July 1, 2011

The DRS is not bigger than the game

Among the decisions taken at the ICC conference, the use of two balls and the change in Powerplay rules in ODIs will force teams to innovate
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I don't know about you but I get the feeling that the DRS is being looked at like it's a Mandela come to save South Africa or a Gandhi come to liberate India; that it is going to change the face of our game, and agreeing or disagreeing is a bit like whether or not you want to go to war to defend your nation. Accordingly the rest of the world is being projected as keepers of the faith and India as the evil nation that wants to drag the game back into the dark ages.

Yes, we want fair decisions, we want to eliminate howlers (which was the original intention, before we took sides and tried to break down the wall) but this game also survived, grew and prospered without the DRS. Other games, bigger than cricket, continue to prosper. It is an interesting element in the game, but it is not bigger than it.

So now we have universal agreement on the Hot Spot and the Snickometer, which is nice, though neither, we are now told, is foolproof. We will have ball-tracking in some series and not in others, and frankly I am not losing sleep over that. If two teams agree to use technology, so be it, and if one of them is sceptical of it, with reason, they must have the right of refusal. If at all there must be unanimity - which happens in an ideal world we don't inhabit - I'd much rather we played without ball-tracking. It's great fun on television, but the game can move along absolutely fine without it.

My view is that we use technology where umpires are handicapped: line calls, where the action is too quick; boundary calls, where the umpire is too far away; little edges here and there that are too fine to notice or hear; and points of landing and impact, where an inch here and there is virtually impossible to detect. And all that can be achieved with Hot Spot, the locked-off line cameras, and the virtual mat from stump to stump.

The mat is an interesting issue, since it is manually generated, and therefore, as some in the BCCI believe, possible to manipulate. In theory they are right, but as a dear producer friend of mine told me, manipulation will be visible. And in any case, there can be no conspiracy, since some outs become not-outs and some not-outs become outs. It is not in anyone's interest to manipulate the mat, because you cannot do it incident by incident.

So I think that is good enough technology, and enough debate for now, for there are far more interesting decisions that a top group of cricket people threw up, and which the ICC accepted.

Moving the Powerplay overs to between 16 and 40 is one of those. The idea behind the Powerplay overs is sound, but the execution was not fulfilling the purpose, which was to make the middle overs interesting. So this is a fine course correction. It forces the captain to think a bit more about his bowling, and the batting order, and adds an interesting variable for the viewer. I will be very interested in seeing how captains react.

The runner was a charming anachronism. The idea behind it was noble, but in an era of increasing athleticism, and with players becoming fitter, it had run its course. And it didn't help that players were known to take advantage of it. But it also means the substitute fielder must go, because that is a provision in the game that is significantly more abused. If a batsman is expected to be fit and to run around, a fielder must too. I think that is now an inevitable change.

But the most far-reaching change of all is the decision to use two new balls, which suggests that like fashion, the old can sometimes become new again. It was used in the early nineties, when there was a fear that it would take the spinner out of the game. But look how times change. The spinners are now pretty adept at bowling with a shiny ball. Indeed, in Twenty20 they often get the new ball, before the faster bowlers. It is now time for the fast bowlers to wonder if they will be denied reverse-swing.

But I see more interesting possibilities. Clever teams might work on one ball more than another, get one to reverse more than the other, and keep switching bowlers around. So you don't only have two halves of the ball that are unlike each other but two balls that need not resemble each other very much either. It is also an admission that you cannot now make a white ball to last 50 overs. So why not pink in course of time? Because one ball, and the consequent wear and tear, just seems right with cricket.

So hopefully when India play in England, the talk will be about cricket and not about hegemony and display of power. For power in the boardroom never takes wickets or scores runs, and that is what our game is all about.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • blondblackberry on July 4, 2011, 14:01 GMT

    drs is just a gimmick.see what happened to dhoni in 2nd test even technology can't solve the issue.

  • Nampally on July 3, 2011, 23:12 GMT

    The need for DRS arose because of some attrocious umpiring decisions, notably India Vs. Australia test match at Sydney, 3 years back.In that match Symmonds was out caught behind when he had just arrived at the crease but the WI Umpire gave him not out. He went on to get a big score which deprived India of a certain victory.This is only one example. Gone are the days of Umpire Chester who was outstanding.Now at least 30% of the umpiring decisions are questionable.So DRS will aid umpires in correcting their decisions - LBW's, No balls, caught, run out, etc.I think its implementation will assist both the parties in challenging dubious umpiring.My only query is on ball tracking because it is very difficult to predict ball trajectory without including the pitch surface hardness + its uniformity in view of cracks. The hawk eye technology is available in all sports but people still have not adapted it in all sports.I say use the technology when it is available - compensates for human errors.

  • on July 3, 2011, 3:37 GMT

    If harsha thinks DRS hasn't changed the game ...................let me tell u how much it has......................esp the ball tracking technology has really influenced cricket significantly...1) modern coaches teach batsmen to defend with bat infront of the padsand lot more modern day batsmen are using this technique........................2) Earlier batsmen would come on front foot and would play spinners virtually with their pads and conventional umpires would never give batsman out lbw in case of sppiner bowling and batsman playing on front foot but now umpires give such outs. 3) Now Umpires like Simon Toufel and Aleem Dar who give higher percentage of lbw decisions are in ellte panel earlier good umpires were supposed to never give lbw. 4) Earlier if a basman was wrongly given lbw only that was discussed but now if a batsman is wrongly given not out for an lbw appeal that too is discussed

  • Rupert147 on July 2, 2011, 21:38 GMT

    I am sure Harsha has good intentions with this comment but the Chanderpaul dismissal tonight is enough to demonbstrate why DRS is the way forward. Embarrassing for foth the umpire and the old fashioned views of the fielding side.

  • on July 2, 2011, 11:59 GMT

    Still no reason given to oppose the hawk-eye. If the pitch map is incorrectly drawn up, it will effect all the desicions in the match and has a rare posibility. If playing conditions have to be kept same for both sides than guess what we dont even need 3rd umpires.

  • skkh on July 2, 2011, 11:52 GMT

    Spot on sjitendran. Harsha's article fell far short of what he is capable of and was a real disappointment

  • amitgarg78 on July 2, 2011, 11:38 GMT

    So true. People are Clamoring for DRS as if it will solve all problems around wrong decisions. And then do we really need the on-field umpires if the decisions that they can take are all possible using a bunch of cameras in real time? And the DRS is supposed to help with the easy ones in any case. I am not a "traditionalist" but I want to see human beings do that job. At least it would be easier to put the blame on human errors than to wonder how Dhoni was dismissed in the last test even when we could .all see that the bowler cut the crease. We now know because ICC accepts the umpire was shown a wrong replay. So whose fault was that? By the looks of all posturing in the cricket world, it must be a BCCI conspiracy too! :)

  • rkannancrown on July 2, 2011, 11:15 GMT

    Harsha has written a beautical & logical piece. As to the question of whether cricket or the technology debate will dominate during India England matches, it depends on many factors. If Swann gets a ball to hit the pad of Tendulkar or Sehwag or Laxman and they are given not out, we can expect dozens of complaints. Harsha is correct in arguing that where technology aids, use it but where technology is suspect, leave it to the umpire. Just because BCCI & Harsha are saying the same thing, it does not detract from the soundness of the arguement.

  • sjitendran on July 2, 2011, 11:11 GMT

    Harsha I used to read your article because it always talk sense. But not this one. Harsha singing BCCI tune does not make convincing. Yes DRS is not bigger than cricket but it should be part of cricket for betterment. If you say DRS is not important then none of the technological advances like TV umpire, floodlight, hot spot, snickometer, etc are also innsame category. Only fools read BCCI will object to use of technology in cricket. Nobody can stop technological advancement in cricket. It is already happening in other sports like tennis, rugby, american grid, etc. Just because some diehards wants cricket to be remain conventional it will not remain same. Alsosince BCCI does not want use of DRS in the current series then it should advice its captain and players to accept the verdict of 100% error-free human umpire decisions and not to whinge about the same

  • RohCricket on July 2, 2011, 9:54 GMT

    the most obvious argument to the fact the BCCI thinks that the UDRS was not 100% accurate is the fact that umpires are not 100% accurate either. i like the fact that hotspot has been made compulsory but i don't see anything wrong with having hawkeye. it's a fantastic tool and improves the overall amount of right decisions made. we want the game to be as accurate as possible don't we? i don't see why the ICC shouldn't make hawkeye compulsory......stuff india if doesn't want the game to become better. but as harsha said, the game is just a contest between bat and ball.

  • blondblackberry on July 4, 2011, 14:01 GMT

    drs is just a gimmick.see what happened to dhoni in 2nd test even technology can't solve the issue.

  • Nampally on July 3, 2011, 23:12 GMT

    The need for DRS arose because of some attrocious umpiring decisions, notably India Vs. Australia test match at Sydney, 3 years back.In that match Symmonds was out caught behind when he had just arrived at the crease but the WI Umpire gave him not out. He went on to get a big score which deprived India of a certain victory.This is only one example. Gone are the days of Umpire Chester who was outstanding.Now at least 30% of the umpiring decisions are questionable.So DRS will aid umpires in correcting their decisions - LBW's, No balls, caught, run out, etc.I think its implementation will assist both the parties in challenging dubious umpiring.My only query is on ball tracking because it is very difficult to predict ball trajectory without including the pitch surface hardness + its uniformity in view of cracks. The hawk eye technology is available in all sports but people still have not adapted it in all sports.I say use the technology when it is available - compensates for human errors.

  • on July 3, 2011, 3:37 GMT

    If harsha thinks DRS hasn't changed the game ...................let me tell u how much it has......................esp the ball tracking technology has really influenced cricket significantly...1) modern coaches teach batsmen to defend with bat infront of the padsand lot more modern day batsmen are using this technique........................2) Earlier batsmen would come on front foot and would play spinners virtually with their pads and conventional umpires would never give batsman out lbw in case of sppiner bowling and batsman playing on front foot but now umpires give such outs. 3) Now Umpires like Simon Toufel and Aleem Dar who give higher percentage of lbw decisions are in ellte panel earlier good umpires were supposed to never give lbw. 4) Earlier if a basman was wrongly given lbw only that was discussed but now if a batsman is wrongly given not out for an lbw appeal that too is discussed

  • Rupert147 on July 2, 2011, 21:38 GMT

    I am sure Harsha has good intentions with this comment but the Chanderpaul dismissal tonight is enough to demonbstrate why DRS is the way forward. Embarrassing for foth the umpire and the old fashioned views of the fielding side.

  • on July 2, 2011, 11:59 GMT

    Still no reason given to oppose the hawk-eye. If the pitch map is incorrectly drawn up, it will effect all the desicions in the match and has a rare posibility. If playing conditions have to be kept same for both sides than guess what we dont even need 3rd umpires.

  • skkh on July 2, 2011, 11:52 GMT

    Spot on sjitendran. Harsha's article fell far short of what he is capable of and was a real disappointment

  • amitgarg78 on July 2, 2011, 11:38 GMT

    So true. People are Clamoring for DRS as if it will solve all problems around wrong decisions. And then do we really need the on-field umpires if the decisions that they can take are all possible using a bunch of cameras in real time? And the DRS is supposed to help with the easy ones in any case. I am not a "traditionalist" but I want to see human beings do that job. At least it would be easier to put the blame on human errors than to wonder how Dhoni was dismissed in the last test even when we could .all see that the bowler cut the crease. We now know because ICC accepts the umpire was shown a wrong replay. So whose fault was that? By the looks of all posturing in the cricket world, it must be a BCCI conspiracy too! :)

  • rkannancrown on July 2, 2011, 11:15 GMT

    Harsha has written a beautical & logical piece. As to the question of whether cricket or the technology debate will dominate during India England matches, it depends on many factors. If Swann gets a ball to hit the pad of Tendulkar or Sehwag or Laxman and they are given not out, we can expect dozens of complaints. Harsha is correct in arguing that where technology aids, use it but where technology is suspect, leave it to the umpire. Just because BCCI & Harsha are saying the same thing, it does not detract from the soundness of the arguement.

  • sjitendran on July 2, 2011, 11:11 GMT

    Harsha I used to read your article because it always talk sense. But not this one. Harsha singing BCCI tune does not make convincing. Yes DRS is not bigger than cricket but it should be part of cricket for betterment. If you say DRS is not important then none of the technological advances like TV umpire, floodlight, hot spot, snickometer, etc are also innsame category. Only fools read BCCI will object to use of technology in cricket. Nobody can stop technological advancement in cricket. It is already happening in other sports like tennis, rugby, american grid, etc. Just because some diehards wants cricket to be remain conventional it will not remain same. Alsosince BCCI does not want use of DRS in the current series then it should advice its captain and players to accept the verdict of 100% error-free human umpire decisions and not to whinge about the same

  • RohCricket on July 2, 2011, 9:54 GMT

    the most obvious argument to the fact the BCCI thinks that the UDRS was not 100% accurate is the fact that umpires are not 100% accurate either. i like the fact that hotspot has been made compulsory but i don't see anything wrong with having hawkeye. it's a fantastic tool and improves the overall amount of right decisions made. we want the game to be as accurate as possible don't we? i don't see why the ICC shouldn't make hawkeye compulsory......stuff india if doesn't want the game to become better. but as harsha said, the game is just a contest between bat and ball.

  • on July 2, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    its disappointing to see Harsha speaking for BCCI here. interestingly, when a good technology is there, is it bad to move on to it? Harsha says "this game also survived, grew and prospered without the DRS." So if the game had been successful uptil now, without DRS, should we believe that it will continue to do without it as well? why did we start using TV umpires for run out decision then? Have we not seen how many wrong decision were there in the WC 2011? in every match there were atleast 2 decision not right, imagine them not been able to over turn, Australia might have won the WC! and in other games, the referees do NOT make this many mistakes either! and then Harsha argues "Hot Spot and the Snickometer neither is foolproof" are umpires foolproof? this arguement of DRS being bigger than game is ridiculous!

  • on July 1, 2011, 22:24 GMT

    Harsha

    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.

  • stringbok on July 1, 2011, 20:17 GMT

    Changing the rules in ODIs is like re-arranging the deck chairs on the titanic. What is needed is to provide some context to the endless fixtures - a rolling one day league is what is needed.

  • cricket_for_all on July 1, 2011, 19:55 GMT

    If DRS is not bigger than game please accept it. 90% of the teams accepted it (9 out ot 10 test teams).

  • gitapat on July 1, 2011, 19:02 GMT

    I believe Harsha is spot on in this article

  • rambo94 on July 1, 2011, 16:48 GMT

    I really like how Harsha sums up his views at the end, just in a single statement :"For power in the boardroom never takes wickets or scores runs, and that is what our game is all about." Really a superb punchline, considering the present fuss about the growing power of a board.I really admire his style of writing.

  • anurag4u10 on July 1, 2011, 16:10 GMT

    drs is not bigger dan cricket agreed ........ neither are umpire, players commentators and even fan. wats ur point harsha? d simple thng behnd implmntng is to reduce on field errors nd dats it . luk how easy it had been after tv replays to judge run outs and stumpngs. drs is nother way to ease d dcns so dont compare drs wd cricket it is just an aid to better crkt

  • on July 1, 2011, 15:51 GMT

    I see many Pak supporters being die-hard fans of DRS. My take on this - Since us indians oppose DRS, Pak supporters, just to oppose us, support DRS, and consider it an opportunity to bash us. It would have been nicer had people read and understood what or rather why BCCI was opposing DRS. In any case, all said and done, a truce had been made and we accepted DRS. End of story. At least now restof the world, please stop cribbing and crying and bashing India on this DRS issue.

  • on July 1, 2011, 15:40 GMT

    As usual Harsha speaks for BCCI again!! Yeah game survived with tv replay as well. Why don't speak to exclude that one as well. Every decisions made on field. How about that? I am really frustrated to see Dhoni's reaction against umpire harper. That was really poor. Come on if DRS is there means you guys could have get some decisions in your favour. Make the right call. Everyone will get benefited for it. It's not that DRS will play again Indian's only. If it's bad, then it's bad for everyone. Stop monopolizing cricket at least!!!!

  • on July 1, 2011, 15:23 GMT

    I have inevitably found only 2 cricket experts expressing sense each time they talk or write - Ian Chappel & Harsha Bhogle. I can understand Chappelle being an expert, but it surprises me that how keen a cricket mind Harsha has!! Soccer doesnt use Technology, though there have been calls to include it for a few years now. There have been howlers made on Goal line calls & Offsides. The game hasnt been effected or polarized by this. Not sure why such a hue-and-cry is being made out of this issue in cricket..

  • TJM101 on July 1, 2011, 14:43 GMT

    Interesting article, most people outside the BCCI will never understand why they don't want hawk-eye, it definately helps and seems to have generally improved umpires, there are more umpiring decisions upheld than overturned. But it is up to the ICC to complete the researchon hawk-eye and provide evidence that the technology is accurate to an extent that the BCCI will accept whilst admitting nothing is 100% foolproof (which is already the case). I was astonished by the statement that some people in the BCCI think that the virtual mat can be manipulated; what an amazing level of paranoia exists in certain factions of the BCCI, I fear whilst these factions remain no objective decisions about the use of technology will be made.

  • on July 1, 2011, 14:06 GMT

    This is a meaningless effort from Harsha to defend BCCI. Its true DRS is not bigger than game but neither Tendulkar nor Dhoni. What is wrong if we get some fair decisions through the use of DRS?

  • vverma on July 1, 2011, 14:01 GMT

    Absolutely agree on the technology front. Just because the hawk-eye gives you an out/not out decision immediately and an umpire has to think about it, does not mean that the hawk-eye is more confident. The hawk-eye is programmed to return a yes/no answer and not the confidence it has in its answer. The bigger question is how will the associate countries recoup the money they invest in using DRS for each game. According to me ICC has the (financially) lesser teams jumping through too many hoops. I hope they jump out of ICC's lap and start their own association.

  • on July 1, 2011, 13:56 GMT

    Why are these Indians so against DRS? Are they soo afraid that their all start batsman would be given out too often and won't get any special treatment from umpires ( well BCCI )

  • correctcall on July 1, 2011, 13:48 GMT

    As a matter of the highest priority the ICC needs to get on with the independent testing of Hawkeye or any other possible predictive technology. Results should be made available to the public and if they are acceptable FULL UDRS should be made mandatory for all International games under the financial, technical and security control of the Elite Umpiring panel. Would Indians sign up to this ?

  • on July 1, 2011, 13:41 GMT

    Just as expected from dear old Harsha. Excellent observations.

  • getsetgopk on July 1, 2011, 13:34 GMT

    "So hopefully when India play in England, the talk will be about cricket and not about hegemony and display of power." isnt it true that people always talk untill the get what they want? and since the majority wants the DRS atleast give them the "right" to talk about it. and the title of your article should have rightly been DRS is not bigger than BCCI.

  • on July 1, 2011, 13:01 GMT

    The DRS is not going to change any thing unless the umpires change their attitude. Like is World-cup, Ponting make a face (claiming Gambhir's catch) and the umpire immediately goes for review on his own. But Munaf has a run-out appeal (a genuine one) and it falls on deaf ears. It's consistency that matters. Even in Dhoni's case the umpire had raised his arm for no-ball. Once that is done, the player will hit it any where and any which way he wants. But the umpire then decides to check and says not a no-ball...

  • IPSY on July 1, 2011, 12:37 GMT

    Harsha, I agree with you that "the DRS is not bigger than the game" - but neither is Tendulkar nor Dhoni!

  • CliffM on July 1, 2011, 12:36 GMT

    I have reservations about the possibility of denying teams the right to use a substitute fielder but I am also greatly irritated by their use / abuse (isn't it extraordinary that just about every fielder finds the need to leave the field at some point with the exception of wicket keepers? They must be made of sterner stuff I suppose!). How about a compromise. Prevent teams from using a substitute fielder until a player has been off the field for, say, half an hour. This will soon stop 'bathroom breaks', batsmen having a rest after being tenth man out, shirt changing etc, without penalising a team too severely in the case of a genuine injury.

  • stormy16 on July 1, 2011, 12:27 GMT

    Good effort at trying to defend the BCCI stand on DRS but in reality the point is as meaningless as BCCI's stand against the DRS - this is a no brainer for all but some! With the changes, interesting but the runner and substitute changes surely need consideration. What happens if you get injured? I think guys going off the feild needs to be stopped - unless there is an obvious injury. The two balls concept will give the bowlers the advantage but I guess its about time too. Spin based attacks will feel the impact more than others I guess.

  • CliffM on July 1, 2011, 12:24 GMT

    Harsha is mistaken. There is no agreement to use the Snickometer. The requirement for the DRS is a clean audio feed. Snicko will not be used; it currently takes too long to generate the information to make it practiable.

  • Charindra on July 1, 2011, 11:15 GMT

    Wow. All of this coming from Harsha Bhogle, one of my favourite commentators and an institution on the game, is just sad. Oh well.....

  • on July 1, 2011, 11:13 GMT

    I can see the fielder go but only in the T20 game or the ODI. But to get rid of a substitute fielder in the 5-day game, can be devastating for the side affected should a player be injured on the very first day of the game. For now, it should stay.

  • on July 1, 2011, 10:40 GMT

    YOu have a supporter in me, Mr Bhogle! As long as playing and refereeing conditions are equal for both sides within a particular match, all these elements like DRS/hot-spots/v-mats should serve as entertaining variables from one match to another. I also hope the ICC puts its new policies aimed at compelling teams to garner and use resources to the maximum possible, which will only take this game higher. Would be the day when we'll select national batsmen and bowlers out of young engineers/MBAs/docs! What's with the color of the ball? Why should a red ball be more durable than a white ball? or a pink ball, while at it?? In an era of cloud-computing and micro-chipped golf-balls and whatnots, this seems a mole-hill turned into a mountain. Would someone please RnD some new ball-material for ICC? I believe they are looking...

  • on July 1, 2011, 9:58 GMT

    A great article HB, With this new rules, captains will have think of more strategies as in about which bowler to use with which ball, when to take bowling powerplay and also predict when the batting team will take batting PP. The hotspot may not be foolproof but comparing it with hawkeye & snicko, hot-spot looks to be more accurate and give better results. It may not be but I wonder what will happen if hot-spot is used to decide pitch & impact of the ball in lbw decisions.

  • Vijayck on July 1, 2011, 9:15 GMT

    Well said Harsha ....... "Power never takes wickets or scores runs" & off course wins the World-Cup , that statement tells all !!!!!!!!

  • heat-seeker on July 1, 2011, 8:43 GMT

    @Rupert147 - so you've already forgotten Ponting vs Dar & Hotspot in a DRS-on series? What about the visible anger from England in South Africa when Harper screwed up a DRS review? And the furore from the English cricket media as well? And Harper is being asked to leave the elite panel in response to his own track record... not on India's whim. If he decided to fast-track it, that was his choice. Ideally, after his mediocre, and one-sided, performance in Jamaica, he should have been removed from the rest of the series by the ICC itself.

  • Nutcutlet on July 1, 2011, 8:37 GMT

    Re:the banning of the use of substitute fielders. Whilst it is certainly true that this has been abused, allowing fast bowlers to take a little time out and fielders going off for comfort breaks, etc. there are times when a player is injured so badly in the course of the game that he becomes incapacitated and it would aggravate the injury were he to remain on the field, assuming that he hadn't gone to hospital anyway. So from that point on, his side is going to be a fielder light. Therefore there would be enormous advantage in taking a player out, presumably when he was batting. The prospect of the oppo being a fielder light is enticing - and wrong! This is entirely contrary to the spirit of the game and needs to be re-thought. I suggest that there should be one nominated 12th man on the team sheet and that he is available throughout the game in case of serious injury. Assessing the seriousness of the injury should be exclusively in the umpires' domain - ref to medic if required.

  • Kunal-Talgeri on July 1, 2011, 8:37 GMT

    Nice column. The DRS debate always makes me wonder: on-field umpires, oh so human, are not fool proof. So, why do cricketers expect DRS to be perfect? Finally, the decision-maker post DRS is also human, as the recent Dhoni-dismissal proved. If cricket is a microcosm of life (which it has been for more than a century), then viewers and cricketers must not complain of biases, errors and scandals -- human or tehnology led. It is all part of the game, as the DRS must also be.

  • Wacco on July 1, 2011, 8:27 GMT

    DRS debate is absolutely a farce. The main focus is on LBW. This form of "out" in cricket is based on ASSUMPTION where the umpires decide on the trajectory of the ball after the impact. The problem is that sometimes it is impossible for any human being standing 22 yards away to focus at the point of impact and then judge the trajectory of a ball traveling at 90 mph. Those who are claiming that good umpires can judge it day-in and day-out, I say to them that either they are just naive or are lying. Umpires makes impromptu, guesstimated decisions or sometimes just on the trial/error basis. Instead, the ball tracking device was the best possible way of helping in decision making where an "assumption" based decision could be complemented with some technological justification that uses the speed, height and angle during the impact. In contrary to the developed world, India's reluctance is based on pre-conceived ultra-suspicious majority mindset where tech is seen as a conspirator first.

  • on July 1, 2011, 8:17 GMT

    DRS is not bigger than the game. Incompetent umpiring isn't either. You cannot have perfect umpires or perfect technology. But, the attempt should be to reduce umpiring errors to the extent possible through technology. If an umpire is unable to make up his mind, why not let him take the help of technology, which though not perfect, would give him a wee bit more information than he already has?

  • on July 1, 2011, 8:13 GMT

    Similarly the BCCI is not bigger than the game...or is it? Maybe a different rule applies innit? :P

  • on July 1, 2011, 8:11 GMT

    "if one of them is sceptical of it, with reason, they must have the right of refusal." I would question the use of the word "must". Why "must" India have right of refusal. It sounds obvious when you put it in such trite terms, but really Mr Bhogle..Why? We are now eveolving two sets of rules for the game of cricket. One with India one with all the major nations. Does that sound like a good thing? Final point. The TV viewer will still have Hawkeye and know the mistakes the unpire makes. The only person watching who won't know if there has been a mistake will be...the umpire. Does that sound like a good thing also?

  • on July 1, 2011, 8:08 GMT

    It am not in agreement with two balls. This might take reverse swing out of picture and those big reverse swinging yorkers might be out of ODIs. Rather second new ball can be made available after 20 overs like after 80 overs in test cricket. Fielding captain decide to take it or not based on the conditions and the bowling options available to him.

  • on July 1, 2011, 8:03 GMT

    How about this: instead of getting two new balls from the start. How about a brand new one in the 25th over? That could help with the bornig middle overs...

  • Reg_Dyer on July 1, 2011, 7:57 GMT

    Wouldn't it be better to have a standard, level playing field so that howlers can be overturned rather than running the risk of a touring side threatening to go home just because somehow they perceive neutral umpires as biased? Perhaps its because umpires are easier to manipulate than technology. Bucknor was stood down less than a year after Australia-India. What message does this send to the rest of the umpire's panel?

  • manish053 on July 1, 2011, 6:54 GMT

    I agree with u DRS is not bigger than game and u put Indian view precisely while rest of the cricket world are putting India as evil in terms of DRS issue. You should think man who are standing in the ground and there are exuberant provisions to punish on his gaffs.Tech. should be used only in that area where umpire can not reach or can not seen. Human mind should not be compare with the tch. New changes has been made for the cricket can not make game engrossing where players capacity are limited.

  • Prashant_Dhamija on July 1, 2011, 6:51 GMT

    The elimination of runners is a good rule but substitutes should also be removed to even things up. The most interesting amendment, according to me is the powerplay rule which would make the game interesting in the middle overs too.

  • on July 1, 2011, 6:33 GMT

    Some of the comments appear to suggest that the (justified) criticism has hounded Harper out of the game. We need to remember that umpires are also professionals and must be prepared to face criticism - the odd cases might be a hell of a lot more stringent than the others. But that is par for the course. Making 6 errors in one game is inviting trouble, which he got. Period. Mixing up one umpire's non-performance with the overall DRS discussions will only add to the mess.

  • debashisgamma on July 1, 2011, 6:32 GMT

    Harsha's views always simplify things...Wonderful piece of writing...You know what,the ICC should create a platform where the likes of Harsha and Richie(Benaud) get a chance to voice their opinions and contribute in some capacity, at least when it comes to matters of legislation..I know for a fact that these guys talk more sense than a lot of others would within the ICC.The cricket committee must have a sensible representative from the media

  • simba_chi on July 1, 2011, 6:30 GMT

    Great article Harsha! I never saw the new changes in the light you've put them. Definitely the 2 balls tilt the scales to the bowlers again - who have been shortchanged for so long in the one day game. I think one day cricket will be more exciting. Can't say the same for the once proposed mickey mouse innovations in the BBL :)

  • on July 1, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    guys we want cricket not drs,what happened to the game standards before drs? if we check with drs,hotspot & some other nonsense 3 yrs back Simon tuffel's decision making is better than drs,we have to agree with bcci drs ball tracking means it is panel of some technical guys who may don't know cricket,don't compare cricket with other games(in technology)nothing is more than human mistakes & decisions,what happened in dhoni's dismissal issue!!!!!!!!!!!

  • harshalb on July 1, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    DRS may not be bigger than the game but currently BCCI does seem bigger than the game.

  • on July 1, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    DRS IS AN COMPULSARY TECHNOLOGY USED FOR CRICKET

  • Shafi79 on July 1, 2011, 6:12 GMT

    @Jan - Tjhe technology is not really all that controversial ... unless you are from India of course ... usually Harsha i enjoy reding your articles because they are not biased, but in this case i wonder ... maybe you truly believe what you have written ... i'll give you the benefit of the doubt ...

  • pavantpk on July 1, 2011, 6:06 GMT

    A very good article Harsha. Thanks for writing these; I am interested to see how teams or even captains use/cope up with the scenarios 1.) To start with two new balls 2) Powerplay changes --> Best guess suggests 16-20 would be definitely bowling powerplay unless a sehwag or gayle is not out at that time :)

  • Rupert147 on July 1, 2011, 5:51 GMT

    I especially like the last part of this article, where the talk of the England India series will be about cricket over anything else. As a fan of English cricket and the DRS, I have not missed batsmen being fined 25% of their match fee as was the case with Suresh Raina this week when he felt aggrieved by a non DRS dismissal and hung around. Nor has my heart yearned for post-match comments by well respected captains like MS Dhoni such as "if the correct decisions were made, the game would have finished much earlier and I would have been in the hotel by now." I suspect that an England versus India series will have many sub plots and umpiring will almost certainly be one of them. DRS is capable of taking dissent out of cricket, as has been the case in tennis with hawkeye. Whether DRS is foolproof or not, it is to be reminded that umpires make mistakes too and some are castigated for their mistakes by anti DRS protesters and in some cases, driven out of the game.

  • on July 1, 2011, 5:47 GMT

    I completely disagree that the DRS is not bigger than cricket. For if that was the case, the BCCI would've simply accepted it and moved on...it appears they haven't and an agreement has only been reached with a compromise between the ICC and BCCI. Depending upon how you see the glass, it's either victory for both or defeat for both. Another indication of what happens when you leave cricket to diplomats and not cricketers.

  • on July 1, 2011, 5:34 GMT

    I agree with Harsha that DRS is not bigger than the game itself, but why not use technology when it is avaliable. The health of precision made by DRS is questionable but the analysis of DRS usage shows high percentage of good decisions. BCCI has no problem with quality of umpiring they have in India that is among the worst in the game but they refuse to accept a high percentage DRS precision. Think again !

  • jofler67 on July 1, 2011, 5:31 GMT

    yes but i remember the australian series when india threatened to go home because of steve bucknor non decision.Hypocritical to do this and then say no to the drs

  • vaidyar on July 1, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    Kudos on one important thing: Putting the DRS in perspective of the game itself. Reams and reams, and GBs have been spent analysing it. Good to see at least one article put it in perspective and say its not larger than the game and the game will go on as before with or without it. In line with different balls swinging, would be interesting to get pitches which behave differently at different ends. One end harder and the other with some grass, one side dry and the other with some moisture and grass left on it. Would make for great fun! Of course batsmen will complain that they can't hit enough sixes and it calls for more technique than they managed to gather in between the different <add your fav alphabet>PLs :P

  • KP_84 on July 1, 2011, 5:07 GMT

    It says much about India's passion for cricket that someone can be a celebrity by being a cricket commentator rather than player. Harsha has this rare, if not unique status, among cricket commentators. Surely, someone held in this high a regard by the public can afford to stray a little from the official line of the national cricket authority in his country when writing an opinion piece. If he's a renown cricket commentator, then he's obviously capable of writing an opinion piece without relying on others for guidance on it's content. It's a shame he hasn't done that here.

  • spreddy1 on July 1, 2011, 4:59 GMT

    Very simple logic..The reason why DRS was introduced is to eliminate howlers...then why are we using DRS for ball tracking after the point of impact with the bat. Use DRS for bat-pad decisions (inside edges). Its really foolish on part of ICC to use DRS for ball tracking after the point of contact. It shoudl never been used for the ball tracking.

  • pradeep_dealwis on July 1, 2011, 4:54 GMT

    the BCCI IS the devil who wants the game back in the dark ages. Everyone knows that

  • I.RAGHURAM on July 1, 2011, 4:51 GMT

    Few more changes can be incorporated to make T20 matches more interesting... 1. Unlimited substitution.... All 15 players nominated can bat/bowl/field subject to a maximum of 11 on the field. 2. Two batsman out of the same ball..... Batsman at the strikers' end caught/run out, while at the same time, the batsman at the non-strickers' end run out. 3. Joker ball : Batting team can opt for an over to be a "Joker" over, wherein runs scored would be doubled. However, if a wicket falls, negative runs would be awarded (can be minum 5 runs for each wicket that falls)...

    ANY TAKERS....

  • Jan on July 1, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    Nice summary Harsha. I too think that DRS is making more news than cricket these days. Or to be more precise its the Hawk Eye. When cricket is played in right spirit then the need for these controversial technologies wouldn't have arised. The decision to use 2 balls from each end is the worst outcome of this conference I feel.

  • venkatesh018 on July 1, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    It is nice to know that u have moved on to less contentious things than DRS, Harsha ! But genuine cricket lovers who want a decent contest between bat and ball(there are still many of those left in the cricket world, Harsha) and those whose paychecks do not depend on the patronage of the BCCI, will continue to keep this fight going on.

  • on July 1, 2011, 3:27 GMT

    Having a 3rd & 4th umpires plus the match referee, should the DRS not been used automatically for all dismissals? The officials sitting in front of TV can alert the on field umpires in case of a wrong decision instead of the teams going on appeal.

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  • on July 1, 2011, 3:27 GMT

    Having a 3rd & 4th umpires plus the match referee, should the DRS not been used automatically for all dismissals? The officials sitting in front of TV can alert the on field umpires in case of a wrong decision instead of the teams going on appeal.

  • venkatesh018 on July 1, 2011, 4:23 GMT

    It is nice to know that u have moved on to less contentious things than DRS, Harsha ! But genuine cricket lovers who want a decent contest between bat and ball(there are still many of those left in the cricket world, Harsha) and those whose paychecks do not depend on the patronage of the BCCI, will continue to keep this fight going on.

  • Jan on July 1, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    Nice summary Harsha. I too think that DRS is making more news than cricket these days. Or to be more precise its the Hawk Eye. When cricket is played in right spirit then the need for these controversial technologies wouldn't have arised. The decision to use 2 balls from each end is the worst outcome of this conference I feel.

  • I.RAGHURAM on July 1, 2011, 4:51 GMT

    Few more changes can be incorporated to make T20 matches more interesting... 1. Unlimited substitution.... All 15 players nominated can bat/bowl/field subject to a maximum of 11 on the field. 2. Two batsman out of the same ball..... Batsman at the strikers' end caught/run out, while at the same time, the batsman at the non-strickers' end run out. 3. Joker ball : Batting team can opt for an over to be a "Joker" over, wherein runs scored would be doubled. However, if a wicket falls, negative runs would be awarded (can be minum 5 runs for each wicket that falls)...

    ANY TAKERS....

  • pradeep_dealwis on July 1, 2011, 4:54 GMT

    the BCCI IS the devil who wants the game back in the dark ages. Everyone knows that

  • spreddy1 on July 1, 2011, 4:59 GMT

    Very simple logic..The reason why DRS was introduced is to eliminate howlers...then why are we using DRS for ball tracking after the point of impact with the bat. Use DRS for bat-pad decisions (inside edges). Its really foolish on part of ICC to use DRS for ball tracking after the point of contact. It shoudl never been used for the ball tracking.

  • KP_84 on July 1, 2011, 5:07 GMT

    It says much about India's passion for cricket that someone can be a celebrity by being a cricket commentator rather than player. Harsha has this rare, if not unique status, among cricket commentators. Surely, someone held in this high a regard by the public can afford to stray a little from the official line of the national cricket authority in his country when writing an opinion piece. If he's a renown cricket commentator, then he's obviously capable of writing an opinion piece without relying on others for guidance on it's content. It's a shame he hasn't done that here.

  • vaidyar on July 1, 2011, 5:19 GMT

    Kudos on one important thing: Putting the DRS in perspective of the game itself. Reams and reams, and GBs have been spent analysing it. Good to see at least one article put it in perspective and say its not larger than the game and the game will go on as before with or without it. In line with different balls swinging, would be interesting to get pitches which behave differently at different ends. One end harder and the other with some grass, one side dry and the other with some moisture and grass left on it. Would make for great fun! Of course batsmen will complain that they can't hit enough sixes and it calls for more technique than they managed to gather in between the different <add your fav alphabet>PLs :P

  • jofler67 on July 1, 2011, 5:31 GMT

    yes but i remember the australian series when india threatened to go home because of steve bucknor non decision.Hypocritical to do this and then say no to the drs

  • on July 1, 2011, 5:34 GMT

    I agree with Harsha that DRS is not bigger than the game itself, but why not use technology when it is avaliable. The health of precision made by DRS is questionable but the analysis of DRS usage shows high percentage of good decisions. BCCI has no problem with quality of umpiring they have in India that is among the worst in the game but they refuse to accept a high percentage DRS precision. Think again !