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Editor, ESPNcricinfo

The ICC's decision needs a review

The men charged with running the game have settled on a compromise as old as the game: the boy who brings the bat plays by his rules

Sambit Bal

June 28, 2011

Comments: 105 | Text size: A | A

Ryan Harris called for a review immediately after being given out lbw, Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, December 3, 2010
India's stand against the DRS has nothing to do with Graeme Swann's guile, but playing conditions for a sport should not be tailored to accommodate individual preferences © Getty Images
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Confronted with the opportunity to find a judicious solution to the impasse over the Decision Review System, the men charged with running the game settled on a compromise of the most spurious kind. It's also the oldest one known to anyone who's played cricket as a child: the boy who brings the bat plays by his rules.

The ICC's decision makes room for two varieties of officially sanctioned review systems: one by which India will play and one for the rest. Tennis has some tournaments with decision reviews and some without - and sometimes there are discrepancies within a tournament - but players don't get to choose their own terms.

Playing without Hawk-Eye doesn't, unlike what some naïve suggestions in sections of the English media say, grant India a special advantage. Nor are Indian batsmen cowering in fear of Graeme Swann's sharpness with the ball-tracking technology. However, playing conditions for a sport should not be tailored to accommodate individual likes, apprehensions and convenience. No sport can afford to have multiple playing conditions.

The ICC had the opportunity to get rid of the anomalies in the system that made for irregular application of the DRS: India didn't like it, some boards couldn't afford it, and the reliance on broadcasters to provide the technology meant inconsistent standards in every country. The challenge was to find a system acceptable to all the Test-playing nations so that it could be universally applied.

From the outset, the DRS has been flawed, which is understandable given the complications. It has also gone through several small and major refinements, and while some concerns have been addressed, many remain. Some of them were articulated in this piece by Sidharth Monga. However, the broad agreement among the Test-playing nations, barring India, was that the system's utility outweighed its flaws.

The BCCI has been a rigid opponent of ball-tracking technology, but it rarely bothers to explain its position beyond making cryptic and stern statements. Some of its officials who have made comments in the media have sounded ill-informed. A few days ago a former BCCI secretary was quoted opposing the system on the grounds that it cost $60,000 a day. The ICC clarified that it cost about $5000. It was suggested that India's two most influential players, MS Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar, do not trust it. The BCCI president has himself said on record that ball-tracking technology was "a case of someone else's imagination versus the umpire's imagination". He perhaps meant judgement. And since the BCCI generally arouses fear and loathing in the rest of the cricket world, there has been a closing of ranks among opinion makers over the DRS.

Personally I have always held the view that in case of lbw decisions, the line should be drawn at the point of impact. Where the ball pitches and where it is intercepted by the pad are easily determined by visual evidence, and not dissimilar to the manner in which line decisions have been decided by camera pictures for years. To rely on the predicted path of the ball, though, is to make a leap of faith not only in the technologies - there are two purveyors at the moment - but also in the people who operate them.

The ICC also needed to address two other fundamental flaws. The funding of DRS has remained a contentious matter since its inception. The broadcasters are right to not accept the responsibility for guaranteeing the technology required to implement the system. The full package, including Hot Spot, is beyond the means of many cricket boards, which barely break even.

This leads to the question of control. The ICC pays and governs the umpires, whereas the broadcasters contract the technology providers, without exception. While they provide crucial inputs to decision-making, the broadcasters fall outside the direct supervision of the game's governing body. In effect, the DRS is a system that neither the ICC or the boards pays for or controls.

None of these issues were adequately addressed at the meeting. Instead an expedient formula was found. India has been given what it wants and the rest of the world can choose whatever they desire. There will be now two kinds of lbws in international cricket: ball-tracker assisted, and solely umpire-judged.

 
 
If they had a strong case, the BCCI had the opportunity and the responsibility as the undisputed leader in the game, to persuade other members with the force of reason. If not, the rest of the cricket world was obliged to force the BCCI to toe the line. By allowing a bad deal to continue, they have set a dangerous precedent
 

Has it occurred to anyone how ridiculous it might appear if a batsman in an India match appeals against an lbw decision, wrongly suspecting an inside edge, and the ball is found to have landed outside leg stump? Since the BCCI wants nothing to do with ball-tracking technology, which also incorporates the pitch mat, should the umpire disregard such evidence and stick to his original decision?

And for all those headlines about DRS having become mandatory, here's the red herring, from the ICC release last evening: "The CEC today unanimously recommended universal standards for the usage of technology in decision-making [Decision Review System] in all Test matches and one-day internationals subject to availability and commercial considerations." Since Hot Spot, which has been made a mandatory DRS tool, also happens to be most expensive and exclusive piece in the suite, who will make the DRS available and affordable to those who don't have the resources?

That they have seemingly found the middle ground on the DRS has been hailed as a victory for both the ICC and for the BCCI. That says something. Like most other decisions coming out of the ICC's boardroom, this isn't a decision based on sporting logic, but political expediency.

To have allowed the provision for varying DRS conditions in bilateral arrangements was a mistake to begin with. If they had a strong case, the BCCI had the opportunity, and the responsibility as the undisputed leader in the game, to persuade other members with the force of reason. If not, the rest of the cricket world was obliged to force the BCCI to toe the line. By allowing a bad deal to continue, they have set a dangerous precedent. The muddle over the DRS will continue.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2011, 22:29 GMT)

Sambit

I am not sure if I will get read but I do wanted to propose this. Everyone I have talked to loves this - you can certainly help to pass on to right forum.

I appreciate ICC including 14 teams for 2015 world cup. To make event more successful, 2011 format can be continued but with few twists:

1) Instead of 4 teams, 3 teams move to next round from two groups A and B.

2) A1 and B1 get direct entry into semi finals.

3) A2/A3 play with B3/B2 in quarter finals.

Benefits of this:

1) Each and every match becomes important (even against so called minnows) as teams fight hard to come in top of the pool to avoid quarter finals.

2) Knock out round teams are not nearly predictable.

3) By including A3 and B3, chances are still available for good teams to move forward in case they unluckily lose some match.

I hope this is given some thought.

Posted by rob_damn on (July 1, 2011, 8:21 GMT)

@Ahmad Uetian, do u think that 3 point trajectory simulation works fine with Reverse Swing???

Posted by   on (July 1, 2011, 8:21 GMT)

I am not sure what Mr Bal is on about. If video evidence can substantiate facts, that is fine and that is what has been agreed upon. It is foolish to trust path prediction as it is at best statistical and at worse erroneous and I agree with the BCCI's view on this. What is shocking to me is journalists and ex-cricketers who cannot seem to understand the technical underpinnings of all this technology but are very willing to form strong conclusions.

Posted by bhaloniaz on (July 1, 2011, 8:11 GMT)

I am wondering whether siding with Hawk-eye is equal to "hating BCCI" or "bashing BCCI" or "hating india". If I call the opponents of UDRS as "haters of 8 other test countries", my comments would not be published. It good to bring the passion, zeal and every bit of emotion without bringing labels. Lets get back to the topic. UDRS or not, Hawkeye or not. Lets be fair and respectful to the supporters of all fans, its about a game. Its not about india, pakistan, england or anything. Lets not bring patriotism into sports!!

Posted by Leggie on (July 1, 2011, 1:03 GMT)

For all those BCCI bashers..., please don't get carried away only because it is *BCCI* that is not confident about Hawk-eye or Predictive technologies. Steve Buknor - one of the most accomplished and respected umpires in the game once warned of Television companies hijacking the replays and manipulating results to favour one team. (Read ESPN's article here http://www.espncricinfo.com/rsavaus2009/content/story/396484.html). What ICC should essentially do now is to publish in open the test results made by companies such as Hawk-Eye and carefully analyze how accurate the predictive systems are. Without that happening, I see no point in just BCCI bashing!

Posted by intcamd on (July 1, 2011, 0:49 GMT)

Rajitha, should n't you be worrying more about why SL is losing in such a pathetic manner, getting all out for 127 in a rain curtailed match, and less about DRS impact on India.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 22:29 GMT)

Great Article!! I just wish I could say as kids what we did back home to the boy who brought the bat and wanted to play by his rules. However I have grown up and realise that might is right; that hasn't changed in a 1000 years. However there should be no place for sore losers in sport.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 20:14 GMT)

udrs rockssssssssssssssss

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 17:51 GMT)

Talk about cat jumping out of the box!! You don't have to be an expert to see which country Sambit Bals origin from!! And yes Indians don't like DRS because its in there favor in multiple ways!!

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 17:31 GMT)

I cannot understand why people relate pitch conditions to predicted path of hawkeye. .....Any mathematician can tell that u need only 3 points in CONTINUOUS DOMAIN to simulate any trajectory perfectly based on principles of dynamics...The trajectory of the ball before pitching is 1 continuous domain, then trajectory of ball after pitching is another continuous domain till another impact is made....Sehwags decision was erroneous bcz domain had become discontinuous after 1st faint impact with front pad. that is all what hawkeye technitions need to observe.......the entire universe is in motion based on the same principles of dynamics and scientests and engineers predict various motions based on these principles exactly and they all turn out to be 100% perfect.........Hawkeye rightly has reservations when ball pitches too close to pads bcz 3 camera frames i.e. 3 points within continuous domain cannot be obtained in that case. But 2.5 m rule needs to be removed

Posted by intcamd on (June 30, 2011, 17:14 GMT)

Sambit feels a regular need to prove his objectivity credentials. Trashing BCCI never fails to appeals to the least common denominator. I wonder what he would say to the news that is coming out that the 3rd umpire looked at the worng shot in judging the Dhoni no-ball out. If they can't even get such a simple thing right, how is one supposed to know the technology actually works when it comes to heat sinks, hotspots, ball trajectories, etc. Why is BCCI so eveil in raising these issues?

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (June 30, 2011, 15:11 GMT)

" A few days ago a former BCCI secretary was quoted opposing the system on the grounds that it cost $60,000 a day. The ICC clarified that it cost about $5000."

Sorry wasn't it reported it was 60k per match? You are never my favorite author

Posted by mishvik1 on (June 30, 2011, 14:59 GMT)

Could someone educate me how hawkeye would judge the turn from different spots on the same pitch; for obvious reasons ball would turn more if it bounces on the rough patches than if it bounces on the smoother patch of the same pitch on the same day. Anyone who has done a little bit of umpiring even in a gully match will agree that judging lbw is not so difficult. And 9 out of 10 times you would be able to judge it. And I suppose 1 out of 10 times even DRS or the umpire with the help of DRS will make the mistake. The difficult part in umpiring is judging snicks and DRS without snickometer does not address that. And that has been the stand of BCCI as well as Sachin and Dhoni. Let's not get carried away just because the world has.

Posted by UniversalFriend on (June 30, 2011, 14:49 GMT)

2 all thse agnst BCCI r Indian plyrs- I realy don't undrstnd y u r comnting on BCCI &Indian playrs. R u feeling insecure/frightened with them, becuse if they say then evrythng happens? NO. If every1 has right to tell opinion then y can't they say? If evry player &evry board in d world excpt Indians are "FOR" 4anythng then Ycan't they get d things done? R'nt they brave to pull things? R they frightened with BCCI or Indians? Y shud they? U question urself y u r frightned by them. Just don't speak bcos u CAN speak. Think B4 u speak abut somebody. all plyrs in d world expressed dissatisfaction of umpiring. then y blame indians? its allowed to giv feedback.Abt hawk-eye: I told B4 also, ICC has 2get ok frm every board to implement something especially if it's abt actual cricket. they r dong that. No1 in cricket boards talks without thinking. They don't oppose if some1 (like Sachin here) says. They have their logic. I think all boards r okay with hawk eye bcos BCCI is opposing it. just -ve.

Posted by Wharfeseamer on (June 30, 2011, 14:02 GMT)

How long before BCCI complains that hotly disputed clean bowled decisions are going against Indian batsmen? ; - )

Posted by whynot_1 on (June 30, 2011, 13:13 GMT)

Why is it that the 3 or 4 Indian players are against it, while the remaining 120 odd players globally are for it.

The l issue stems from the limit on number of unsuccessful reviews, you take that out or make it only 1 per batsman and Indian batsmen will be for it. The latter batsmen dont like it because they run the risk that the top order uses up the reviews and so Sachin & co cannot appeal to the DRS .while as a captain u are worried that it can create disharmony in the team, whereby aggrieved latter order batsmen will blame the top order who uses up the reviews unsuccessfully.

Dhoni has another problem.Other than on the question of edge, the keeper & the captain have the biggest responsibility for asking for reviews ( the bowler is the 3rd). So Dhoni will be held accountable for missing out on valid reviews that he didn't ask and the wrong reviews he asked for , every time.I t is always his judgement is brought into question .And he doesnt enjoy that

Posted by Leggie on (June 30, 2011, 12:42 GMT)

For all those BCCI bashers..., please don't get carried away only because it is *BCCI* that is not confident about Hawk-eye or Predictive technologies. Steve Buknor - one of the most accomplished and respected umpires in the game once warned of Television companies hijacking the replays and manipulating results to favour one team. (Read ESPN's article here http://www.espncricinfo.com/rsavaus2009/content/story/396484.html). What ICC should essentially do now is to publish in open the test results made by companies such as Hawk-Eye and carefully analyze how accurate the predictive systems are. Without that happening, I see no point in just BCCI bashing!

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 12:12 GMT)

It is now reported that the wrong replay was used to give Dhoni out on the first day of the Bridgetown Test. The real delivery was a no ball, as Umpire Gould suspected. Fidel Edwards had overstepped.

No wonder the Indians have doubts about the UDRS system.

Posted by dsig3 on (June 30, 2011, 11:18 GMT)

Indains dont want it because they can influence umpiring decisions via the BCCI and their captain mouthing off in the media. Why would they want a fair playing field?

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 10:05 GMT)

The tweaked DRS is just an effort to please BCCI.. TV replays suggest more than an on-field umpire.. We all know this.. BCCI has ego problem.. It feels it can dictate terms to all the countries of the world..

Posted by Jim1207 on (June 30, 2011, 9:23 GMT)

Naval Sood, you nailed it right. That's what an independent scientific review would find out correctly, without the need of the cricket world to believe hawk-eye in their words blindly. I do not understand how the people who support DRS believe hawk-eye's accuracy? Just because they do not believe BCCI, do they believe hawk-eye more? Is that the way a technology needs to be introduced in the game of cricket?

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 9:17 GMT)

Indian TV news channels are now broadcasting that MS Dhoni was out of a no ball at Barbados. He was caught at mid on off a Fidel Edwards delivery and was walking off when Asad Rauf told him to stay as he wanted to check for a no ball. The replay showed Edwards' foot grounded behind the line and Dhoni was given out. However, the TV pundits are now saying that the replay was of the previous delivery. The delivery which dismissed Dhoni WAS a no ball. Incidentally, Dhoni was given out off a Bishoo no ball at Jamaica. Bishoo's foot back foot cut the sideline. the Umpire didn't see it nor did the TV umpire.

Posted by hattima on (June 30, 2011, 9:12 GMT)

@bobmartin Actually ICC has an established procedure of umpires to be rated by both captains at the end of the match. And I wonder if it is justifiable to berate the BCCI for everything that happens related to cricket! Harper has been poor for quite sometime, the cricinfo commentators were critical of many of his decisions during the first test many of which went against the W. Indians as well. The BCCI did not say anything at all against him, only Dhoni made a sarcastic comment.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 8:38 GMT)

I was supporter of DRS but now becoming increasingly suspicious of the technology, specially wrong handling of replays. Dhoni was given out on No ball while the third umpire was given replay of wrong delivery. This is happening more and more often. So one has to be very careful before jumping for DRS.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 7:02 GMT)

Hawkeye, even if it is not used in referrals, will still be part of the TV coverage. The worst thing about the DRS is the speculative referrals made by top order batsman, which is tantamount to dissent. If you take out Hawkeye, batsmen can only appeal an LBW decision if they have hit it or if it has pitched outside leg - and you don't need Hawkeye to determine either. The other howler is the plumb LBW not given - eg, Hilfenhaus to Strauss, 1st ball, Headingley, 2009. Again, you didn't need predictive technology to see that Billy Bowden got that one wrong. I don't like the BCCI, I do like Hawkeye, and I don't doubt its accuracy. But the fundamental purpose of the DRS is to eliminate howlers and you don't need Hawkeye to do that. If you are going to use Hawkeye, then you don't need umpires and you may as well put hat-racks at each end of the pitch.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 4:52 GMT)

Hawkeye's website explains the mechanics of the system clearly (which is based on observed flight and bounce paths so issue of old balls, wet pitches, overspinners etc is irrelevant). I am sure that, in controlled tests, Hawkeye will achieve its advertised accuracy levels in "normal" and "extreme" conditions. However, as its website also shows, to achieve the advertised accuracy levels its staff have to calibrate the system at each ground and its staff have to use judgement to estimate the point of impact with the batsman bat / leg as the impact often occurs in-between video frames - which is a crucial piece of information for the system's predictive path computations. The question therefore becomes whether Hawkeye and its staff can guarantee the same level of accuracy in each international match in real-world conditions. Even good umpires have "off-days" - but blind faith in Hawkeye requires the assumption that Hawkeye technicians will be able to get it right every day, all day.

Posted by qpeedore on (June 30, 2011, 4:47 GMT)

If they did the testing already, then it has to be reproducible. The document on Hawkeye's official site only gives case reports. I want to see the full stats and the method of getting those stats, even if I don't understand it. (And I doubt I will!)

What's the mean accuracy? Standard deviation? p value? I want to see the results of a fully documented scientific study. If they can't provide me with actual numbers of a proper study, then I'll have to swing with the BCCI. If they can, then I'll make a decision from there.

I will listen to the numbers.

Of course, I highly doubt it will ever happen.

Posted by bobmartin on (June 30, 2011, 4:43 GMT)

The BCCI have issued a new definition of the Umpire Decision Review System ---- "Indian test players will review each umpires performance at the end of every match in which they are participating. Should they disagree with: 1) the result of the match; and/or 2) any decision that has given an Indian player OUT; and/or 3 )any decision that has given an opposition player NOT OUT; they shall complain bitterly to the extent that the offending umpire is either removed from the elite panel and/or retires"

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 2:23 GMT)

Peter Lewis I am pretty sure thats exactly what they would have done when testing the technology during it's development, but yeah I agree it would be good to see the results published here.

Like you say it's doesn't have to be perfect just more accurate than a human umpire. Actually I am certain that it's not perfect, it's probably accurate to within a few millimetres though.

Posted by DevChennai on (June 30, 2011, 0:53 GMT)

Everyone seems to be mindful only of the ball's actual and projected path with respect to the line. But how the ball behaves with respect to the amount of bounce completely depends on factors that is impossible to capture with cameras, at least right now. We all know the vagaries of the pitch, but what about how heavy the ball is? Wet/dry outfields, palms & fingers have a progressive effect as the ball gets older. What about the difference in bounce a top-spinner and a flipper brings? Did it land on the seam or not? What if there is not more than a single frame of image available from the point of impact on the pitch to the point of impact on the pad (assuming that to be the case)? There are too many questions the HawkEye doesn't answer at this point of time (checked their website as well).

The argument, that it has increased the % correct decisions is a flawed one as the basis for that assumes 100% trust in HawkEye.

Get me more of Taufels, Goulds, Dars & Birds. Shuts everyone up

Posted by   on (June 29, 2011, 22:19 GMT)

Everyone should read the suggestion by qpeedore 29/06/11 @ 19:53. Test hawkeye in precisely the manner he suggests. That is, get a variety of bowlers to deliver balls without a batsman. Stop the tracking at the popping crease or just in front of it, use the predictive technology and then compare it to what really happened. Publish the results on Cricinfo. Remember, the technology only has to be MORE accurate than an umpire's naked eye to be useful. It soesn't have to be perfect, just BETTER.

Posted by   on (June 29, 2011, 21:22 GMT)

I am in favour of DRS, I feel it works a long way towards eradicating terrible umpiring mistakes from the game, and for me that is positive. The Indians dislike of it is troubling to me, I don't understand it. I feel the ICC should make it mandatory for all nations, whether they like it or not. Technology is our friend, and we should leave the ground after a day's play talking about how wonderful it was to see some good spin, or how enjoyable it was to watch fine batting, not umming and aahing over whether an umpire may have ruined the game.

The other point I feel I must add is that the ICC shouldn't expect host broadcasters to meet the cost of implementing the technology, they should either fund it, or do away with it completely.

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (June 29, 2011, 21:04 GMT)

To all you people that are denying hawkeye, get this stat: 200 balls were bowled and then played back again with the hawkeye projection showing where it would hit and every single one matched. I dont' know about "not completely accurate" but that sounds about 100% to me. In fact, it seems like its 100% to everybody in the world except BCCI, Dhoni, and Tendulkar. Tendulkar might be one of the best cricketers to come in this era, but by no means is he a Sangakkara (who recently gave a lecture in England). GET THE SYSTEM BACK OR KICK OUT THE KID WHO BRINGS THE BAT AND WE WILL PLAY WITH A STICK

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (June 29, 2011, 21:00 GMT)

Beautiful article. Indeed the "boy who brings the bat makes the rules", but when there are 8 other people who think that rule is stupid, they need to step up

Posted by Rahulbose on (June 29, 2011, 20:33 GMT)

Playing conditions and rules have always been chosen by teams in a bilateral test series. Teams decide on rules like whether to play under lights or not. So how is DRS any different? Opposition to use of ball path prediction is very much justified, the ridiculous 2.5 meter rule in world cup just proved how arbitrary the technology is.

Posted by Jim1207 on (June 29, 2011, 19:58 GMT)

Truth is LBW decisions - with or without DRS - is always problem if we start questioning umpire's decisions and start complaining if umpires make mistakes. This is the reason ICC has decided now to give more information to them by showing the ball trajectory until the point of impact and allowing umpires to decide the prediction. Sure, it could also go wrong sometimes. But the problem with hawk-eye is they need to give their software to independent scientific assessment. People say hawk-eye manufacturers & MCC have done testing but that's not enough to make everyone agree. If Hawk-eye really wants to earn money and their technology is more appropriate than not, why do not they ask a professional to test their accuracy and show the results to the public? Their hesitation on that tempts me to doubt the accuracy in their prediction. If they do it, & then also if BCCI disagress, thats a mistake. As of now, BCCI or anyone has right to doubt. Prove the theory and it would come into practice.

Posted by qpeedore on (June 29, 2011, 19:53 GMT)

You know, it's very simple to settle all the Hawkeye disputes. Let the ICC spend some of its money to test the thing properly.

It is an established fact that the tracking aspect of Hawkeye is near perfect in terms of accuracy. Well, get a bowler to bowl a few, and track them all the way without having a batsman in place. That way we know what Hawkeye sees is exactly the same thing that has happened.

Then you take the same delivery, stop the tracking at the batsman's popping crease, and use the predictive side of Hawkeye to see where it thinks the ball will go. Compare the prediction with the tracking. Simple.

Repeat a few hundred times with different bowlers on different pitches. Publish the entire study so that it can be replicated by anyone with the money and technology.

Nobody has a right to complain about Hawkeye then.

Posted by hattima on (June 29, 2011, 19:45 GMT)

Guys, please consider the following facts: a stump has a maximum diameter of 3.81cm; according to a report published in the hawk-eye website, in "normal" LBW situations their predictions can have error upto 1.5cm, and in "extreme" situations their predictions can have error upto 2.5cm. In case of tennis, where the margin of error is much lower, there are still many controversies regarding hawk-eye predictions which are well-documented. On the other hand, if the ICC is to be believed (why not?), the worst of their elite umpires have a 96% correct decision making record. Extrapolation is not an easy job, so I sympathise with the people behind hawk-eye but I fail to see why ICC has to invest so much money behind a potentially inaccurate system. (I am not sure if I am allowed to post links here, so I am leaving it to you to google to find the links.)

Posted by redbrand on (June 29, 2011, 18:52 GMT)

I am surprised that there has been virtually no discussion about not using runners for injured batsmen, especially in first class cricket matches. Let's suppose that in the 1st session of a test, India v England in Mumbai, that England win the toss and decide to bat. And let's further suppose that Sachin Tendulkar in the 2nd over, slips whilst fielding a ball and injures himself so that he is not able to run, he can walk with a limp but can't run. Able to bat but can't run at all. This decision by the ICC will now mean that he will not really be able to bat, possibly in both innings! Is that what is really intended? I don't think this has been thought through properly. The argument that is given is "well if abowler is injured, he doesn't get any assistance from someone else to bowl for him but that is a poor argument ra=eally because the runner for an injured batsman does not bat but simply runs.

Posted by mrmonty on (June 29, 2011, 16:55 GMT)

@Lateralis, read my post before going off. I said I have no problem until the point of impact. What I have problem with is the predictive path. So, you are saying the tracking algorithm can predict where Mendis' delivery will go without the knowledge of what kind of a delivery he has attempted? Must be GodsEye instead of Hawkeye then! And, those who claim the accuracy is 90% and above, which were the bowlers it was tested on? Was it tested on club class (or worse Hawkeye's employees bowling in straight lines) or international class bowlers? I bet it was never tested on Mendis/Murali/Harbhajan/Swann. So, how can the algorithm account for their variations and guile. And, when was the last time a vendor of a technology didnot claim 99% accuracy?

And @Lateralis, don't brag about being experimental physicist. Your logic does not get a boost that way. Will you be awe if I revealed I have a PhD in mechanics? Like the batsmen, play the ball (in this case logic) on its merit.

Posted by CaptainSensible on (June 29, 2011, 15:48 GMT)

If you have been following the cricket with Hawk Eye technology in use, then you will no doubt be saddened to see that the BCCI have not sanctioned it, the technology is entertaining, extremely competent (it helps to justify 98% Plus of the Umpires decisions, and correct the few bad ones), the crowds love it and the players accept it. No Hawk Eye means poor decisions (yesterday, an LBW in the Eng v SL -was going miles down leg, but given out). Eagle Eye (used in Ashes) stops the ball on it's impact with the pad. This is flawed because Human input must be made to determine when the impact has occurred and a fraction of a seconds difference can see the ball sailing over the top of the stumps as the impact can appear much higher if stopped at the wrong time. Hawk Eye tracking follows the trajectory, spin and swing of the ball and does not have a bad day. It is more accurate than a split second of the human eye. Prehistoric thinking on this one I'm afraid. I hope this one bites back ...

Posted by   on (June 29, 2011, 14:49 GMT)

200ondebut - you could not be more right.

Posted by Yevghenny on (June 29, 2011, 14:34 GMT)

This wasn't even a discussion until India kicked off about hawkeye. The rules are the same for both sides, so whatever injustices India have felt would have happened to any other side. It has helped reach far more correct decisions than wrong decisions

Without DRS, Cook would have been erroneously given out on several occasions during the recent Ashes. There is still the problem of thin edges, but that's going to be a problem with or without technology

Also, happy to see Raina complain about his decision, bet he wishes he had DRS

Posted by JustAGame on (June 29, 2011, 13:58 GMT)

Can someone explain to me what is the problem with ball tracking? I understand that it may miss little bit of swing of the ball in the air due to inability to calculate quality of air and roughness of the ball. But off the pitch movement is pretty accurate to calculate. If you have three points (three frames in this case), you can calculate curve accurately.A front view camera can capture line and a side view camera can capture length. Superimposing of this two images will yield fairly precise 3D trajectory. Technology may miss couple of points mentioned above( May have error is a right statement tho, tech is not going to miss any aspect entirely!) Umpire may miss off the pitch movement as well. Technology should assist umpire in making better decision, final call should be of the umpire.

Posted by inswing on (June 29, 2011, 13:57 GMT)

@ShadySlim, you are incorrect. They measured the accuracy of actual vs. predicted paths and found it to be very good. There was a pdf posted on cricinfo by one of their engineers that addressed this and a number of other objections (go to hawk eye website, click on Cricket, click on "accuracy and believability -- read more"). The reported measurements of accuracy cannot be done without comparing the actual path to a predicted path. And if one does not believe these numbers for some reason, another panel can be appointed to repeat these tests. If BCCI or Bal had demanded another independent verification of prediction accuracies, that would be eminently reasonable.

Posted by scritty on (June 29, 2011, 13:02 GMT)

This fear of technology is very sad. In close cases the umpires word IS final. The ball has to be hitting (or missing) by at least 50% of the balls width for an umpires decision to be overturned. This is completely inside the tolerances of hawkeye. Also a full purchased hawkeye installation requires about $200,000 per location (or 3 days and one sessions play for hiring the same equipment according to Sidharth Mongia) So it would seem to never make sense to hire for 5 days something that would be far cheaper to buy and own outright! A ball, once in flight, has a relatively predictable path. Hawkeye cannot (and does not ) EVER predict the bounce of a ball, and if the ball is due to bounce AFTER impact with pad (for LBW) Hawkeye is not used, this nonsense about someone's flipper or someones top spinner is totally irrelavent. Worse still, the TV viewers WILL HAVE HAWKEYE and we will be back to the situation where the umpire is the one who knows the least. That's not good for anyone.

Posted by Zahurs on (June 29, 2011, 13:00 GMT)

As per the facts and clarifications BCCI supports DRS. It objects to Ball tracking technology only.Reasons the technology does not take into considerations the real surroundings ex: the pitch the ball keeps low or bouncy or grassy etc which is factual and which is the facts encountered by player & the guiding force to our international cricket (we dont play on mats/ or artificial turf) The ball tracking technology since is a computer program considers the pitch as (mats/or artifical turf) not having also effect if it is very windy,soggy etc ie what the ball will actually do. If i was a batsmen than my bat,feet moments will take this all into consideration. What does Gramme Swan a very clever person the one who benefits most do he targets areas as per drs program he is not bothered about actual situation which will effect the trajectory of the ball. He gets wickets where he may not get if as per actual surroundings. Tendulkar and Dhoni are clever and realise this . It is not Bcci issue

Posted by   on (June 29, 2011, 12:58 GMT)

Sambit, you can't be more right. However, your reservations about where Hawkeye's use should be limited will be no issue, once there's consensus by all on what the common rule is. I think we've seen enough of the technology to be satisfied that it removes more than 90% of the human error - what else do we want? Hence, any player who is still objecting to it has one thing in mind; that is, he doesn't believe in fair play! I think without calling any name, some of these players have been identified over the years which is unfortunate. But I like those umpires who work without fear and favor for name, whether it's King or Emperor, or God. In this context, I think the umpires now officiating in the series between WI and India are doing a great job without the use of the DRS system. By this I mean, they are making their decisions based on what they think is fair, and not concerned which planet the player comes from. They get lots wrong but they cannot correct them! It's not their fault

Posted by omkar on (June 29, 2011, 12:48 GMT)

For once I think the BCCI are correct with their thinking here - not necessarily explained well, I agree. Actually ball tracking is flawed (despite its 9x% accuracy) and does not satisfy ICC's purpose of using DRS which is to avoid "howlers". Ball tracking beyond the point of pitch provides very little to what the umpire already knows. The most useful piece of technology is actually Hot Spot which is actually absolutely perfect to avoid howlers ie undetected edges (or incorrect ones), bat-pad catches, LBWs where bat may be involved or glove/armguard catches! If its just pitch-map which provides information on whether the ball pitched outside leg then I agree that its not worth the extra effort/complication of adding ball tracking to the system. Most howlers WILL be avoided by just using Hot Spot aided by Snicko. If people study the evidence of all the challenged decisions since DRS was introduced, you will see that just using Hot Spot would remove most howlers!

Posted by HEARTOUT on (June 29, 2011, 12:25 GMT)

well well well at last ICC & ECB showed some teeth with chewing ability and now India will see and use their brains in the ground without their home ground and crowed............Just thinking how many wickets Waqar and wasim would take if they this system working at their times............any guesses.......

Posted by megaCricFan on (June 29, 2011, 12:23 GMT)

All technologies has to start somewhere. When they do start they are not perfect. They may never get to be perfect because of various reason like Cost, time etc. Again there is no harm in India not choosing to have DRS, as its not like that only when india is batting they are not choosing to have DRS. Fairness of the game comes as long as its implemented consistently in that game not across all games and all countries. To the matter of fact that umpires call wides inconsistently however they do consistently inconsistent in a game then its fine. If ICC really wants to enforce the DRS system, then they can do it, dont leave it upto the teams playing but make it a rule. If you dont abide by the rules then dont let them play. However I dont think they are in a position to do that at this point. It was same until few years ago when Australia or England were the ICC, now its India's turn.

Posted by 200ondebut on (June 29, 2011, 11:43 GMT)

The trustworthiness of hawk eye is taken into consideration. The ball has to be hitting within the mid point of the stump otherwise it is "umpire's call".

I think DRS has been an excellent addition to international cricket - not only have numerous decisions been overturned as a result (and the right result given) but it has also resulted in a reduction in hysterical and over the top appealing. Behaviour is better and umpires more respected.

Posted by i_witnessed_2011 on (June 29, 2011, 11:42 GMT)

@Mohancs: Yes, I agree with you. and to see whether ball pitched outside leg, you dont need ball tracking system. We often see a marking (a red colored strip) between stumps whenever bowler put steps in danger area (Latest example is praveen kumar). Same strips can be used for marking the pitch of the ball.

Posted by UniversalFriend on (June 29, 2011, 11:22 GMT)

@moBlue, @Jim, etc. - You are all right on the point guys. If there need to be hawk-eye then atleast it should be used until to see actual point of contact not prediction. I think BCCI should think atleast about that so that there will be some consistency in DRS. Like somebody mentioned Hot spot, snicko, or any other expensive technologies should be mae available by ICC like they give umpires. ICC indeed didn't make DRS mandatory by including the phrase "subject to availability and commercial considerations". If ZIM Vs BAN doesn't make money for anyone then obviously they will not at all use DRS (they may go for hawk-eye as it is less expensive than others). Umpires, players, broadcasters, match referees, etc., will have to carry lot of policy books to understand which rules they are following for each match.. hahah..LOL.. LOL..LOL :-). Ironically, that joke may not apply to Indian players as BCCI got what they want. I completely agree with Sambit Lal.

Posted by Lateralis on (June 29, 2011, 11:07 GMT)

There appears to be a lot of confusion as to what HawkEye does. It tracks the ball through the air up until the point of contact with the pad. Whether the weather changes or not, whether Mendis bowls his legbreak, offbreak or arm ball is immaterial for the ball tracking software - it tracks it regardless of what the bowler actually does. So MrMonty, your first point is meaningless. There are however, some very good points for discussion which are never mentioned, none more important than the accuracy of the technique. Some, mostly BCCI members, claim it is hugely inaccurate. I believe the HawkEye makers claim it is about 97% accurate. To me that's good enough, but the implementation needs refining. My own thoughts on this matter need a little more than 1000 characters to explain though. (As an aside, for you MrMonty, I am an experimental physicist but do my own modelling and theoretical calculations.)

Posted by   on (June 29, 2011, 10:17 GMT)

If the system is so good, why doesn't the ICC want to pay for it? It looks like Lorgat wants to play by his rules but the bat has to be brought by the street sweeper!

Posted by   on (June 29, 2011, 10:09 GMT)

@baskarak : This proves that you have never played cricket in your life. What is to stop a pair of batsmen who want to save a test from standing plumb in front of the stumps and letting the ball thud into the pad every time? It would not spoon a catch is the batsman is relaxed and tilting backwards - it would just lob to the ground. Absolutely ridiculous idea.

Posted by cyniket on (June 29, 2011, 10:09 GMT)

the predictive capacity of hawk-eye is plainly superior to that of any human eye. It's been empirically tested. you can feed information into the software from a real delivery, up to a certain point (20 yards for example) and see if it matches the reality. there is a 3mm margin of error. it's so successful that the umpires themselves use it to improve their decision making, people like taufel and dar look at it's results when they are doing their research. we've seen the results of this with umpires giving more lbws against batsmen on the front foot. given that the umpires are looking at it to determine what they should be giving out, it is particularly ludicrous that anyone should oppose it (whoever they are). I would like to see the umpire's call facility done away with, it's the last remaining imbalance. it means two batsmen from opposing teams can be caught on the pad in exactly the same way, but only one is given out, depending on the whim of the umpire.

Posted by Exfactor44 on (June 29, 2011, 9:33 GMT)

As someone who has studied engineering and can therefore understand the mechanics that go into the DRS I find it hard to accept people calling it "untrustworthy". More likely what they mean is "I don't believe it is out and just because a machine that is more accurate than me in that situation says it's out doesn't mean it is out". To be honest I think HawkEye is the most useful technology of the lot considering how many LBWs are given these days.

Posted by D.V.C. on (June 29, 2011, 8:22 GMT)

"To rely on the predicted path of the ball, though, is to make a leap of faith not only in the technologies " As a physicist I'm incensed by this comment. No wonder people are irrational over the science of climate change, nobody even believes scientists can accurately predict projectile motion any more!

Posted by BellCurve on (June 29, 2011, 8:21 GMT)

Indians are naturally cautious. Most Indians prefer batting to bowling. Many Indians worship Tendulkar. Many Indians are very poor. Given these facts, the BCCI's stance makes complete political sense.

Posted by heat-seeker on (June 29, 2011, 8:17 GMT)

@inswing - you are misinformed. " The accuracy can be and has been verified by comparing the actual against the predicted path, in a variety of conditions for a variety of bowlers." This hasn't been done by Hawkeye, or any outside independent panel of engineers. There are no such test results on actual vs predicted paths on either Hawkeye's site or the ICC site. In fact, the CEC statement 2 days ago mentioned that independent expert analysis would now be commissioned for ball tracking technologies.

Posted by rkannancrown on (June 29, 2011, 7:37 GMT)

The logical thing is to accept technology where it is infalliable and that is what the ICC conference has done. The world cup completely exposed Hawk Eye as more unreliable than human error and it is surprising to find a lot of persons still supporting it. Now, we have technology which takes over in case of line decisions and contact decisions (like snicks etc). The problem is only related to LBW decisions and BCCI stand is more logical than many other boards which seem keen to push through a technology that is unreliable. What has been agreed is if two boards want to use unreliable technology, it is ok with ICC but it will not be mandatory. This is akin to the earlier principle of acepting the palyer's word.

Posted by   on (June 29, 2011, 7:02 GMT)

This is a great article, and gets down to the central problems with DRS

- if the predictive technology is as great as is said by the ECB/ACB/etc. then the BCCI should have towed the line. If it is as bad as the BCCI say, then they should have been able to produce compelling evidence to convince other boards. This unhappy compromise suggests (although there is no proof) that the former is true, but that the BCCI simply refused to budge.

- the question of payment is a real problem. Of course the ICC should fund the technology - asking boards to fund it is fine for the ECB, ACB, BCCI but not for the smaller nations. However perhaps funds could be supplied by the wealthier boards into some kind of 'technology fund' to pay for this technology in all bilateral series?

It's worth noting that most countries were skeptical about the DRS when it came in, in part due to initial mismanagement from captains. However, they have all adjusted - perhaps it is time for the BBCI to follow suite.

Posted by indianpunter on (June 29, 2011, 6:58 GMT)

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Unfortunately, the strong arming of BCCI is something the cricket world has to live with for now. BCCI had a great opportunity but they dont understand that with great power, comes greater responsibility. I am glad that Hotspot has been endorsed and firmly believe that ball tracking should be used, but only till the point of impact. How can Hawkeye judge the pace and bounce of a 5th day wicket compared to a 1st day wicket? Give the umpire his due, for the experience and excellence he brings to the table.

Posted by Sonamt on (June 29, 2011, 6:10 GMT)

The timing systems used in 100 metre races are not 100% accurate. Should we therefore go back to letting the human eye determine the winner of the showpiece event at the Olympic games? I can understand why people do not think that Hawk-Eye is 100% accurate, but anyone who doesn't think it's considerably more reliable than human judgement must be living in a dreamworld. It's sad that, as with just about everything in the modern world, money and power rules over common sense.

Posted by Night-Watchman on (June 29, 2011, 5:42 GMT)

Where are the technical details of the DRS are available? Basically it is a software assisted trajectory extrapolation. It can go wrong, for eg: the velocity of the ball after pitching is not uniform in two paced pitches. There will be spots where the breaking surface cushions the ball and decelerates it. So the final extrapolated trajectory will be different from what the on-field umpire, who based on realtime evidence judged. A good test for such systems is to present the trajectory data until the bounce, ask it to extrapolate, see if it matches real trajectory on a wide variety of pitches. Such tests should be done and accuracy measures published. Why the secrecy?

So there is certainly a case for "someone's imagination vs umpire's judgement" argument.

On the other hand, the Hotspot and Snickometer are the technologies to support. There is nothing left to imagination or extrapolation. These systems present a recorded evidence which umpires might have missed.

Posted by QTS_ on (June 29, 2011, 5:21 GMT)

Extrapolation by Hawk-eye is based on drawing a tangent on the trajectory of the ball at the point of impact. Inside a relatively short range, e.g. less than 2.5 m, this trajectory is essentially a straight line, even for Anderson-like deliveries. Also, a ball swings in exactly one direction - it does not change its direction once it has pitched and chosen its path. Therefore, if only the point where the ball pitches and the point of impact are known, a straight line needs to be formed through the two points (although an actual Hawk-eye uses more than two points). The process involves assumptions in moderation, and given the mathematical basis, a computer is far more consistently accurate in the extrapolation than a human being. Comparison with experimental data has shown nearly perfect match with Hawk-eye predictions. Those who harbour reservations owing to the miniscule discrepancy can consider questioning finger-print and DNA uniqueness.

Posted by dr.thirsty on (June 29, 2011, 4:58 GMT)

What we have here is effectively a face saving measure for a body with a hugely inflated sense of its own worth. As Sambit rightly says, how can we have 2 sets of rules in one game? Try to visualise FIFA saying that from now on the offside rule does not apply in games involving Brazil, but can be used by all other teams if they wish. Clearly, the ICC is not going to grow a pair any time soon - too many vested interests & back room deals to be done - but surely even they can uphold the simple principle of the majority rules & then implement a universal system based on that. Matches that don't follow the rules would then be denied Test status & effectively become international exhibition matches. @correctcall; agree with most of what you say but you are wrong in saying English fans will be deprived of Hawkeye on our tv screens. It will still be shown to everyone watching... except the umpires of course.

Posted by vmind on (June 29, 2011, 4:53 GMT)

6.4 Muralitharan to Sehwag, OUT, Mahela asks for the Review for the lbw. The ball pitched on the leg stump line - - half outside leg and half inside- and straightened and Sehwag shouldered arms. The ball clipped the inner half of the front pad - which was placed around the leg stump line - and then went on to hit the back pad in front of the stumps. It's a slightly tough one. It hit the front pad first and then deflected. After the chat with the third umpire, Benson has given it out. Joy for Sri Lanka. What a blow from Murali.

Let's rewind: I will have a look at the replays - they have gone for ad breaks - to see whether it was the topspinner or doosra - in which case he would be out - or was it the off break in which case considering it hit the front pad first, you can say it would have turned to miss the leg stump. Boycott, on air, reckons it should not have been given out.

Posted by Woody111 on (June 29, 2011, 4:47 GMT)

Nice arguments Sambit. I think it would be helpful if everyone simply accepted that the DRS cannot be perfect and that it was not implemented to help adjudge close lbw decsions and the like. The fact that so much discussion has centred around the ball-tracking technology (ie the path of the ball on a variable surface) highlights the extent to which we've forgotten about why it got brought in in the first place. Sachin was right to raise the issue of what wasn't being used, although the BCCI has been arrogant and self-righteous in the manner it has argued its point. What we can do is make DRS mandatory for all test matches; even keeping it 'dependent on availability' as it will be the same for both sides. We have to respect the umpires more insofar as they will always do their best to make the right decision. We have to trust their sight of where the ball has pitched, hit and where it would have gone had the batsman not been there. Whether whatever specific technology is used or not.

Posted by JustAGame on (June 29, 2011, 4:45 GMT)

Things aren't black or white, they are mostly gray. We have umpires to determine (with their own non-biased judgement) how much percentage black and white is present in that gray shade. Equip them with all the technology which can assist them in making better decisions. Their would be some flaws, there would be some wrong decisions but believe in umpire that he has made best use of available resources to give correct decision.Technology is there to assist them since they sometimes miss things in real time with all the action happening around.There shouldn't be any hard and fast rules regarding technology--pitching ball outside leg stump--point of impact 2.5 m away etc. Umpire first-Technology second. Period.

Posted by hattima on (June 29, 2011, 4:35 GMT)

@inswing: Statistically speaking, predictions are predictions because they are not 'fact's. The best you can do is give a margin of error. The bone of contention indeed is the margin of error for hawk-eye, which is cleverly ignored by the manufacturers, who make many people believe that they are 100% accurate, which is obviously not true. The study that you mention is almost impossible given the variations involved in bowling conditions, and in such situations expert opinion (umpires') could be more accurate than simplistic statistical softwares, (that's what the predictive part of hawk-eye basically is.)

Posted by hattima on (June 29, 2011, 4:29 GMT)

I have the same question as mohancs. If the third umpire clearly sees that the ball pitched outside the leg stump or the impact is outside the offstump while offering a stroke or is too high, does the DRS stop him from overturning the onfield umpire's decision? Sometime things are so obvious that you do not need technology. Also, I wonder if we really need hawk-eye just to see the point of impact or the line where the ball pitches. It can be achieved by slow motion cameras that are used for line decisions, and also by thermal mapping (hot spot). Hawk-eye is an overpriced underachieving software that depends on prediction with dubious levels of correctness, as evidenced by the Sachin Tendulkar decision in the India-Pakistan semifinal. It was a ridiculous decision, and BCCI is right to suspect a software that gives such decisions.

Posted by MrMMJ on (June 29, 2011, 4:27 GMT)

I agree with Jim1207. People in their zest for badmouthing BCCI conviniently forget that in 2009 it was Pakistan which did not let their players to participate in IPL. Pakistani authorities did not issue them security clearance despite the fact that IPL2009 was played not in India but in South Africa. By this act Pakistanis showed great disrespect to South Africans too. When it comes to DRS then I believe that BCCI's decision to oppose it brought many facets of DRS to fore.It opened up a lot of debate among the players, experts and cricket lovers. This is the right thing to do if we really believe that cricket to be run democratically. Otherwise all other boards simply nodded their heads without giving any thinking.

Posted by frommoonman on (June 29, 2011, 4:27 GMT)

Anyone who has seen the LBW decision Review against Sehwag in SL back in 2008 will NEVER support DRS. The cameras can not always be positioned straight in line with the stumps, the side cameras can not track it fast enough and in the end, there is human element which decides the impact and plots the ball's trajectory - how can one account for the ball that has hit the crack? change of pace? bounce off of half-volley? These are all estimates and does not necessorily correct. Also using the ball-tracking is optional. If all boards want similar playing field as India, they can decide not to use it. No one is holding a gun to theri head and says they must use it. Good job by BCCI. They are not stupid. They know what they are talking about.

Posted by Mohancs on (June 29, 2011, 0:00 GMT)

Hi Sambit,

Here is some food for thought. Using your example of a batsman in an India match appealing against an lbw decision when the ball has pitched outside leg stump, I believe the third umpire can still rule that not out albeit without the help of ball tracking.

Posted by mrmonty on (June 28, 2011, 23:44 GMT)

@Rezaul, what scientific theories and data training! Does it account for what the bowler did bowl at his end? Case in point, when Mendis is bowling his leg-spin, off-spin and no-spin from the same angle/height/trajectory, how does the ball tracking account for it? Same goes for pitch conditions. The pitch/playing conditions change throughout a game; moisture in pitch/in air, grass texture at the point of impact, soil texture of the pitch, cracks in the pitch, condition of the ball; they all change. So, do not make the claim that a technique is flawless because it has been spit out by a computer. Anyone that has done any physical process modeling will tell you that your results are as accurate as your assumptions.

@Jim1207 I agree with you, mate. The ball tracking should be left at the point of impact, on batsman's leg and not be predicting anything beyond it. Just to allow the umpire to change his mind on that evidence.

Posted by vinaykn on (June 28, 2011, 23:05 GMT)

I really do not understand what is the problem with DRS. Earlier doctors used to diagnosis using their previous experience on the symptoms. Now they are using CT Scan,Endoscopy etc for diagnosis. It is technology and will help human judgement which done through some guessing. Some doctors/hospitals use this diagnosis just for making money. We have to find the ways to stop it, but here it is asking for stopping diagnosis at all. Very funny argument. Either human mind or hawk-eye or hot spot etc all are guessing the path of ball. Using the technology for this guessing is not sin as you are doing same thing with human mind.

Posted by inswing on (June 28, 2011, 21:59 GMT)

"To rely on the predicted path of the ball, though, is to make a leap of faith" - Bal is at the same level of illogical thought as BCCI officials that he is criticizing. Accuracy of the prediction is a verifiable and measurable fact. It is NOT a matter of imagination, judgment, faith, trust, or feelings. The accuracy can be and has been verified by comparing the actual against the predicted path, in a variety of conditions for a variety of bowlers. This can be repeated again by independent experts if necessary, which should satisfy anyone capable of rational thought. The path predicted by the umpire, in his head, on the other hand, is demonstrably less accurate. Believing that path, ironically, is more of a leap of faith.

Posted by batnpad on (June 28, 2011, 20:40 GMT)

To all the BCCI bashers and ultimately-has even someone refered themselves-India bashers, Could you please tell us who is going to sponsor for the technology when Zimbabwe hosts Bangladesh in a couple of months? Without answering that the ICC has already made DRS mandatory. Wonder what if DRS was backed by BCCI and wanted it made mandatory. I bet the same people will be on the other side of the fence and pointing to BCCI financial clout as reason for affordability.

Posted by moBlue on (June 28, 2011, 20:29 GMT)

... get the "mat" to rule out a ball pitched outside leg, get hotSpot and snicko to detect an edge, if possible, and to assist with determination of "point of contact" in LBW appeals, use technology to rule-out no-balls... and *that* should be it! dhoni was absolutely right when he said it was wrong to adulterate human judgment with technology! what am i missing, people? :)

Posted by moBlue on (June 28, 2011, 20:25 GMT)

...[continued...] i realize the LBW laws call for the umpire to "predict" if the ball would have, in *his* judgment and his alone, hit the stumps, and if it were, the batter would be deemed out. so... what could be done - and in my opinion, what should be done - is that the umpire (through the third umpire) should get assistance in simply re-visiting and confirming what happened *until* the point of impact, and then be allowed to revise his "judgment", if necessary, based on any new facts! but there should be no *predictive* technology used to help the umpire with his judgment of what may have happened after the impact, because his judgment is *just as good*, and not any less accurate, than the ball tracker's, as i have argued above, though a lot of people think that physics and technology "more accurately" predict the future! they don't! there is no such thing! :) but technology should be used non-predictively - that *is* more accurate! get the "mat" out to rule out...

Posted by nnvv on (June 28, 2011, 20:21 GMT)

As a matter of fact, the hawkeye in tennis is used only in deterministic way. Because there is no need to predict the path. In case of LBWs , prediction is necessary and thats where hawkeye is not trustworthy.

Posted by moBlue on (June 28, 2011, 20:15 GMT)

look... this issue is so straight-forward, from my perspective! i am sure someone with more sense than me (hopefully) will point out where i am wrong! the ball tracker [hawk-eye and virtual eye] is *predictive* - there is no such thing as "an accurate prediction!" cricket is a funny game... life is a funny game! haven't you seen the ball hit the stumps in an international game and the bails not be dislodged, and therefore the batsman was not out *bowled*? i have! [SA vs. IND, maybe?] so... even if the ball-tracking technology shows the ball to be "in line" with the stumps, there is *no guarantee* that the batter would have been out - with 100% certainty! [another example is dhoni catching a batter in front of the stumps! what if he had missed? how can a ball tracker predict *that*?!?] so... while it appears that predictive technology is "more accurate", it is not! it is a fallacy! now i realize the LBW laws call for the umpire's "judgment" in this regard - which is another... [more...]

Posted by Jim1207 on (June 28, 2011, 20:04 GMT)

fazlanka, India played around 20 matches in a year to help Sri lankan board to earn money. In return you guys just rebuke BCCI. You need not appreciate but could stop criticizing. Pak players are not playing in IPL because their government stopped them playing there in 2009, and thereafter BCCI stopped to accept them and even franchises are not willing to believe these players' availability - which is a very fair point on BCCI or Indian side. Please check the history. BCCI is not trying to destabilise SLPL now but they just do not want their players to be playing there. None of your criticism is valid, so please understand.

Posted by Quazar on (June 28, 2011, 20:00 GMT)

Just as I spoke about the dropping umpiring standards, even the usually reliable Asad Rauf made a blooper like Daryl Harper.

Posted by Quazar on (June 28, 2011, 19:58 GMT)

@fazlanka...in fact, if Federer (or any player) and his opponent in the match agree to switch off Hawkeye, it is switched off.

Posted by Quazar on (June 28, 2011, 19:57 GMT)

@fazlanka... in fact, if Federer (or any player) and his opponent in the match agree to switch off Hawkeye, it is switched off.

Posted by Quazar on (June 28, 2011, 19:54 GMT)

Sambit, lots of fair points. But as @nvpar noted, even now we have different playing conditions in cricket: no Hotspot in the WI for their home Tests, no Hotspot at the WC, different no. of Hotspot cameras in Aus and NZ, VirtualEye in some places, Hawkeye in others. That doesn't make the cricket any poorer, or less worth watching, or less competitive. And do note that Hawkeye's application is inconsistent in Tennis too... it is not used at the French Open and clay court tournaments; and if both players agree, it is switched off even in other tournaments. Consistent playing conditions is an issue for sure...but it's not a catastrophe. A bigger issue is improving the levels of umpiring in the game...there are just too many ordinary umpires going around, even in the elite panel.

Posted by mafiasam on (June 28, 2011, 19:37 GMT)

@fazlanka.. clearly, you have issues with Sachin Tendulkar... at no time Sachin has threatened BCCI that he will not play if DRS was used in current form, he just gave his opinion... and same goes for other 'influential' Indian players. Don't drag a player into this mess, the stance is owned by BCCI and they are the only 1 accountable for it.. ICC and other boards shud have balls enuff to say NO to BCCI. I don't endorse BCCI's stance on it, but a bully is only as strong as the bullied lets them be.

Posted by InnocentGuy on (June 28, 2011, 18:10 GMT)

First, Hot Spot and Hawk Eye are different things altogether. Second, as Sambit says it does set a dangerous precedent to have multiple playing conditions. Then again, this is neither new nor unexpected considering that the BCCI has been the controlling body for quite a few years now. Third, no technology can be 100% accurate. Especially not these since part of the technology relies on 'prediction' or 'forecasting'. It's like saying that the weather prediction is not 100% accurate so no one should use weather forecasting. That's dumb. Technology exists to make things better, not perfect. There will be flaws. The BCCI may have legit reasons to deny it. But when all the other boards want it, BCCI must either give in and accept it as it is or continue to deny it. This middle ground makes absolutely no sense. One day all cricketers will end up playing for India and then there will be no more international matches to play. Only the IPL will exist. :/

Posted by nvpar on (June 28, 2011, 17:16 GMT)

It would've been convenient for you to forget that even now there are two varieties of officially sanctioned review systems. Leave aside India. Even among the nations who support DRS, there are two kinds of bat-pad decisions/nicks: hot spot assisted, and solely slow motion video assisted.

Posted by Rezaul on (June 28, 2011, 16:54 GMT)

Blaming Hawk eye solely is foolish. Because Hawk eye just gives you a projection which way the ball would travel based on proved scientific theories and data training. It is there to help the umpires to give the best decision considering where ball pitched (outside or inside the line) and projected path. Its the umpires who apply it. DRS was meant to be used to reduce howlers. Its the humanś responsibility to apply it correctly not politcize it as did the over power BCCI. Sachin and MSD dont trust it as it will take away improper advantage from them. So BCCI got adamant on DRS issue. And the outcome is a middle position of using Hot spot not Hawk eye. I mean why cant both Hawk eye and Hot spot be used together as mandatory? BCCI position in this case is like a 6 year old boy who should eat something but refuse to have cereal as it is in his hand rather he wants candy. But my question is why cant be both cereal and candy?

Posted by Avner on (June 28, 2011, 16:40 GMT)

LOL while the article was spot on- comments from @ Fazlanka are totally biased and spoken without any basis without understanding the issue. the Indian team has a legitimate grouse about the ball tracker technology- hawkeye and they were right in protesting. I

Posted by anoopshameed on (June 28, 2011, 15:59 GMT)

"If they had a strong case, the BCCI had the opportunity, and the responsibility as the undisputed leader in the game, to persuade other members with the force of reason"-really how many cricket fans would have beleived it, however sane the reasons might have been? And if such a step was taken by the BCCI, I am sure we would have got to read another article on how the BCCI arm twisted the other boards to fall in line-ofcourse by the same Sambit Bal!

Posted by Mephistopheles01 on (June 28, 2011, 15:41 GMT)

Brilliant article. Democracy should have held sway and the Indians should have gone along with it. Its the same for all the sides. However, its better than nothing.

Posted by Jim1207 on (June 28, 2011, 15:16 GMT)

With hawk-eye, can anyone promise a perfect solution? It has so many flaws like giving different verdicts to same delivery for LBWs, only two referrals an innings, lingering doubt about the authenticity of hawk-eye ball tracking & having no independent scientific assessment till date for the technology. The very purpose of DRS is to eliminate howlers and not about giving 100% decisions and making redundancy to umpires. It is only to help them. ICC has decided now to just eliminate howlers without scrutinizing every umpiring LBW decision which hawk-eye does. Seeing the ball trackers, people have now started questioning umpires on every wrong decision made in LBWs, while they even do not have any idea of how to resolve LBW problem completely. If ICC's decision to just eliminate howlers like bat-pad, pitching outside stump lines using hot spot is called as BCCI's bullying, this article looks silly. You could have given solution but didn't. Then why blame ICC if you do not have the answer?

Posted by   on (June 28, 2011, 13:58 GMT)

Trust Sambit Bal to provide a rare voice of reason amid the cacophony. Trust the ICC and BCCI to ignore such voices. 'Political expediency' seems to be the reason behind just this decision but also that of the Associate Nations participating in the world cup. While we cricket lovers celebrate the latter decision, what apparently interests the ICC and BCCI more is the issue of the ICC President. The path they seem to be ready to go down reeks of the worst of Indian politics.

Posted by   on (June 28, 2011, 13:22 GMT)

Brilliant article. Coming from the editor-in-chief, it does really uphold the principles of being of the highest quality. Was a pleasure to read this one!

Posted by correctcall on (June 28, 2011, 13:18 GMT)

The ICC must take responsibility for both the cost and operation of UDRS. They provide the human umpires and should do the same for their technical assistance. Dravid, Sewag, Gambir (note all batsman) and Flethcher who favour the full UDRS, need to work on Dhoni, Sachin and Srinivasan. There will be uproar in Australia amongst the fans if they are denied Hawk Eye for the much anticipated upcoming summer series against India. The penny does not seem to have dropped yet amongst English fans that they will also be deprived of it on their TV screens shortly.

Posted by baskarak on (June 28, 2011, 13:17 GMT)

Cricket should completely get rid of LBW as a mode of dismissal. So there wouldn't be any leg byes, these will count towards batsman, Pad only catches are considered Out.

Among all modes of dismissal, LBW is the most subjective and hence a significant portion of the debate about UDRS is about this particular mode of dismissal.

Similarly freehit should be banned. No ball already has an extra run and extra ball with no possibility of batsman getting out in that ball. So why another advantage to the batsman?

No. of bouncers per over should be 3. We don't have many fast bowlers of the past who bowl genuinly quick. Current bowlers wear out after a few years. Hence there is not much danger to batsman.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (June 28, 2011, 12:44 GMT)

Spoke like a true cricket lover, Sambit. Every word in the article conveyed all the angst and dismay I felt on hearing this decision (or non-decision) by the ICC. When will be the moneybags listen?

Posted by CricketMaan on (June 28, 2011, 12:43 GMT)

It funny to think that Swann will contest a LBW against Aussies but not against India..so confusing for a player..but as English Media suggests, Swann is no big threat for India, rather is Jimmy who will swing the ball and Bhajji who won't spin the ball.

Posted by ElPhenomeno on (June 28, 2011, 12:37 GMT)

I couldn't agree more with Sambit. When I read the ICC - BCCI reach DRS agreement article yesterday I was left with the 3 lettered expression. Its more like BCCI got ICC to reach its terms. BCCI has never opposed hot spot and snickometer. The issue was always with hawkeye which has been resolved as far as BCCI is concerned. Now I am not saying there are no issues with hawk eye. Issues with hawk eye have been documented in tennis as well (remember nadal and federer being less than amused with hawkeye). But how is this agreement in any way a victory for ICC? And who will foot the bill for the expensive equipment? As sambit says, now there are 2 set of rules (same as before - so essentially nothing changed). 1 by which BCCI will play and the other rest can choose to play with.

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Sambit Bal Editor-in-chief Sambit Bal took to journalism at the age of 19 after realising that he wasn't fit for anything else, and to cricket journalism 14 years later when it dawned on him that it provided the perfect excuse to watch cricket in the office. Among other things he has bowled legspin, occasionally landing the ball in front of the batsman; laid out the comics page of a newspaper; covered crime, urban development and politics; and edited Gentleman, a monthly features magazine. He joined Wisden in 2001 and edited Wisden Asia Cricket and Cricinfo Magazine. He still spends his spare time watching cricket.

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