball was heading towards middle stump, by rule this evidence wasn't deemed conclusive since the impact had been 2.5 metres down the wicket.

Do you have to read that all over again for it to make sense?

Now consider this: this regulation was apparently introduced on account of misgivings expressed about the tracking technology by the players.

Of course Dhoni should have known the rules, which are the same for every team, but his lament about the "adulteration of technology with human thinking" had a philosophical resonance to it. That it has led to a mild skirmish between the ICC and the BCCI is perhaps predictable, but it would be unfortunate if the issue snowballs into yet another instance of the Indian board trying to impose its might on global cricket.

It is ironic that the BCCI, and an influential section of Indian players, should be the biggest opponents of the review system, which owes its genesis to a few glaring errors in the Sydney Test in 2008, which a majority of Indians perceived as a miscarriage of justice.

And while it is unacceptable that the same form of the game should played under different regulations - as is done in Tests involving India, or those played in Pakistan, where the broadcaster is unable to afford the required technology - it shouldn't obscure the case that the DRS, which is still evolving, has some serious questions hanging over it.

For the sake of clarity it is important to consider a couple of basic issues. What is the fundamental objective of the system? If man and machine are both liable are produce controversies, which kind are we more prepared to live with? What is more acceptable: mistakes produced by machines from which expect perfection, or from men whose fallibility is like our own?

The answer to the first question is straightforward. The review system was introduced to eliminate howlers of the kind seen in Sydney. But what it has led to instead is random, whimsical, and on many occasions ludicrous, challenges based on hope, desperation and sometimes just for the sake of it.

Anyone who has played or followed cricket seriously will agree that players and fans feel most aggrieved when mistakes to do with edges are made. When crowds are noisy, umpires are genuinely disadvantaged in this regard. But yet, a majority of challenges, in this World Cup and otherwise, have involved leg-before decisions. In some cases, blatantly wrong decisions have been corrected, but many cases have been marginal. The fundamental truth is that, given the predictive nature of the decision, both players and fans, however aggrieved they may feel at the time, are willing allow some latitude to the umpire. The machines are yet to convince anyone that they can, in absolute terms, separate black from white. There are challenges from the conditions, equipment, the men who operate the machines, and the distance between the point of impact and the stumps. Once we accept that grey exists, both in the case of man and machine, it comes down to a question of percentages. And what's more acceptable: errors by human or errors by machines.

It's always been my case that the makers of the DRS have it wrong in entrusting the predictive part of decision-making to machines that can neither deliver absolute results nor convince anyone that they are foolproof. Instead of asking the players and the fans to take a leap of faith, the game will be better off if the review system is restricted to areas where incontrovertible evidence is available. Tennis, the only other sport that uses ball-tracking technology, bases the review on visual evidence. Cricket has long used the camera for other line decisions without any grief. So should it be for lbws: pitch mats can also go wrong if the cameras are not positioned right, but that is something that can be controlled. Limiting the review to where the ball pitched and the point of impact would take conjecture out of the equation.

As Nasser Hussain pointed out on television after the Ian Bell incident, Indian fans must figure out which side of the line they stand on: they can't support their team's scepticism about ball-tracking technology, and also use the projection provided by the same technology to fulminate against the Bell decision

Of course the matter is not so simple. Fans and the media will see the projections and judge the umpires by them. And fans and the media, and indeed the players themselves, can be notoriously fickle. As Nasser Hussain pointed out on television after the Ian Bell incident, Indian fans must figure out which side of the line they stand on: they can't, on the one hand, support their team's scepticism about ball-tracking technology, and on the other, use the projection provided by the same technology to fulminate against the Bell decision.

The DRS has many other problems too. HotSpot, the technology players seem to trust more, isn't available everywhere, and is so expensive that many broadcasters can't afford it. There is still no resolution about who should pay for the technology (the broadcasters are right in their stand that their obligation is to the television viewer, not the ICC). Catches close to the ground are impossible to judge with the camera. And most fundamentally, the system isn't designed to deliver justice for all (two injudicious reviews by his team-mates can deny a player the chance to seek justice for himself).

The final question the administrators must themselves is: do they want to make a complex game more complex? What is the use of creating a new set of complications in trying sort out old ones? Let's take this clause as an example of how muddled things can get:

3.6. Dead ball
a) If following a Player Review request, an original decision of "Out" is changed to "Not Out", then the ball is still deemed to have become dead when the original decision was made (as per Law 23.1(a)(iii)). The batting side, while benefiting from the reversal of the dismissal, will not benefit from any runs that may subsequently have accrued from the delivery had the on-field umpire originally made a "Not Out" decision, other than any No Balls penalty that could arise under 3.3 (g) above.

But what happens if the ball crosses the boundary before the umpire decides to declare the batsman out, and the decision is then overturned to not out? Should the batting side then be denied legitimate runs? Or should, for sake of justice, the ball then be re-bowled, just as points are replayed in tennis?

The larger point is that the game can survive the odd mistake from the umpire. It faces far greater challenges with regard to the scheduling of the international calendar, on which the very future of the game depends, and in the shape of match-fixing, which threatens the integrity and the very soul of cricket.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ganeshn2 on March 6, 2011, 0:01 GMT

    To all, technology is absoultely trustworthy but within certain limitations( For Ex:2.5 m rule). Dhoni blabbered without even reading the clause. Whose fault was that? We have to understand though technology has its limitations, it is far efficient and precise than human error.

  • on March 5, 2011, 16:24 GMT

    Do any critic of UDRS know anything about statistics? Simply a player can throw a ball that can hit stumps with almost 100% hitting probability when he is 2 meters away from stumps This probability decreases to 5-10% if distance is increased to say 40-50 meters In technological context the error in technology is unacceptable beyond 2.5 meters May be ball is hitting the stumps may be not(in case of ian bell), so umpires decision must be respected

  • on March 5, 2011, 16:16 GMT

    before the WC, I was not sure why ind and dhoni were opposing the DRS. but after the "bell-drama" I think they have a point. Atleast in this WC context, the DRS makes no sense because 1) No hotspot or snicko. So, only edges where the ball shows discernible change in rotation/trajectory when passing the bat can be decided by DRS. But such cases wud usually be obvious...and for others DRS wont help! 2) in SL-Kenya match, 2 LBWs for malinga were really really close. So, close that the ball's direction of rotation at that instant cud hv caused it to miss the stump...with 2.5m rule, i dont think hawkeye really predicts the balls rotations...so those decisions were as reliable as an onfield umpire's.

  • on March 5, 2011, 6:54 GMT

    This very decision actually proves UDRS to be of great value. According to the DRS, it was an out. But the rule which was already defined took the precedence. How come this become a case against technology? ...It is case against the rule.

    All the well respected cricket analyst (players in the past) like Ian Chappel, Michael Holding are supportive of the UDRS. For me, not just surprising but disturbing thing is that Samit has totally ignored the positives it bring. I will choose Machine over Man in the most cases.

  • enigma77543 on March 5, 2011, 5:45 GMT

    Finally, someone with a similar opinion as mine. Agreed, IF drs is going to be used for LBWs then limit it only to where the ball is pitching & where it's hitting & let the THIRD-UMPIRE make the judgement about whether it'll hit the stumps or not, Hawkeye predictions are far too inconsistent to be relied upon. And there's nothing wrong with Indians not wanting drs & yet getting angry over the Bell decision. Well, if icc IMPOSES it on everyone then aren't they supposed to benefit from it, just because they opposed it? It's like getting the boundary-ropes in but not giving 6s to those who'd opposed the move in the first place.

  • Biso on March 5, 2011, 4:34 GMT

    To all those who are so prejuidiced against the Indians and fail to see the joke going on through UDRS: If Bell was not out when it was clear that the ball was hitting the middle stump just over 2.5 m away, how come Chigumbura was given out when the ball was hitting leg stump nearly 3 m away. What a joke. Whaever, the limitaion of the tracer technology, it will take some more time to improve and until then the umpires have to use their common sense. Now, it is clear to all that Billy got it wrong in the first place and after seeing the replay hid behind the 2.5 m rule as his ego got the better of him. Dhoni was dead right. These two contrasting decisions validate his point and there is egg on ICC's face over this issue. As for Dave Richardson's comments the less said the better. Get impartial and see for yourselves , what Dhoni said has come true.Do not let half baked info / prejudice get better of you.There is more to come unless ICC tells the umpires like Bowden to dump their egos.

  • sarathy_m2 on March 5, 2011, 3:03 GMT

    Nowadays everywhere decisions are made in a democratic way. So all positives and negatives of UDRS might have been discussed in ICC meetings before making a final call to setup rules. While every country has representatives in ICC, Why didnt the Indian representatives didnt raise these issues (e.g. 2.5 meter) before/after making the rules?

    We dont read the rules and dont analyse/discuss the consequences in appropriate place, but murmur afterwards. If India opposed the system but other countries in majority accepted, India must also accept the system.

    This article is a good analyse of UDRS in various angles, but this should've been done by our representatives in those meetings.

  • aruna260 on March 4, 2011, 23:37 GMT

    I think ICC should change the way DRS is used. Players should not be allowed to challenge the umpire. Before DRS, umpires were able to use TV repays to judge run outs and stumpings. Why not allow the on field umpire to consult the TV umpire for any decision he doubts. If umpires don't use technology adequately and makes wrong decisions they should be held accountable. Technology should be used by humans to improve their judgement and not let it take over.

  • ironmonkey on March 4, 2011, 22:47 GMT

    All of this begs the question : Why is the UDRS being introduced in international cricket (and a World Cup, no less), when it hasn't been tested at the domestic level?

  • kharsoom on March 4, 2011, 19:11 GMT

    I am just surprised that the supporter of "NO DRS IS NEEDED" slogan failed to noticed that the majority of decisions reversed by DRS were straight forward and yet missed by on-filed umpires. Unfortunately we can't get excellent umpire in every game and teams have no control over which umpire is going to supervise the game anyway, DRS gives an opportunity to the teams to review bad decisions. I would 100% agree that if technology is available why not use it. One bad decision (2.5 m rule) due to technical reason shouldn't be use to deny the overall benefit of the system. I fully support the use of technology and very upset that ICC didn't arrange the full use of technology during WC by not having hotspot. I think hotspot is most critical part of the DRS and it genuinely helps umpires. It would be very interesting to watch compilation of all DRS decisions at the end of the WC; I am sure some of the umpires must be embarrassed watching decisions made by them and eye opener for some others

  • ganeshn2 on March 6, 2011, 0:01 GMT

    To all, technology is absoultely trustworthy but within certain limitations( For Ex:2.5 m rule). Dhoni blabbered without even reading the clause. Whose fault was that? We have to understand though technology has its limitations, it is far efficient and precise than human error.

  • on March 5, 2011, 16:24 GMT

    Do any critic of UDRS know anything about statistics? Simply a player can throw a ball that can hit stumps with almost 100% hitting probability when he is 2 meters away from stumps This probability decreases to 5-10% if distance is increased to say 40-50 meters In technological context the error in technology is unacceptable beyond 2.5 meters May be ball is hitting the stumps may be not(in case of ian bell), so umpires decision must be respected

  • on March 5, 2011, 16:16 GMT

    before the WC, I was not sure why ind and dhoni were opposing the DRS. but after the "bell-drama" I think they have a point. Atleast in this WC context, the DRS makes no sense because 1) No hotspot or snicko. So, only edges where the ball shows discernible change in rotation/trajectory when passing the bat can be decided by DRS. But such cases wud usually be obvious...and for others DRS wont help! 2) in SL-Kenya match, 2 LBWs for malinga were really really close. So, close that the ball's direction of rotation at that instant cud hv caused it to miss the stump...with 2.5m rule, i dont think hawkeye really predicts the balls rotations...so those decisions were as reliable as an onfield umpire's.

  • on March 5, 2011, 6:54 GMT

    This very decision actually proves UDRS to be of great value. According to the DRS, it was an out. But the rule which was already defined took the precedence. How come this become a case against technology? ...It is case against the rule.

    All the well respected cricket analyst (players in the past) like Ian Chappel, Michael Holding are supportive of the UDRS. For me, not just surprising but disturbing thing is that Samit has totally ignored the positives it bring. I will choose Machine over Man in the most cases.

  • enigma77543 on March 5, 2011, 5:45 GMT

    Finally, someone with a similar opinion as mine. Agreed, IF drs is going to be used for LBWs then limit it only to where the ball is pitching & where it's hitting & let the THIRD-UMPIRE make the judgement about whether it'll hit the stumps or not, Hawkeye predictions are far too inconsistent to be relied upon. And there's nothing wrong with Indians not wanting drs & yet getting angry over the Bell decision. Well, if icc IMPOSES it on everyone then aren't they supposed to benefit from it, just because they opposed it? It's like getting the boundary-ropes in but not giving 6s to those who'd opposed the move in the first place.

  • Biso on March 5, 2011, 4:34 GMT

    To all those who are so prejuidiced against the Indians and fail to see the joke going on through UDRS: If Bell was not out when it was clear that the ball was hitting the middle stump just over 2.5 m away, how come Chigumbura was given out when the ball was hitting leg stump nearly 3 m away. What a joke. Whaever, the limitaion of the tracer technology, it will take some more time to improve and until then the umpires have to use their common sense. Now, it is clear to all that Billy got it wrong in the first place and after seeing the replay hid behind the 2.5 m rule as his ego got the better of him. Dhoni was dead right. These two contrasting decisions validate his point and there is egg on ICC's face over this issue. As for Dave Richardson's comments the less said the better. Get impartial and see for yourselves , what Dhoni said has come true.Do not let half baked info / prejudice get better of you.There is more to come unless ICC tells the umpires like Bowden to dump their egos.

  • sarathy_m2 on March 5, 2011, 3:03 GMT

    Nowadays everywhere decisions are made in a democratic way. So all positives and negatives of UDRS might have been discussed in ICC meetings before making a final call to setup rules. While every country has representatives in ICC, Why didnt the Indian representatives didnt raise these issues (e.g. 2.5 meter) before/after making the rules?

    We dont read the rules and dont analyse/discuss the consequences in appropriate place, but murmur afterwards. If India opposed the system but other countries in majority accepted, India must also accept the system.

    This article is a good analyse of UDRS in various angles, but this should've been done by our representatives in those meetings.

  • aruna260 on March 4, 2011, 23:37 GMT

    I think ICC should change the way DRS is used. Players should not be allowed to challenge the umpire. Before DRS, umpires were able to use TV repays to judge run outs and stumpings. Why not allow the on field umpire to consult the TV umpire for any decision he doubts. If umpires don't use technology adequately and makes wrong decisions they should be held accountable. Technology should be used by humans to improve their judgement and not let it take over.

  • ironmonkey on March 4, 2011, 22:47 GMT

    All of this begs the question : Why is the UDRS being introduced in international cricket (and a World Cup, no less), when it hasn't been tested at the domestic level?

  • kharsoom on March 4, 2011, 19:11 GMT

    I am just surprised that the supporter of "NO DRS IS NEEDED" slogan failed to noticed that the majority of decisions reversed by DRS were straight forward and yet missed by on-filed umpires. Unfortunately we can't get excellent umpire in every game and teams have no control over which umpire is going to supervise the game anyway, DRS gives an opportunity to the teams to review bad decisions. I would 100% agree that if technology is available why not use it. One bad decision (2.5 m rule) due to technical reason shouldn't be use to deny the overall benefit of the system. I fully support the use of technology and very upset that ICC didn't arrange the full use of technology during WC by not having hotspot. I think hotspot is most critical part of the DRS and it genuinely helps umpires. It would be very interesting to watch compilation of all DRS decisions at the end of the WC; I am sure some of the umpires must be embarrassed watching decisions made by them and eye opener for some others

  • Quaser on March 4, 2011, 18:01 GMT

    My suspician about the 2.5m rule is that the ball tracking works on algorythms based on probabilities. Maybe the guys writing the programme felt that the projections lose their accuracy - remember 99% confidence +- 1% of error - when they have to predict from so far away from the wicket. So please ask the mathematicians to solve this apparent problem, not players or the crowds.

  • voyager on March 4, 2011, 17:57 GMT

    Sorry Sumbit, What were you trying to say again?

    Overall (U)DRS is a good thing because;

    It further reduces the percentage of errors to a very low level Improves consistency and brings closure to the event

    Back in the old days of home country (non elite)umpires there use to be higher percentage of errors, even lesser consistency and bigger controversies

    System was improved on all counts with neutral umpires and then further with Elite umpires. (U)DRS is further incremental improvement.

    There still would be need of further improvements as our measuring system is getting more sensitive at the sametime. It is like that in other fields of life as well.

  • on March 4, 2011, 15:42 GMT

    There's no pleasing some people... Moan and whine when umpires make mistakes, moan and whine when the ICC introduce measures to make mistakes less likely. I wrote in a separate post on the same subject. Answer these two questions... 1) How many incorrect on-field decisions have been corrected by the DRS.. 2) How many incorrect decisions have resulted from the use of the DRS. From my watching of just about every match where the system has been in use.. I'd say the answer to Q1...is plenty and to Q2.... very few. Doesn't that answer the critics. And to answer the question posed in the article regarding which is considered the most acceptable, mistakes by man or mistakes by machine. My answer is that the most acceptable is the one that makes the least mistakes.

  • on March 4, 2011, 15:26 GMT

    Arzan, Problem here is machine will give person lbw if ball hits 2.49m away and is hitting rightmost corner at 1 cm and will give not out if ball hits at 2.51 m straight low and on middle stump as we see. This is changing original lbw rule. That is waht being said. India is not complaining about umpire's decision. It was good decision. It does not like changing original lbw by such stupid parameters.

    Posted by Arzan Raimalwala on (March 03 2011, 22:35 PM GMT) Why are people still talking about this? What part of "only reliable up to 2.5m" does everyone not get?

  • Oz_boz on March 4, 2011, 15:14 GMT

    BTW while we screaming top of our lungs about technology being fair and helping everyone make the right decision, then we have the ICC policy that does only allows batsman in question to ask for referral. Why not the other team members in the pavilion ? Wrong decision is a wrong decision so anyone should be able to tell the batsman to ask for review.

    Hence for the moment the colour of UDRS is black and future bleak unless ICC can manage to come up with better rules !!!

  • jackiethepen on March 4, 2011, 13:59 GMT

    It's simple. Under 2.5m HawkEye is reliable with error margins written into the system. Over 2.5m the decision goes back to the on-field umpire. He can see with his naked eyed how far the batsman is down the pitch and whether he can be certain or not that he is out. Bell was 3m or more. Bowden gave him the benefit of the doubt. It is no good looking at DRS to overturn it - like Dhoni wanted (after all the tirades about technology!) the technology is saying that its prediction is unreliable. Is that so hard to understand? We all know the Indian press would have made no fuss if Dhoni had been receiving the decision while batting.

    India want the technology to suit them. They didn't have to challenge Bowden's decision. When DRS didn't overturn his decision, India cricket has thrown a tantrum. Do they not understand that predictive technology is reliable over a SHORT DISTANCE. The further away the harder it is to predict! Which is what umpires have known for centuries.

  • on March 4, 2011, 13:58 GMT

    @omairhr: dat shows the poor quality of umpiring in today's cricket.. this udrs doesnt make a huge difference

  • Saqib_Sheraz on March 4, 2011, 12:45 GMT

    in my opinion this system will benefit the cricket and it will also counter the bias umpiring as we saw in past on many occasions. actually Indian media always provokes the cricket fans and try to create sensationalism for making money out of nothing. this system is far far better than a worst umpiring. as we saw in previous game.......... (pak vs can).

  • Dhoni_fan_from_a_dada_era on March 4, 2011, 12:06 GMT

    take a scenario, last ball, england needs 1 to win it against india. the ball brushes the pad and runs down to fine leg. india appeals, umpire gives out. england in the mean while have complted the run and go for a review (which anyone would do regardless of whether they are out or not)... review comes out to be not out. england loses! whose benefit is being done here?

  • Philip_Gnana on March 4, 2011, 11:28 GMT

    The UDRS is not grey to me. It is a revelation. The fact that it is evolving and ever improving is a credit to the system and the administrators of the system.

    The umpires need to rethink their take on the general rule of 2.5m (even without the DRS). If a ball is going straight it is going straight. The doubt is only when there is a form of deviation. Subjective it may be, you need to be seen to be fair. IF NOT THAT IS NOT CRICKET

    Cricket is being fair. Not giving the benefit of the doubt to anyone. What the viewer sees as fair is what is considered to be fair? Right? There should not be any vested interest in not having it. Philip Gnana, Surrey

  • on March 4, 2011, 10:40 GMT

    Absurd article..Udrs is atleast helping to reduce howlers,example pak vs canada match..if there were no udrs then still bell was not out..when ICC going in a gud direction to reduce errors in umpiring decisions,dont know why people still have problems..Grow up BCCI.

  • on March 4, 2011, 10:19 GMT

    I think Indian Media , BCCI and Indian players should understand that URDS is here to stay , so make your self comfortable with that. full stop.

  • AJITHKS on March 4, 2011, 10:10 GMT

    hello guys.. i want 2 say something.. all of us stil remembr d "Ian Bell's LBW conttroversy".. rgt? then similar thing happend during 2days ZIM vs NZ match.. jst watch d dismisal of zimbawe's "Elton Chigumbura".. here also d distance is more than 2.5metrs.... bt given out by d 3rd umpire... who is wrong????? the umpires or d rule????

  • A_N_I on March 4, 2011, 10:08 GMT

    Well said Aussie_prk. Your comments are more relevant and accurate than the article itself.

  • grg525 on March 4, 2011, 9:41 GMT

    Wrong to say the English didn't know the 2.5m rule. The issue came up during the Ashes. I guess there's always an assumption if you don't know something no-one else possibly could......

  • Oz_boz on March 4, 2011, 8:58 GMT

    What a crap of an article. Technology is there and should be used freely, field umpires should only focus on making sure things run smoothly on the field, any marginal decisions should go to TV umpire. This does not make field umpires redundant because each team only can risk 2 wrong reviews so everyone has their part to play

    Also Nasser Hussain's statement is a lot silly, the supporters and the Indian team are sceptics who need convincing, such decisions send them deeper into the non-believer arena. To grow trust and faith in something there needs to be enough evidence for its robustness. No one can blame the Indian team and their supporters to mistrust UDRS more after this indecent. Then we had the big mouth Dave Richardson making useless statements.. Come-on people why can't you make a small thing work the way it should and stuff shoes into big mouths !!!

  • bhaskar77 on March 4, 2011, 8:10 GMT

    I believe the more relevant question should be "is some technology better than no technology"? The (U)DRS being implemented in WC 2011 is not perfect, neither does it include all the technological innovations available (and in use), but it has done and continues to do a reasonable job. That being said, there will be instances (as this one) where there will also be the issue of interpreting the technology. One of these days someone will be given out or not-out when the ball just clips the bails. Would that be acceptable (either way)? And more importantly, would that be interpreted the same way by all umpires across the spectrum? It is this uncertainty that MSD is pointing to. In that sense I agree with MSD. If the ultimate objective is to provide "justice", why should the expectation of "100%" justice be unreasonable? You will get 100% consistency only if you remove the subjective human interpretation of on field umpires.

  • SaudSami on March 4, 2011, 7:44 GMT

    It is surely better to go with the mistakes made by the machine. There will be consistency in the mistakes and it will even out in the long run. With the umpires, we have seen that a lot of 'questionable' decisions go against one team in a game influencing the outcome. Furthermore, the technology evolves continuously. Margins of error will become smaller and smaller. Technology that is available today was not there 5 years ago. So we can be sure that with the system in place the pace of developments in relevant technologies will be further enhanced.

  • on March 4, 2011, 7:36 GMT

    "The larger point is that the game can survive the odd mistake from the umpire". Odd mistake???? Really? ONLY an ODD mistake? Since you wrote this article before the pakistan-canada game, I sincerely hope the canada innings made you change your mind about its being a mere ODD mistake. Whatsmore, we don't mind mistakes. We mind BIASED decisions. DRS is most important for killing BIASED decisions. Decisions that are unfortunately biased DESPITE nuetral umpiring. Merely bad umpiring can even out but biased umpiring cannot.

  • on March 4, 2011, 7:30 GMT

    The poor much maligned "MACHINE" just calculates and tells whether or not its calculation is reasonably accurate. If the accuracy is below a certain requirement, it is left to the "HUMAN" (the field umpire) to decide. Not to mention that the third umpire is also a "HUMAN", not a machine. So how many times do I say before people understand, "IF bell was out, BLAME BILLY BOWDEN!!!".

  • on March 4, 2011, 7:25 GMT

    "For the sake of clarity it is important to consider a couple of basic issues. What is the fundamental objective of the system? If man and machine are both liable are produce controversies, which kind are we more prepared to live with? What is more acceptable: mistakes produced by machines from which expect perfection, or from men whose fallibility is like our own?" Oh for heaven's sake the machine is NOT wrong!!!! It just reverts the right of decision back to the field umpire in such a case. So if Bell WAS out, it's BOWDEN's fault not the DRS's. Why is that so hard to understand???

  • omairhr on March 4, 2011, 6:40 GMT

    After what transpired during Pak v/s Canada match, the critics of DRS should shut up.

  • CricketpunditUSA on March 4, 2011, 1:26 GMT

    "If man and machine are both liable are produce controversies, " I am not a native speaker. I don't understand that this meant.... These things should be corrected/edited by your review team before you publish it.... From a true Cricinfo Fan...

  • Alexk400 on March 4, 2011, 1:13 GMT

    Ok ok people do not misunderstood the rule. 2.5 only come into picture if umpire gave not out. He can give out even if it is beyond 2.5 meter. it happened yesterday. So it is more cop out rule for umpire. I request ICC to remove that damn fking rule immediately and remove whole predictive path. May be you can above 2.5 meter it is field umpire decision. All this it is not accurate beyond 2.5 is bogus. Plum middle stump out ball not gona miss from 2.5m to 2.6m.

    Rule is idiotic.

  • tadip001 on March 4, 2011, 0:31 GMT

    While there is always a debate on the success of the system, any DRS system should come with a penalty of failure. If a team opts to challenge the decision in the first place, it should also be ready to take a penalty, say of 5 runs. This might eliminate any unnecessary use of the DRS, just because it is available and even if the players know the odds of overturning the decision is low. In the NFL, where challenges against the umpire are allowed, a muffed challenge results in a loss of a time-out and hence coaches think twice before using the challenge. Otherwise there will be no meaning for such systems and degrades the umpires by putting them in the hot seat all the time. Umpires, like players go through rigorous schedule and are bound to have a bad day.

  • phenix on March 4, 2011, 0:21 GMT

    fans will complain, players will complain.... no one is ever happy... someone tell me the last time everyone was happy with a rule change? a good example of Udrs usage was in the can vs pak game where alot of decisions were overturned

  • spinkingKK on March 3, 2011, 23:21 GMT

    Please don't try to project DRS as flawed, because some of the Indian players and officials, who are supposed to have good knowledge, are saying it is flawed. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH DRS. I have read some people saying the batsmen will, now, stand 2.5meter from the crease to avoid being LBW. Then, they can be clean bowled or caught out or even stumped out. Please, LBW is not the only OUT in cricket. If they are prepared to stand 2.5 meter away from the stumps, they may as well go and stand a few more meters away and stand in the pavilion and let the bowler bowl straight to the stumps!!. LBW is a judgment the umpires make. Hawk eye and more importantly hotspots and snicko's helps in the process. I can't understand why people don't understand that IAN BELL was originally given NOT-OUT by the umpire an DRS didn't make anything worse? If BELL was given out after review, then Bell can go and whine after reading the rule book. But, not Dhoni, after the original decision was upheld.

  • on March 3, 2011, 22:35 GMT

    Why are people still talking about this? What part of "only reliable up to 2.5m" does everyone not get? I am Indian and I don't see anything wrong with the decision. Its not a question of either use the technology or don't use it all. Why can't we just use the technology up to the point it is accurate?

  • on March 3, 2011, 22:33 GMT

    I think if you are using UDRS, The decision must be done by one person i.e either on field umpire or third umpire. There is no point in saying "on field decision" after the review. The situation is under review because we know that there is an error by on field umpire. it s the duty of third umpire to correct it by looking at replay or Hawk-eye and give his decision, he simply cannot describe the situation to field umpire and tell him to make the call.

  • Nampally on March 3, 2011, 21:51 GMT

    Sambit, Does this 2.5 metre rule also apply to intentional padding? Previously if a batsmen stretched to pad a spinner for a ball just outside the off stump, the stretch of the batsmen did not matter. If the ball was going to hit the wicket, the batsman was called OUT. Actually 2.5 M is about 8.4 ft from the wicket out of which the popping crease is just over half the distance. So if a tall batsman puts his front leg forward it can easily be another 4 ft. So far I have not seen anyone including ICC raise this point. I have a feeling that all tall batsmen can heave at every good length ball by putting their front foot forward and swinging. If they miss there will be no LBW. Bell can now paddle sweep at all spinners going down the wicket and putting his body in front while swinging. Total corruption of old rules & insult to human intelligence in the name of "UDRS" or shall I say "DRS" in orderto avoid offending Umpire's dignity.No wonder that BCCI & Indian team are opposed to "DRS".

  • ruserious on March 3, 2011, 21:24 GMT

    nice article Sambit. Surprised that Indian media would actually support UDRS. The real reason Indians are against UDRS is because they are too lazy to read the damn rule book. They didnt know how to do it during the ONE test they used it. Unsurprisingly Sri Lanka were able to undo silly umpire errors to come out on top. They used it when they truly believed the umpire had made a mistake where as Indians used it as an emotional tool. This is part of cricketing shrewdness. Got on with it. If you are truly suggesting umpires can make a better judgement over a computer running multiple regression, then you have to be kidding me.

  • on March 3, 2011, 21:19 GMT

    Everyone seems to be fine with the UDRS but Dhoni. It is such an effective tool and if used properly it is blessing for the teams. I know the bulk lot of indian writers just for the sake of baking up their captain will keep howling about it in every possible platform. There is a rule that is made before the game or even the tournament started. Read it, be updated, let the game progress while the technology improves.

  • on March 3, 2011, 21:15 GMT

    Somebody plz justify this why is everyone banging on MSD when bell,strauss,pietersen all 3 didn't knew 2.5 m rule bell and strauss confessed in press conference and KP in his blog yesterday Times of Indian blog and then ICC GM comes up with that MSD should know the rules well is he the only guy not knowing the rule and in 09 champions trophy afridi was bowling and taufel was umpire he rushed down the track way ahead of 3 metres mind u and was given check out the ind-pak match in 09 champions troph

  • prash999 on March 3, 2011, 21:10 GMT

    The DRS is controversial because the umpires will make marginal calls in favor of the batsman since they know if they are howlers the players will ask for a review. Without Technology, the umpires would probably have made the call in favor of the bowler - for the sake of umpires I hope this technology unless extremely accurate be done away with as it makes the umpires refrain from making decisions!!!

  • CricketingStargazer on March 3, 2011, 20:48 GMT

    In the old days, before Hawkeye, if a batsman took a long step down the pitch, he was generally invulnerable to being LBW and could legitimately feel aggrieved if given out LBW: 2.5m iis a long step! The umpire is in no position to judge how exactly far he is down the wicket, which is why the 3rd umpire with the side-on view helps him in this. This is not a glorious incident and outside India is being perceived as a case of a bully shouting "My ball! My rules!" Similarly, there is a serious factual error in this article. Had the ball been heading for middle stump, long step or not, it would have been out. However, Hawkeye showed it heading for middle and off, sufficiently off the line of middle stump to allow the batsman the benefit of the doubt. This benefit of the doubt has been applied for more than a century without argument. Finally, Hawkeye can NEVER give a definite yes/no: it can only give a probability that the batsman is out to which a reasonable doubt criterion must apply.

  • on March 3, 2011, 20:35 GMT

    hahaha...man o man,,,,one little winky dinky decisions and we have this stuff about " integrity and the very soul of cricket" etc. etc. pretty lame stuff Mr. Bal....moreover, I agree with Davi's comment too.

    just watching the Pakistan vs. Canada game would make a believer out of the UDRS system and it works!!!....There were three (3) decisions that could've gone very very wrong.

    BCCI seems very arrogant, belligerent and act like they do the rest of the world a favor of some sorts. I thought Dhoni's and BCCI's response was pretty pathetic..

  • Nampally on March 3, 2011, 20:32 GMT

    Why are we changing UDRS to DRS? The fact is Hawk eye is reviewing the "Umpiring" Decisions. Let us call spade a spade. Secondly either use the Hawk eye - no strings attached or do not use it at all - scrap it. You cannot have UDRS to review Umpire's decision then Umpire over ruling Hawk eye. If you are reviewing Umpire's decision, let the Hawk eye pronounce its judgement without further clauses.Existing rule: if a batsman plays forward & intentionally pads the ball he is OUT if the ball is within the range of stumps.Is 2.5 m rule superceding the existing rule? When a crowd of 40,000 sees the ball hitting the stumps on the Giant TV screen & Billy Bowden sticks to his decision "Not Out", it is hypocrisy. This is not umpiring - the fans are paying to see fair play and honesty. Bowden made a wrong decision and the Hawk eye confirmed that he was wrong. The decent thing to do was to accept his mistake and call Bell out - who was already walking back. ICC are waist deep in the ----

  • on March 3, 2011, 20:26 GMT

    weak arguments mr bal....if glaring errors can be avoided i'll accept the marginal ones any day

  • on March 3, 2011, 20:08 GMT

    what rubbish! I am sorry Sambit but your argument is flawed on so many different grounds. The issue (if there is any) is with the rules not the technology. Its hypocritical to use it to your advantage when you need it to, but go off in a strop when the decision goes against you. You cant use the predictive argement, as the LBW is based on guessing or predicting whether the ball would have hit the wicket if it were not for the batter coming in the way. By using technology, complicated calculations can be made in a matter of seconds to allow very accurate predictions on the most likely outcome to be made. Concerning who pays for it, there is no doubt that the ICC should pay for it. The ICC can't use the technology for its advantage but expect not to pay for it. But the argument is not a reason not to have the technology.. if anything the argument is a time wasting ploy. To me and many others the BCCI and Sambit's position looks like sour grapes!

  • nymphsatyr on March 3, 2011, 19:46 GMT

    UDRS has been made controversial because it went against Indian team, Sunny Gavaskar has rightly pointed out Indian team could not use it decisively enough and called it in all the wrong situations when other teams utilized it smartly, just because you don't know how to use a calculator you cannot criticize the calculator is bad for mathematics, technology took time to revolve, if we did not have the famous 'blue screen of death' we may not be using a XP or 7. MSD and BCCI should create a time machine and go back into the time of Charles Bannerman! oh wait no they may not, they may want to walk their way through back in time..

  • on March 3, 2011, 19:39 GMT

    such biased article ... so biased one for India ... ICC added that 2.5 m rule just after the chldish behavior of BCCI .... so take that

  • Amu7 on March 3, 2011, 19:13 GMT

    Sambit stop raving about the "SCG" tet and the need for the UDRS system because of it. Did you forget the howlers in the epic Kolkata test and the hat trick which never would have been, the three lbws Sachin got ridiculous appeals all of them upheld by Bansal. And then how bout ravings of the media in India in 99 when they claimed the aussie umpire had invented a new for of dismissal when McGrath got Sachin plumb ducking and how that decision haunted Bowden when Sach did the same thing to watson and got away with it and yeah there wasnt DRS. Pathetic article Mr Bal. Indian media and BCCI has getting it their way for too long its time to stop chastising the ICC and whole cricketing or its better to just play the ipl and fill every ones coffers with it

  • Philip_Gnana on March 3, 2011, 19:11 GMT

    It is strange that it is always the Indians who seem to object.....?.Come on grow up. Dont be dinosaurs. Philip Gnana, Surrey

  • Philip_Gnana on March 3, 2011, 19:09 GMT

    The fundamenal reason for the UDRS is that we would have fairness. We have the resources to reduce human error. LBW for instance is subjective. Whether it be machine or man there is judgement involved. If you want to be precise then you will have to use balls and stumps that will have to have sensors/transmitters built in. We had devices that were used to track the arm movements on Murali for example that brought to light some of the human errors and short comings. Technology is here to stay. We need to harness this resource efficiently and effectively. Run outs for instance was the ideal start. The 2.5m rule is sensible. Probability(subjectiveness) is being ignored as as it would have been if it was without technology- human I mean. So far from what I have seen, the system has worked well, the lack of knowledge is the issue and NOT Technology. How many times have we seen bad decisions? why should we continue to accept bad umpiring decisions. UDRS is on the right track.Philip Gnana

  • RufusNZ on March 3, 2011, 19:06 GMT

    Sambit

    Normally you write sense. This time around you have written rubbish! The predictive part of the decision making a computers do a better job than human beings. Simple as that. To think otherwise is madness. To answer question whose errors one would like to accept - man or machine - NONE of them. But the fact is machines make less errors than man. That is why now even simple matters like debit and credit postings into a ledger left to the computer. Chartered Accountants just select debit or credit and that gets posted correctly for millions of transactions. Sorry Sambat you got it wrong!

  • on March 3, 2011, 18:55 GMT

    There is nothing wrong with the UDRS System, it is that Indians are the only team that rejects it. When rest of the teams embrace it, it should be the majority's decision. Sports like Tennis and American Football are successfully using TV slow motion replay to get at the "correct" decision, so why not in cricket? Cricket is a stop and play game like American Football and Tennis unlike Soccer, so slow motion replay can be used to the maximu advantage to eliminate the obvious and horrible on-field umpiring decisions that for so long kept away "fairness" in world cricket and also many series ended up in controvercies. UDRS comes into play to over turn an on-field decision ONLY when its "crystal clear" tha tthe on-field umpire made a mistake. In the case of Billy Bowden's decision on Ian Bell, it was not crystal clear, so the on-field decision stood. If we did not have the UDRS system, still MS Dhoni and his one-sided, hypocritical team would have to live with Ian Bell being NOT OUT.

  • MJawwadA on March 3, 2011, 18:52 GMT

    just because Bell gat a decision in his favour the whole of INDIA is against DRS.... what if it had been sehwag or tendulkar instead of bell??????

  • Alexk400 on March 3, 2011, 17:50 GMT

    DRS is good. But this 2.5 rule is plain stupid. Billy bowden hiding behind this rule for his very bad decision. Guilty party is billy bowden and not DRS. ICC will never admit is it billy bowden or DRS. Ego issue.

  • on March 3, 2011, 17:44 GMT

    Cricket was much more exciting when pitches were uncovered and batsmen wore no protection. Let's go back to that era. Or not... This article and most of the comments seem to come from the dark ages, and arise from an anti-UDRS sentiment that is fuelled by the Indian media and Indian cricket fans. It makes no sense to me at all. Sure, there might still be a few difficult or controversial decisions made - but they would have been controversial anyway (in other words, to be clear, the only time you get a controversial UDRS situation is when there is already a review - and you only get a review when one or other team thinks a decision was controversial to start with). The vast majority of UDRS decisions made in this world cup have been excellent - either confirming the umpire's original decision, or overturning what might have been a howler. It's working. The BCCI should join the 21st century and accept that the UDRS, while not guaranteeing perfection is better than not using UDRS.

  • SamiFromHunza on March 3, 2011, 17:32 GMT

    The Indians are complaining just because the Bell decision went against them. If the decision was in their favour they wud have no problem. Take today's match between Pak and Canada. The umpires were horrible today. 6 decisions were reviewed and the decisions reversed. If it was not the technology God knows what the result of the match would have been.

  • pakwellwisher on March 3, 2011, 17:19 GMT

    Hey Sir Freddie flintoff England,Aus,SA,NZ can use it if they like. But when it comes to India they will be bulldozed by the BCCI as was evident in all the recent series'.

  • on March 3, 2011, 17:09 GMT

    An error by a machine is more acceptable by a human b'coz atleast people are assured that the error commited is not biased, and if ball tracking technology cannot be trusted that why don't umpires carry a measuring tapes with them to measure the exact distance of the batsman from the stumps instead of relying on technology for this purpose...

  • Jeet.Singh on March 3, 2011, 17:02 GMT

    well in these cases, if the error rate is +/-3 degrees, they can easily track what those degree of deviation is. and if its still out, then its out. And I bet even with the standard error, that was still LBW.

  • Sunrays on March 3, 2011, 17:01 GMT

    It is getting really uncomfortable to be on the "Indian" side in the DRS debate - and especially these kinds of articles which try their damndest to give a "balanced" view. Point 1) All countries except India are in favor of using DRS. Point 2) Technology is NOT perfect. But it demonstrably increased the percentage of right decisions. Saying, like Dhoni and BCCI does, we will not use technology till it is 100% correct, is simply saying "we prefer 93% correct decisions to 97% correct decisions". How is this ever defensible? This is even being argued this much just because it is India on the wrong side. The case is too obvious. India is just not accepting it because its experiences with it are not good so far. Hope the fans don't take the wrong side just because it is India and hope sites like cricinfo and commentators don't do the same for money. Grey is NOT the color of the DRS; it is black and white. BCCIs money is making the on-lookers glasses grey.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on March 3, 2011, 16:57 GMT

    Sambit Bal, please go and watch the repeat of the Pakistan vs Canada match, and in particular pay attention to Daryl Harper's shocker of a performance. After doing do, come back to Cricinfo and pull this joke of an article, and know that UDRS is the future, and is absolutely needed. Also pass the video of the match onto Team India and MS Dhoni, they can use it for educational purposes.

  • Joji_ on March 3, 2011, 16:47 GMT

    There is a very power algorithm in physics, its called the Kalman filter, in lay man's terms; it takes two inputs of lesser accuracy and by the virtue of having two values can calculate an output which is of higher accuracy than either of the individual inputs. Its used extensively, in GPS systems, aeronotics, telecoms; you name it, its there.

    So if we have an umpire's opinion and then UDRS as well, its bound to give you better results. If the umpire got it wrong UDRS can help you, there is no fathomable situation in which using DRS would end up giving you a decision which is "less accurate" in a umpire only scenario. Its a simple deal, i can't come up with a possible explanation why the BCCI is against it.. !!!

  • mrgupta on March 3, 2011, 16:38 GMT

    @David47: The Indian media is not arguing anything which was correct and just making a mess of things. Something was clearly wrong here. If Bowden was told that ball hit 2.5 meters from stumps does that mean that the trajectory will take the bowl outside leg or Off stump even though Hawk Eye says it wud hit Middle? If Hawk Eye is so rubbish in predicting then why use it? What wud have happened in those 2.5 meters to deviate the ball from middle to outside leg? Does the rule say that the moment Umpire is informed the ball hit more than 2.5 m then he can just decide that whatever Hawk Eye predicted (Hitting Middle) is all rubbish? If it was hitting leg then the logic may hold... what about hitting middle? We are not making unnecessary noise, this can happen to any team. The Rule has to be adjusted for the sake of the game. Whatever happened was clearly Wrong. I will wait till this happens to England or Australia and then see what you say.

  • ap27 on March 3, 2011, 16:33 GMT

    First legitimate article I've read in so long time to put the things in perspective.

    My Point is, a technology & its ball projection can only be as good as the programmer who designed it. Any day, I would trust the umpire's decision more accurately.

    The whole argument is that: use technology to make final decisions. But dont make the technology as a final-decision maker. Then it will be like a Excel spreadsheet. A great tool to model things but potentially disastrous thing when its results are taken in the face value without human analysis.

  • Somapala90 on March 3, 2011, 16:17 GMT

    DRS is a very good system that really helps the umpires to make the best decision, just because it doesn't go in your way, it doesn't mean that it's a bad system.. if there are so many wrong decisions given by the umpires with no DRS, then a complaint will come against the umpires. so GROW UP!!

  • David47 on March 3, 2011, 15:43 GMT

    The UDRS is only as contraversial as the Indian media want to make it Sambit. Just another example of the Indian media, players and the BCCI wanting to "rule" world cricket.

  • on March 3, 2011, 15:28 GMT

    totally agree man, the umpires are just as prone to mistakes as we are....better to use them instead of untrustworthy technology....

  • on March 3, 2011, 14:58 GMT

    In the final analysis, it is obvious that the remedy is worse than the disease!

  • A_N_I on March 3, 2011, 14:39 GMT

    Nasser Hussain's point makes no sense. Indians oppose DRS due to accuracy of ball tracking and dont want to use it at all. But when DRS is imposed on them in ICC events like WC, Is Nasser meaning to say Indians should not expect to benefit from it !?!

    The important point here is did Billy Bowden know when he was informed that the ball was pitched more than 2.5 mt away from stumps, that he can still use the system to alter his decision ? And if he knew that, Did he also strongly beleive even after the replays that the ball was definitely missing the stumps ??

    OR

    Was it that Billy was told, Ball pitched > 2.5 meter from stumps so on field decision stays.

    If it was latter, this Decision Review Stupidity must be stopped asap.

  • on March 3, 2011, 14:31 GMT

    about the nasser hussain: who gave him the bright idea that Indian fans are against the use of technology... the only person who is for bizarre reasons of his own opposed to (U)DRS is MSD

  • on March 3, 2011, 14:28 GMT

    Toeing the BCCI's line now are we Sambit?

  • sandymen on March 3, 2011, 14:15 GMT

    I would think that ICC is right and Dhoni and BCCI wrong in this particular incident. The umpire went by the rule book and the matter should have surely ended there.

    As a nation we tend to get emotional especially when decisions go against us. The emotional quotient again seemed to be the main reason for us not being able to use the UDRS system to our advantage. This was clearly seen in the India Srilianka series. England during the Ashes came across as particularly smart in using UDRS to their advantage.

    India needs to reconsider its opposition to the use technology in cricket and agree to ensure that technology is used uniformly in all matches. It is time that it becomes mandatory. Money should not be used as an excuse. Surely there is scope for ICC to get into a long term agreement with the patent holders making it a win-win situation for all parties. Like everything else in life there will be grey areas and most of the current negatives will get ironed out with time.

  • Mocherra on March 3, 2011, 13:04 GMT

    One way to solve the UDRS problem is to have the field umpire jointly review the replay with the third umpire & come to conclusion instead of just getting verbal feedback via headset. This is might take 2 mins more, but will reduce the heartburn the team have today with the system.

    This is similar to video replays in all American sports where the main referees view the replays.

  • Jeyganesh on March 3, 2011, 13:04 GMT

    Keep the DRS with the third umpire itself and not with the players. When you find a wrong decision like giving lbw of inside edge or caught behind of elbow or lbw given of a ball pitching outside leg stump, let the third umpire revert the decision. By this way everything will be simple. Avoid advanced technology like hotspot and ball tracker. Cricket was so good when we didnt have all these technologies:)

  • mani.yarasan on March 3, 2011, 12:47 GMT

    Why should the team reviewing should lose one of their 'reviews', as the final decision went against them, when there is not comprehensive conclusion? Whenever the 'benefit' of doubt arises, let one team benefit, and the losing team atleast get their review in stock and not lose it...

  • Royy on March 3, 2011, 12:46 GMT

    The foremost objective, which seems to get buried time & again under odd romanticism about human frailties or sweeping skepticism about precision of technology, is to strive towards purging the game of errors as much as possible. In order to achieve that a more receptive attitude towards technology needs to be adopted by all concerned. The ICC, in keeping with its long history of blunders, which already contains a considerable delay in befriending technology out of sheer prejudice, have done more harm than good by introducing DRS in its present piecemeal fashion sans the hot-spot & snickometer. Given its financial status it is abhorrent to hear the ICC citing affordability as the problem in featuring the above technologies in all international games. If the ICC shed this ineptitude BCCI can always be coerced to toe the line too. As for umpires, they shouldn't consider themselves so sacrosanct & instead contribute towards eradicating the errors from the game, whichever way possible.

  • Tsotsi on March 3, 2011, 12:43 GMT

    India need to grow up and stop throwing tantrums like spoilt children. The rules are the same for both teams.

  • on March 3, 2011, 12:36 GMT

    This is what really annoys me as a Cricket lover, it's not the DRS at fault, it's India harking on and on about it. Bowden said not out. If the DRS wasn't in place, it still would've been not out. India needs to stop throwing its toys out of its pram, man up, and accept it. It makes no difference if the impact was over 2.5m or not. Bowden said not out, and the decision remained. If you want to give the referral to the Third Umpire and give them the power to overturn the original decision then that could be a suitable resolution. Technology is there to help, and it can be controversial, but give it time to develop for the greater good of the game rather than be cynical and write it off without it being proven. I'm a firm believer in using technology and Cricket is bold enough to use it where most other sports that need to use it for the greater good of itself does not (e.g.Football).

  • on March 3, 2011, 12:26 GMT

    "But what it has led to instead is random, whimsical, and on many occasions ludicrous, challenges based on hope, desperation and sometimes just for the sake of it."

    Challenges based on hope, desperation and sometimes just for the sake of it abound in tennis as well.

  • sgaggs on March 3, 2011, 11:36 GMT

    The DRS system is flawed.We Indians don't hate it.It should be implemented but has to be perfect. Dhoni is right when he asks the question as to who decides the rules and what they should be.If the so called experts of DRS feel that the precision of the the tracking system after 2.5m is doubtful, then how on earth does it correctly predict where the ball is going to land on the pitch after being bowled by the bowler. This distance could be easily be 15 to 20 yards!!!

  • spinkingKK on March 3, 2011, 10:46 GMT

    Dear Sambit, the 3.6 clause you mentioned should be understood as this: It says that the ball should be deemed to have been dead when the origianl decions was made - means, if the umpire made the decision after the ball has crossed the boundary, then that is when the ball is deemed to have been dead and therefore, the runs will count. That is also fair, because, until the decision was given, the fielding side should make an effort to stop the ball running away and run the batsmen out if they are making runs. With regards to Tennis, they also have problems in using technology. But, they just put up with some downsides for the lots of good it is doing. An example of Technology causing problems in Tennis: If a ball was marginally out and wasn't called out, the player has to return it and get the rally going for the fear of losing the point if went for a review. If he went for a review and it was ruled "IN", then he will lose a point for a ball he could have returned, albeit erratically.

  • beingsharih on March 3, 2011, 10:14 GMT

    IS ANYONE HEARING ME!!!!!! Now every batsman will stand 2.5m away from stumps to avoid the LBW. If the umpire gives him out with the ball hitting the stumps, he can go for DRS citing his point of impact being more than 2.5m. Only thing he needs to care is gettng stumped. HAD Billy given him out before Dhoni went for DRS, this 2.5m rule wudnt have been known to the masses including Dhoni, Strauss and me and whole of India. DRS is fine but if the ball is hitting the stumps its clearly an LBW. WHY was it 2.5 m, why not 3 m or 2m. THINK!!! CRICINFO Speard this message to all the boards and media so that DRS can be made better.

  • on March 3, 2011, 10:13 GMT

    This is not the first instance the DRS mechanisms such as Hawk Eye and Hot Spot have been put to the test. The MS Dhoni tirade (Hawk Eye) now makes the Ponting tirade (Hot Spot) legitamate it seems. Only then the Indians chose not to speak (I dare say quietly chuckled) because Punter was Aussie. Must give it to Punter, he dealt with it in his style, straight, aggressive and at the very time. Almost Ayn Rand like.

    I just feel there is no way a DRS should be used. There is no fun and the game becomes mechanical. Going this way; we should host the next world cup on Play station where the Arm Chair Critics of the Game can test their skills at twiddling thumbs.

    Cricket like life is not fair and the strength of a team shines when you can live with a bad decision and yet win. That's how it should be.

    The DRS is not fair to a real good Ump like Simon Taufel. A Consistently Bad Ump must be reviewed and corrected.

    UDRS Go Back is my cry.

  • Susmit on March 3, 2011, 10:06 GMT

    A really good article...taking into account all the point of views. I cannot agree more on the point that the DRS shouldn't be used in cases where there is prediction involved in making decisions. After having watched Cricket for about 12 years now I find some of the Hawk-Eye predictions absolutely shocking. You can clearly tell from experience that sometimes the Hawk-eye's predictions(especially in cases concerning the bounce of the ball) are clearly not upto the mark. I feel that in cases like these the on-field umpires should be given full authority. So, I would like to see technology used for purposes like finding out whether there is an edge or not or whether the ball has pitched outside leg-stump or hitting outside off-stump or whether the bowler has overstepped etc.This will eliminate the anxiety among players about the DRS and also remove the blatantly wrong decisions.

  • bivu on March 3, 2011, 9:26 GMT

    sambit , where were u when in the last tour of india srilankan batsmen were repeatedly at the receiving end of numerous wrong umpiring decisions and whereas tendulkar was 2 or 3 times declared not out when actually he either edged the ball or was plumb lbw ? so how do u ensure indian umpires don't make howlers of decisions against the touring sides ? And where u try to hide when ur revered and ultra-honest SRT, unlike LARA,never ever walk off when he cleanly edges a delivery ?If u don't like udrs , its ok but then how deplorable indian umpiring is ever going to improve ? If u react against the sydney debacle , by the same token plz also be vocal against the incessant dreadful debacles the touring sides have to contend with in india ..plz don't flex ur indian muscle everywhere

  • bivu on March 3, 2011, 9:25 GMT

    sambit , where were u when in the last tour of india srilankan batsmen were repeatedly at the receiving end of numerous wrong umpiring decisions and whereas tendulkar was 2 or 3 times declared not out when actually he either edged the ball or was plumb lbw ? so how do u ensure indian umpires don't make howlers of decisions against the touring sides ? And where u try to hide when ur revered and ultra-honest SRT, unlike LARA,never ever walk off when he cleanly edges a delivery ?If u don't like udrs , its ok but then how deplorable indian umpiring is ever going to improve ? If u react against the sydney debacle , by the same token plz also be vocal against the incessant dreadful debacles the touring sides have to contend with in india ..plz don't flex ur indian muscle everywhere

  • schoolssm on March 3, 2011, 9:19 GMT

    Nasser H is on the money. Dhone and BCCI should be ashamed of their position.

    The decision of the Simon T to declare Ian Bell not out was basic lack of common sense and a BASIC HUMAN UMPIRING ERROR and not a problem with TECHNOLOGY.

    URDS is there to prevent glaring errors of umpiring judgement and I have no idea why BCCI is having it head in the sand.

    Again, the problem is not technology, but imcompetent umpiring levels and lack of common sense.

    Technology can significantly reduce human errors and should be encouraged.

  • on March 3, 2011, 9:00 GMT

    Baffling indeed that ICC has not introduced " the snickometer" along with the ' hawk eye" in this world cup. If you want to go ahead with the technology , you should proceed with whatever is available rather than in parts. Otherwise , human errors are much better.

  • CharlieAlanJakeHarperFamily on March 3, 2011, 8:38 GMT

    Somebody plz justify this why is everyone banging on MSD when bell,strauss,pietersen all 3 didn't knew 2.5 m rule bell and strauss confessed in press conference and KP in his blog yesterday Times of Indian blog and then ICC GM comes up with that MSD should know the rules well is he the only guy not knowing the rule and in 09 champions trophy afridi was bowling and taufel was umpire he rushed down the track way ahead of 3 metres mind u and was given check out the ind-pak match in 09 champions trophy

  • monis11 on March 3, 2011, 8:32 GMT

    Using technology as this is POOR. Its is not flaw less. Technology came to the game because umpires started give lbw for ball hitting helmet. Right now we cam use technology for no balls & line of contact. Ball tracking is nonsense. If it goes to TV umpire, let that guy make decision and let field umpire carry bowlers shirt

  • chandau on March 3, 2011, 8:14 GMT

    The idea of UDRS was to rectify the "glaring mistakes" like an LBW where there is bat involved, catches that have not been taken clean, caught off cloths or protection instead of bat, out anyway off a no ball, etc. However like aid here the players seem to use it more in hope than with confidance. Broad reviewed an LBW given not out as ball pitched outside leg stump. Sangakkara from behind the stumps reviewed an LBW when the ball hit the leading edge right in front. Strauss referred his LBW after being hit by a yorker right in front. Few other decisions of LBWs were not reviewed but were not out on replay. Most of the soft niks went un referred. It seems no one really knows when/what to refer. Add to that the unoires also seem confused with the decision making. It is no longer an aid but an adive or directive. If the batter is 2.75m down the pitch irrespective of where the ball is hitting it is not out. If the ball is only hitting 1/3 then not out or on field decision. KISS theory plz

  • AJ_Tiger86 on March 3, 2011, 8:14 GMT

    There are so many faulty arguments in this article that I don't know where to start. First of all the HawkEye has already helped correct a lot of howlers in this world cup. Just because ONE mistake was made doesn't justify going back to days when shocking umpiring decisions like being given lbw to balls pitched outside the leg stump. HawkEye is the GREATEST innovation EVER made in cricket broadcasting. It's accurate upto 1 milimeter. It is the MOST trusted tool by ALL players who are not Indians. So you are COMPLETELY wrong to say that "players trust the Hotspot the most". Only Sachin Tendulkar, and a few other Indian players hold that view. But as we saw during the Ashes, Hotspot can be incredibly controversial while making decisions for faint nicks. Plus, keep in mind that, the usage of Hawkeye is here to stay -- no matter what the BCCI thinks, or what the Indians think. It has been and will always be used by England, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand.

  • Haleos on March 3, 2011, 8:10 GMT

    Well said Sambit. ICC and BCCI are made up of bunch of foold who have no idea how cricket should be run. All they care is about making money. BCCI for one is the most arrogant and corrupt cricket association. What can u expect when it is run by Indian politicians.

  • Paddle_Sweep on March 3, 2011, 8:06 GMT

    Why should a team lose a review if the technology cannot be relied upon to make the correct decision? E.g : in the Ind-Eng match, the one field umpire said that the point of impact is > 2.5 m, though the other criterias were satisfied. In this case, due to technical limitation they wanted to stick with the original decision. So why a team should lose a review? At least the review should not be deducted.

  • crackssw on March 3, 2011, 8:01 GMT

    You know why cricket is not as popular as it should be..because nothing is standarised..do i need to say more?no standard ground size,no standard bat size,no proper decison making..if the ICC wants to introduce something...nonsense articles and debates ruin it...But the thing that really puts me off is that everything is made complicated in cricket.And i guess its high time articles on UDRS should stop..they are really irritating..you're spoiling the game by these unecessary articles

  • amit_mangal30 on March 3, 2011, 7:38 GMT

    Well...the complexity that arises with the DRS has been excellently presented here by Sambit. Introduce a faulty system to reduce existing faults and we end up spending nights to calculate the percentage of errors reduced, or the percentage of complexity increased, with captain having a lot more to think than who to give the ball next to, his main job. Man, the comment has become complex now :P. In simple words, we are not asking for a perfect system, just a convincing one, like the hot-spot.

  • Rahul_78 on March 3, 2011, 7:12 GMT

    Let us assume out of 100 decisions there are 5 howlers given by umpires. So we have 95% of correct decisions made. Now out of these 5 howlers which will off course be referred for review by batsmen or bowler, current UDRS can correct 4 without any doubts. So we have 99% of correct decisions made and we are left with 1% of incorrect decisions which should be good enough for anyone. What is the point in refusing something meant to correct the wrong from the right. The intention of using the technology is to eliminate manual errors and it is a right intention. When dhoni and co are ready to accept umpiring decisions at face value even if they are incorrect some times then why not apply the same to UDRS. Just imagine if UDRS had been used in that ill fated Sydney test..lots of bad blood and accusations that followed afterwards would have been avoided.

  • SQ421 on March 3, 2011, 6:35 GMT

    Well, the UDRS is meant to fix the obvious howlers. Often, and rightly so, a batsman is given not-out because he was "too far forward" and the umpire could not correctly predict that the ball would've gone on to hit the stumps. I don't see how the UDRS failed in this instance at all. The only failure was Mahendra Dhoni's, who was not up to speed on the rules, and perhaps that of the organizers, who chose to display the decision replays on the big screen - not the best idea considering how volatile Indian crowds can be.

  • Farhan-Sg on March 3, 2011, 6:33 GMT

    You guys just cant stop whinging can you? When it comes to whinging England vs. India make a tie for 1st place.

  • Jim1207 on March 3, 2011, 6:29 GMT

    DRS is a waste of time, money and all its worth. If DRS is used, it must be done in a way that all the mistakes that happen on the day are corrected and not just two successful decisions taken by the side, which could be undone by a stupid rule as what happened for Ian Bell. Let the machine work round the clock and have it correct all the wrong decisions in a matter of seconds without players have to ask for a review. Is that so hard to comprehend, or so political for people wanting DRS? Why do people want half-baked food here? Why don't we have technology to be used maximum and not just two decisions, or so many restrictions as explained in the article. You ask broadcasters to cover the costs and then blame them for showing advertisements. Just see how adverse the consequences are with DRS. People just blame Indian team for not using DRS. Nasser Hussain's argument does not have any validity, let him answer these questions. Let's make the technology as useful as possible or forget it.

  • mvchilukuri on March 3, 2011, 6:06 GMT

    Common guys! Why the hell 'Snicko' is not used when UDRS is in place? Moreover, 'hot spot' should have been in piture for viewers as well when it is WC and boradcasters must be paying for it as millions are paying through their nose to watch ICC WC.

    Controversies unnecessary and should be avoidable asap!

    Before, everyone goes to next stage we need 'snicko' if they want to use URDS!

    Otherwise, WTF in watching ICC WC?

  • rohufish on March 3, 2011, 6:03 GMT

    What a bunch of poppycock. You are a sorry Luddite, and don't belong at an internet company. We in the audience, the paying public, the customer, are sick and freakin tired of ruined games because some deaf, nearsighted fallible human goofed up. We want Hawkeye, HotSpot in every stadium, as part of mandatory infrastructure costs to qualify as an international venue. God knows the cricket establishment makes enough money to afford this small investment. The answer is not "tolerance for the odd mistake from an umpire". The answer is more technology, and if necessary, the elimination of a human umpire. We don't watch games to see the umpire play, we watch it to see two teams compete in a nearly perfectly fair contest.

  • mogan707 on March 3, 2011, 5:57 GMT

    Common sense must prevail when you give decisions.The decision of 2.5 metre can apply for a fast bowler but in case of a slow bowler can you judge the bounce the ball?Probably NO.But a batsman trying to sweep a bowler is on many times given out when he is stuck on the pads.The shot is regarded as an escape shot not a genuine scoring shot because you cannot place more than two fielders on behind square and that is an advantage to the batsman if he gets away with a delivery striking him on the pads without any deviation in front of the stumps.And the DRS was compromised by not using HOT SPOT and snicko.So at least use in the knockout stages to improve the umpiring.Also two reviews may not make sense.If the fielding has exhausted its two reviews early and were unsuccesful,what if the umpires makes the howlers after those reviews? Increase the reviews or implement it on any decision to be challenged on the condition, the team that calls for review must be responsible for time spent onrevie

  • indicricket on March 3, 2011, 5:49 GMT

    As regards to Hussian's point; then people who are for the DRS system should not then accept human intervention (adulteration) of decisions made by that system. This is just a simple case of the company that invented the system has a few countries in its pocket. I've have always been against this (U)DRS. We have cameras for line decisions and we should just stick with it. In Australia, India did not have a problem with 'mistakes' made by the umpires. It was not a first time umpires would have made a mistake against them or in favour of them. They had a problem with A umpire.

  • on March 3, 2011, 5:41 GMT

    Thoughtful article but would have been good if some possible solutions to the various issues highlighted could also have been formulated.

  • Kaze on March 3, 2011, 5:40 GMT

    Everything in life consists of shades of gray, nothing is clearly binary. I have no idea why Indians expect DRS to be binary. The argument that the technology has to be perfect or don't use it is the pinnacle of stupidity. Nothing is perfect, the umpire is imperfect why use them ? If you sit around waiting on perfection then nothing would be used. You have to utilize the technology and and fix whatever flaws come up, over time you will get it to a level close to perfection but it will never be perfect.

  • Lawls on March 3, 2011, 5:38 GMT

    Boo Hoo. DRS is not perfect, no system is. There were a number of instances in the Ashes that left me fuming for half an hour or so but then I accepted it as part of the game and got on with my life. Get over yourselves India and Sambit, make up your mind: you decry "Howlers" at Sydney in 2008 and then suggest "Catches close to the ground are impossible to judge with the camera.". How then is Ponting's catch, to which you presumably refer, a howler?

  • Runster1 on March 3, 2011, 5:38 GMT

    UDRS still have to be polished. England were very lucky in that match!!!

  • souths70 on March 3, 2011, 5:36 GMT

    The review system is great. It prevents 'baggage' being carried around about how teams are 'owed' descisions in their favour in the future because of events from 3 years ago ( Sydney Test, a great example ). I've seen Indian fans say that the bad descisions in the SA series just recently that benefited India are okay because of the bad descisions that went against them in 2008 against Australia !! Why should South AFrica bear any 'bad luck' because of Indian misfortune in a test between two different countries in another decade ??? In the time of the review system I've only seen one mistake ( Ian Bell Ashes Test ), but in comparison to descisions being given by STeve Backnor and Steve Dunne in the past; I'll take technology any day.

    Also why is India embracing ALL forms of technology in other sports and commercial ventures. They have the greatest IT industry in the world. It does not make cultural sense to back away from that same technology in cricket.

    No baggage from pasttests

  • HatsforBats on March 3, 2011, 5:28 GMT

    Amazing that whenever Sydney 2008 is broached (this time as the genesis for the UDRS), people neglect to mention anything about the subsequent test in Perth which India won and featured as many incorrect decisions. I guess if they go in favour of the Indian team and the BCCI then incorrect decisions don't really count.

  • on March 3, 2011, 5:18 GMT

    I must say thats a very disappointing article coming from a respected editor at Cricinfo. The author seems to suggest that mistakes from humans are more acceptable than mistakes from machines and therefore we should limit the use of technology. That is naive to say the least.

    The answer is to make the technology better and not limit it. How will it be made better if we don't use it and find out the mistakes. The DRS is a revolutionary measure and will benefit Cricket in the long run. It has already made a positive impact. The Bell reprieve is a minority and and overwhelming majority of the decisions referred have good results.

    What we need is for the DRS to be widely accepted and for India to stop criticizing it without solid reason and show some responsibility.

  • venkatesh018 on March 3, 2011, 5:07 GMT

    Inserting the 2.5m clause to the UDRS, is obviously wrong and can be manipulated by batsmen like Kevin Petersen who come down the wicket a long way. But to castigage the whole concept of UDRS because of this is totally uncalled for. The BCCI through the Indian media, is using the Ian Bell incident to stall the use of UDRS in future tournaments. In my opinion, this 2.5m thing wouldn't have even got a mention in the media if Sachin Tendulkar or Virender Sehwag had benefited by it or if India had won the match.(Remember Pragyan Ojha given not out by the same Billy Bowden in the Mohali test and India winning).

  • Deepkar on March 3, 2011, 5:05 GMT

    Cricket is played between batsman, bowler and umpire if batsman makes mistakes he gets out if bowler makes mistake he gose for runs but they are not replaced by robots if they make so many mistakes repetaty they r Droped then why we r trying to replace umpire with robots if they makes so many mistakes replace them like we did with buckner but dont replace with robots, replace them with other umpires.

  • sgthacker on March 3, 2011, 5:03 GMT

    I believe a very good and well written article Sambit. If we are to have howler of an umpiring decisions in any case (like in case of Bell decision) we are better off with on field umpires making mistakes rather then technology making blunders. HUman errors are easier to accept rather than technologu errors. Going by what Nasser Hussain says, we do have scepticism about the tracking technology but that does not mean that when UDRS is used in Indian matches, India should not get the benefit of any referrals, especially in case of such obvious decisions.

  • on March 3, 2011, 4:59 GMT

    None of the reasons can claim that Ian Bell was not out... It looked a blunder...

  • Deepkar on March 3, 2011, 4:58 GMT

    Only one question. what if it was england in indias place and kevine obrine in bells place if obrine benifeted from same UDR what would have england said and what if it was do or die match for them (england vs ireland) what would have they said? it is easy to forgive someone who u know that he CAN make mistake so i'll go with umpire instade of DRS.

  • on March 3, 2011, 4:47 GMT

    Well in the Match between Bangladesh and Srilanka, the first wicket of Malinga (in the hatrick) was doubtful in two factors one for Noball and for going down leg. After the review umpire still upheld his decision, benefit of the doubt goes to bowler (rather umpire here) .

    If it can be interpreted differently by different umpires then we will have lots of confusions.

  • on March 3, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    Dhoni & INDIA is against the UDRS/DRS because their judgement is always flawed. During the SL/IND Test series, India took all their reviews wrongly and SL took their reviews correctly. Dhoni/ IND is lacking in the judgement - that is what appeared to me. Had this DRS present during IND/AUS series where the umpire made so many errors and forced India to loose in Sydney - had DRS system present then, Kumble would have used it and IND supported it in a MIGHTY way... Different people, different scenario, different judgement and the result in supporting/ rejecting is different. I am a Malaysian and a supporter of IND, PAK, AUS & Bangla. Tq.

  • on March 3, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    Sambit, one expects a better review of the situation from you. A quick look back to the first series the Indians played with UDRS. It was against Sri Lanka and the Indians proved quiet inept and ill informed on the right way to use the system. Most of their reviews went against them and that is the point from where on the Indian players failed to be charmed by UDRS. Kumble being a prime culprit, reviewing LBW denials when ball was pitching outside leg stump. Every system has operational limits, just like the distance the ball travels. The on field umpire also doubts more if the ball has to travel a long distance before hitting the stumps. What is the issue here? Is it a case of Indians crying over spilled milk? Consider a Tendulkar dismissal against Afridi's bowling. Would a similar review in that case have caused such hue and cry. The UDRS is great and it is here to stay. The Indian players foremost should take time out from advertisements and pick up the rule book for a change.

  • on March 3, 2011, 4:26 GMT

    Quite obviously doubt is in technology too but the resolution of technology in cricket today is at least 3 times better than human. …..Eg what is Root 2….about 1.4… calculator with 8 digit screen tells 1.4142135 is it correct..NO last digit 5 is still doubtfull…bring 10 digit calculator ..it tells 1.414213562…Now 2 is doubtful…go on….till infinity….now both calculator and manuel result had error which one will you use???…obviously calculator's …not manual because calculator's result has high resolution….. i.e. % error is less…..Use technology and for minor doubt in technology use BENEFIT OF DOUBT RULE and then all decisions will be perfect in accordance with Rules of game…..It is WHITE NOT GREY ..Take off your dark glasses.

  • on March 3, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    Now coming to Hawkeye situation. ……..Why do you go to a doctor who complements technology with expertise? Are you 100 % sure that when you go to a doctor you will recover????. …ANS IS NOOOO……….In 5 % cases even the diagnoses is not correct despite the use of technology. …………….then you go to a Dr when his method is not 100 % foolproof and above all why Dr uses tests (technology) when even after use of technology diagnoses is still 10 % incorrect………………………….. The real reason is that entire life runs by RULE OF PROBABILITY…….JUST ACCEPT IT……if we don't go to Dr Probability of major disease recovery is only 20 %. ……By going to Dr probability rises to 60 %...That is why we go to Dr... If Dr doesn't use technology likelihood of incorrect diagnosis is 20% with technology it is 5% that is why Dr uses technology…….And that is why we should use technology in cricket wherever it is available so long as it is more accurate that human. …contd

  • Mitcher on March 3, 2011, 4:22 GMT

    If so many are still quick to moan about Sydney Test then how can they be so unwilling to pursue methods to eliminate those 'problems'. Sure it isn't going to work perfectly every time but unless it is used then how will it be improved? I'm fairly confident a vast majority of fans/players on both sides involved in the recent Ashes would agree it did more good than harm. Even taking into account a couple of indiscretions.

  • on March 3, 2011, 4:10 GMT

    Horse shit...nbring on the old system...this one definitely sucks BIG

  • marrtinjoseph on March 3, 2011, 4:08 GMT

    Pardon me, if I am wrong. For years i have been watching cricket matches. I think i remember watching several instances when the on - field umpire gave the benefit of doubt to the batsmen in an lbw appeal if the batsman was a long way down the line.

    So in my opinion, if that is true , in the Ian Bell instance the DRS has just been right. Or have i missed something out ???

  • gov544 on March 3, 2011, 4:00 GMT

    UDRS is undesirable review system.... it will result in more errors... keep LBW decision with on field umpire only

  • vaitheesk on March 3, 2011, 3:47 GMT

    Samit you nailed it, Dhoni & Company can't have the cake and eat it too. On the other hand technology of trajectory plotting and on pitching impact are not foolproof even with exacting camera positions. Too much on 'leap of faith'.

  • on March 3, 2011, 3:33 GMT

    dis is all coming bcoz india is afraid of it...lol...

  • CricketConnectsDotCom on March 3, 2011, 3:19 GMT

    Why should India complain? If Team India feels the Hawkeye technology is flawed, it is possible that Bell was "genuinely not out".

    If India believes Hawkeye tells the truth, why not accept it first "for all matches" and then complain about the Bell episode.

  • yoogi on March 3, 2011, 2:29 GMT

    3.6. what if the byes four happens in the last over and the last batsman was not out.

    In chase, the last few overs are important and there wont be time to recover.

    You are also right in pointing out that just two review per team is inadequate and puts it in "Lucky" category. Make it 10. When a review has merit, even if it is unsuccessful, allow an extra review. Thats not hard.

    Most likey Galye will use the first one and windies will never have enough reviews left.

  • on March 3, 2011, 1:23 GMT

    Sambit,

    I think the real issue here, and which seems to have missed from any article i read on the net about this, is the fact that the rule only suggests that beyond 'F' meters, the system cannot be trusted to predict correctly, and it is at this point that the on-field umpire is required to make a judgement based on simple cricketing principles.

    Now this is critical aspect that is being overlooked. Fact is it was so straight and thereby OUT, that Billy should have swallowed some pride (dare I say, since he hasn't really said why it was not out), and overruled the original decision.

    There have been a precedence of this, with Strauss himself in the last ODI series down under... and this is where Adultration of human intelligence or whatever it is that Dhoni said, came in.

    i think the blame should have been on Billy rather than the system.

  • sajjodaalman on March 3, 2011, 1:03 GMT

    the udrs should be used because theere is 2 much umpiring mistakes. every match has atleast 1 bad decison which is unacceptable. i cant believe india dont support the system though, because many times they are the victims of umpiring 'mistakes'

  • D.V.C. on March 3, 2011, 0:30 GMT

    Um, why weren't the players aware of the 2.5 m rule? I was, just from reading cricinfo and watching Channel 9! The rule makes perfect sense btw: Umpires have through time immemorial decided to give a batsman not out because he was too far down the wick for them to be sure - this is no different. The technical people behind the system say that its accuracy is not good enough beyond 2.5 m. This isn't an arbitrary distance, it's the one the technology is good for! Even if it was good enough, I'm not sure you want a batsman given out when he is a long way down the wicket, as this would never have happened previously. The idea is to correct the bad decisions the Umpire makes, not create a new way in which the batsman can be dismissed. Indeed, I think if it weren't self evidently unnecessary the current LBW law would already have a distance clause written into it (or something about the batsman's distance from the crease).

  • on March 3, 2011, 0:00 GMT

    On this occasion I think the buck stops with Bowden. On one side you can argue for him saying he stuck to the letter of the law and gave batsmen the benefit of the doubt because the point of impact was greater than 2.5 metres (how much greater? Do we know?). On the other hand, even with Bell further down than 2.5 metres, the ball was shown to be striking the middle stump half-way down. So surely, even if there is an error in the tracking system, it would not be so large that the ball can possibly miss the stumps (either length-wise or width-wise) altogether? A system which is accurate down to a hair's breadth until 2.49 metres simply does not go that haywire over the next half a metre, surely? Bowden can be commended or criticized based on your point of view, but I do think the DRS is not ready yet. It's not the machines that I have a problem with. It's the people using the machines. They seem to be absolutely clueless.

  • jayz2k on March 2, 2011, 23:40 GMT

    If I could reach through the computer and punch the writer I would. Some people write just because they are obligated to write and never because it might be beneficial to someone. I can't understand why this topic is being debated. Doesn't technology exist to aid humans in various aspects of life? But since when has the prognosis of a machine deem more valid than the judgment of humans? In this case both the ball tracker and a dozen slow motion replays showed that the ball would go on to hit the stumps. So what if the ball pitched 2.5m from the stumps, were the umpires blind or brain dead to decide for themselves? I am not sure about the umpires but after reading this article I am positive that the author is.

  • mihir.b on March 2, 2011, 22:48 GMT

    Talking of the dead ball rule - Guess this must have been installed to prevent the batsman from complaining that because of the umpire having mistakenly raised the finger, he was prevented from taking runs he would otherwise have taken. However, taking the scenario Mr. Bal posits: if the ball happens to have reached the boundary before the finger was raised, there doesn't seem to be any need, in such a case, to deem the ball dead and kill the runs, since it's not as though the batsman could have decided to run more in any case had he not been under the impression that he was out. So, perhaps it may be ok to allow such boundary runs to be counted....

  • GerbilFX on March 2, 2011, 22:43 GMT

    Interesting article. I firmly believe that the DRS should only apply if there is indisputably conclusive evidence that the on-field umpire's decision was incorrect. Evidence can only include actual facts that can be shown to be true - in the case of LBW, we can show where the ball has pitched and where it has struck the batsman. Prediction is not evidence. In order for the laws governing the fall of a wicket to be applied, the criteria must be met. If the evidence at hand can not show, beyond all doubt, whether the on-field decision is correct of not, then the original decision should be held to be correct. The burden of proof in these matters falls to the party challenging the original decision. If they cannot prove their case beyond all doubt, the original decision must stand.

  • on March 2, 2011, 22:20 GMT

    the game has survive the old mistake from the umps,but the commentaters are the ones complaining and ICC got all soft in the belly,the same people who complain about ump errors now benefit from them when they where players.

  • BigTicket on March 2, 2011, 21:45 GMT

    What are you trying to say Mr. Bal ??

  • Rahulbose on March 2, 2011, 21:44 GMT

    This incident is god sent to show the limitations of DRS. No amount of technology can save you when you have umpires like Bowden officiating.

  • drsankalp on March 2, 2011, 21:41 GMT

    Nasser Husain's comments show lack of common sense in most of English players and writers. The issue is that if better umpirer was there then bell was out even without udrs and with udrs even domestic worker in stadium could have given it out. So dhoni was spot on in his criticism of this udrs.

  • Vinod on March 2, 2011, 21:37 GMT

    I think technology is good for the game of cricket. India lost the match not because of technology but for poor bowling and poor strategy. Dhoni allowed too many easy singles with his field placement. His statement that he has to work with what he has got is not justified, because these players represent India and they play international cricket. It is not school cricket for God's sake. Indian bowlers don't look like they can take wickets may be with the exception of Zaheer Khan. Don't we have single bowler in India who can bowl with pace, accuracy and also who can bowl lot of yorkers. Our fast bowlers bowl a lot of short pitch deliveries, which are easily hit to the stands by professionals.:)

    After watching India's game against England, I can confidently say that our present Indian team can't win this World Cup for us. The current Indian team is a gloried bunch of egoistic players who can't bend on the field. I feel sad that our dreams are going to be crushed again. Good Luck anyways

  • on March 2, 2011, 21:35 GMT

    Benefit of doubt going in favor of the umpire's original decision is perfectly acceptable. If the trajectory says the ball will go on to hit the edge of the rectangle (three stumps) the umpires original decision always stands.

    As engineers we also know that any projection has error in it, and it cannot be difficult to calculate an error cone on the projection. Are we saying that beyond 2.5m the error bar is larger than twice the diameter of the ball that it could be missing the stumps when hawk-eye predicts it could be hitting the middle of middle stump?

  • pipsonian on March 2, 2011, 21:22 GMT

    This stupid controversy (created by Indian captain) did not deserve a whole article on these pages. We should simply go by the law and law was enforced. Blaming your lack on knowledge on the system is quite pathetic and very typical of Indians. Umpiring decisions go wrong every other day in cricket, but i fail to understand that the ones involving India always attract a great hue and cry. Indians were the reason in the first place that Imran Khan suggested neutral umpires be used. They were the reason for UDRS but they just want everything their own way, don't they ?

  • hitesh288 on March 2, 2011, 21:22 GMT

    Why people not questioning Billy Bowden? He under rules could have chosen to after seeing the action replay to give Bell out but he didnt. Why not?

  • Flat_Track_bullies on March 2, 2011, 21:21 GMT

    I absoluely dont care what NASSER OR ATHERTON say - these two are soo anti indian public/cricketers/bcci and the whole system. But I think Indian team should start supporting drs

  • sahooa on March 2, 2011, 21:17 GMT

    > But what it has led to instead is random, whimsical, and on many occasions ludicrous, challenges based on hope, desperation and sometimes just for the sake of it. So whose fault is above? Machine or Man's greed to force a decision.

  • on March 2, 2011, 21:01 GMT

    "As Nasser Hussain pointed out on television after the Ian Bell incident, Indian fans must figure out which side of the line they stand on: they can't support their team's skepticism about ball-tracking technology, and also use the projection provided by the same technology to fulminate against the Bell decision." The same Nasser Hussain also stated on air that Billy has gotten it horribly wrong. It should not matter whether the impact was 2.5m/3.5m or 4.5m from the stumps, the evidence was conlcusive!

    "ICC must figure out which side of the line they want to stand on. They can't support DRS and ball tracking technology and stuff it down the throats of all teams like it has in this world cup, and not believe in it itself." Either make it law that LBWs can be challenged only to check whether there was an edge or if the ball pitched in line with the stumps. Point of impact, distance from stumps should be taken out of the review system.

  • Hassan.Farooqi on March 2, 2011, 20:33 GMT

    Fantastic article. However about the dead ball, rules of football and field hockey should be considered. Over there, if a defender commits foul, and the umpire think the offense is in position to score, they would give "Advantage" i.e. delay the foul call. So if the umpire says "not out", then all runs should be counted if the decision is upheld, and nullified if the decision is reversed. However if he says "out", then the ball should be dead regardless of the decision being reversed or upheld. Therefore the umpires must delay the decision if they are in doubt.

  • deep123 on March 2, 2011, 20:31 GMT

    Do justice for the game whatever it takes. ICC introduced UDRS and still there are so many loop holes. What is ICC thinking? Dhoni didn't make that statement in haste. ICC is more interested in criticizing the players instead of correcting the issues. That's why cricket is not in the Olympics. There are so many loop holes in rules.

  • Alexk400 on March 2, 2011, 20:19 GMT

    There is no perfect way to solve this problem. I rather not see the predictive hawk eye. Even if umpire declare out Bell if the ball is predictively hitting top of bail with 2.5m?. I really think umpires need cushion space. umpires do make mistakes like the one done by bowden. it is not just 2.5 m is the issue. 2.5meter comes into play only if the ball seems to hit end of leg stump or or right side of right stump or top of bail. 2.5 meter is a way out for umpire if he declares not out edgy decision. it is not set rule. i do not think 2.4m to 2.5 hawkeye goes completely wrong. It is absolutely bad decision by a human (billy bowden) not technology or rule to support borderline decisions.

    I am all for UDRS. I think it is a growing pain. if you do not try , we will never use it in future. As einstein said , if someone did n't fail , he never tried anything new.

    Bowden decision is wrong decision but dhoni and BCCI is wrong also. It is interpretation of the rule to a letter is wrong!.

  • on March 2, 2011, 19:56 GMT

    Dear Samibit,

    A thoughtful article. But from my point of view, LBW decisions should be left to decide by the on field umpire as the Hawk Eye or Ball Tracking Technology cannot really predict the direction the ball would take after the impact. Only on field umpire can judge that. If these are taken out, then UDRS will be used effectively and it would solve the primary purpose..To eliminate Howlers..

  • on March 2, 2011, 19:55 GMT

    Dear Samibit,

    A thoughtful article. But from my point of view, LBW decisions should be left to decide by the on field umpire as the Hawk Eye or Ball Tracking Technology cannot really predict the direction the ball would take after the impact. Only on field umpire can judge that. If these are taken out, then UDRS will be used effectively and it would solve the primary purpose..To eliminate Howlers..

  • linba on March 2, 2011, 19:50 GMT

    If beyond 2.5m lbw is fuzzy ,why not just make the rule beyond 2.5 m it is not out? Anyway LBW decisions are batsman in favor of doubt right? SO whether its the batsman or fieldingg team that reviews, why not just have >=2.5 m, NOT OUT on LBW. Its such a simple thing then.

  • indianpunter on March 2, 2011, 19:31 GMT

    Well said, Sambit !. Machines and humans are prone to mistakes. But my 2 cents is that , technology has less chance to make a mistake than humans. Imperfections are there in both, but i'd choose technology as it is less error prone when compared to umpires who are under so much duress with all the technology out there in force. Another thing, take the no ball call away form the umpire. let him concentrate on what happens at the other end.

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  • indianpunter on March 2, 2011, 19:31 GMT

    Well said, Sambit !. Machines and humans are prone to mistakes. But my 2 cents is that , technology has less chance to make a mistake than humans. Imperfections are there in both, but i'd choose technology as it is less error prone when compared to umpires who are under so much duress with all the technology out there in force. Another thing, take the no ball call away form the umpire. let him concentrate on what happens at the other end.

  • linba on March 2, 2011, 19:50 GMT

    If beyond 2.5m lbw is fuzzy ,why not just make the rule beyond 2.5 m it is not out? Anyway LBW decisions are batsman in favor of doubt right? SO whether its the batsman or fieldingg team that reviews, why not just have >=2.5 m, NOT OUT on LBW. Its such a simple thing then.

  • on March 2, 2011, 19:55 GMT

    Dear Samibit,

    A thoughtful article. But from my point of view, LBW decisions should be left to decide by the on field umpire as the Hawk Eye or Ball Tracking Technology cannot really predict the direction the ball would take after the impact. Only on field umpire can judge that. If these are taken out, then UDRS will be used effectively and it would solve the primary purpose..To eliminate Howlers..

  • on March 2, 2011, 19:56 GMT

    Dear Samibit,

    A thoughtful article. But from my point of view, LBW decisions should be left to decide by the on field umpire as the Hawk Eye or Ball Tracking Technology cannot really predict the direction the ball would take after the impact. Only on field umpire can judge that. If these are taken out, then UDRS will be used effectively and it would solve the primary purpose..To eliminate Howlers..

  • Alexk400 on March 2, 2011, 20:19 GMT

    There is no perfect way to solve this problem. I rather not see the predictive hawk eye. Even if umpire declare out Bell if the ball is predictively hitting top of bail with 2.5m?. I really think umpires need cushion space. umpires do make mistakes like the one done by bowden. it is not just 2.5 m is the issue. 2.5meter comes into play only if the ball seems to hit end of leg stump or or right side of right stump or top of bail. 2.5 meter is a way out for umpire if he declares not out edgy decision. it is not set rule. i do not think 2.4m to 2.5 hawkeye goes completely wrong. It is absolutely bad decision by a human (billy bowden) not technology or rule to support borderline decisions.

    I am all for UDRS. I think it is a growing pain. if you do not try , we will never use it in future. As einstein said , if someone did n't fail , he never tried anything new.

    Bowden decision is wrong decision but dhoni and BCCI is wrong also. It is interpretation of the rule to a letter is wrong!.

  • deep123 on March 2, 2011, 20:31 GMT

    Do justice for the game whatever it takes. ICC introduced UDRS and still there are so many loop holes. What is ICC thinking? Dhoni didn't make that statement in haste. ICC is more interested in criticizing the players instead of correcting the issues. That's why cricket is not in the Olympics. There are so many loop holes in rules.

  • Hassan.Farooqi on March 2, 2011, 20:33 GMT

    Fantastic article. However about the dead ball, rules of football and field hockey should be considered. Over there, if a defender commits foul, and the umpire think the offense is in position to score, they would give "Advantage" i.e. delay the foul call. So if the umpire says "not out", then all runs should be counted if the decision is upheld, and nullified if the decision is reversed. However if he says "out", then the ball should be dead regardless of the decision being reversed or upheld. Therefore the umpires must delay the decision if they are in doubt.

  • on March 2, 2011, 21:01 GMT

    "As Nasser Hussain pointed out on television after the Ian Bell incident, Indian fans must figure out which side of the line they stand on: they can't support their team's skepticism about ball-tracking technology, and also use the projection provided by the same technology to fulminate against the Bell decision." The same Nasser Hussain also stated on air that Billy has gotten it horribly wrong. It should not matter whether the impact was 2.5m/3.5m or 4.5m from the stumps, the evidence was conlcusive!

    "ICC must figure out which side of the line they want to stand on. They can't support DRS and ball tracking technology and stuff it down the throats of all teams like it has in this world cup, and not believe in it itself." Either make it law that LBWs can be challenged only to check whether there was an edge or if the ball pitched in line with the stumps. Point of impact, distance from stumps should be taken out of the review system.

  • sahooa on March 2, 2011, 21:17 GMT

    > But what it has led to instead is random, whimsical, and on many occasions ludicrous, challenges based on hope, desperation and sometimes just for the sake of it. So whose fault is above? Machine or Man's greed to force a decision.

  • Flat_Track_bullies on March 2, 2011, 21:21 GMT

    I absoluely dont care what NASSER OR ATHERTON say - these two are soo anti indian public/cricketers/bcci and the whole system. But I think Indian team should start supporting drs