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Former New Zealand batsman and captain

The DRS debate

Greig has yorked himself over DRS

The BCCI is in the right over the DRS; the ICC has been wrong from day one but doesn't want to admit it

Martin Crowe

June 28, 2012

Comments: 101 | Text size: A | A

Billy Bowden indicates a referral after he turned down a caught-behind appeal, South Africa v Australia, 1st Test, Johannesburg, 1st day, February 26, 2009
From the outset the DRS system has been flawed in design and execution, and has continued to disappoint © Getty Images
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Tony Greig's Cowdrey Lecture was full of firm strokes, mixed with some seaming medium pace deliveries. A fine all round performance, as always.

However, when it came to the DRS he yorked himself. Greig's rebuke of the BCCI is easily delivered these days, but not necessarily courageous. The BCCI has every right to take its stance; more to the point, its stance is the only one with courage.

From the outset the DRS system has been flawed in design and execution, and has continued to disappoint. In fact, it got to the point this year when the creator of Virtual Eye, Ian Taylor from Dunedin, cried out loud that, with the players criticising the system so much, he thought it was time for the DRS to start again, to go back to the drawing board. This was a truly honest moment and I for one stood and applauded Taylor. As the techno, he was actually saying this was too hard in its present form and therefore was in effect potentially removing his company from the work. It was a significant revelation, one at which the BCCI would have been seen nodding its approval and feeling some justification.

But not the ICC, it carried on blindly. Now, we hear that further guessing is going on with different variations to the number of challenges for Tests and ODIs. What could possibly be the rationale of having two unsuccessful challenges per innings for Tests and one for ODIs?

Back in 2007, when the DRS was first discussed, the advice to the ICC was to run with a player challenge system as tennis does, using Hawkeye's actual path for all line calls and super-slo-mo cameras for edges and catches. There would be only one unsuccessful challenge on offer due to the complexity of umpiring compared with tennis, which requires only a simple in or out call.

One unsuccessful challenge would be enough to remove the howler, the bad mistake, the error that every umpire makes now and then and especially under tired duress. When this happens the players simply step in and say 'We'd better check that please'. The decision gets reversed and the challenge system carries on.

 
 
Greig's rebuke of the BCCI is easily delivered these days, but not necessarily courageous. The BCCI has every right to take its stance; more to the point, its stance is the only one with courage
 

Naively, though, the ICC started with three unsuccessful challenges (one assumes because that's what tennis had), then a year later realised its error and dropped it to two, now it has realised its folly once more and dropped it again to one. Bravo! But why not for Tests? This is a time when the ICC must look for uniformity in all forms and on all networks. Instead, it confuses all by hedging.

The BCCI isn't the most flexible but surely it would agree to some use of technology? Surely it would agree to the DRS if the predictive path was abolished, as Taylor suggested it should. Surely the BCCI would agree to the DRS if there was only one unsuccessful challenge available instead of this 50-50 nonsense that goes on when captains and batsmen know they have at least one challenge to gamble with. All the gamble does is expose the technology far too often.

Last week the ICC said Ed Rosten, a Cambridge professor, had given ball-tracking technology the 100% tick. Yet Ian Taylor, the creator of Virtual ball tracking says it isn't 100%. Whom shall we believe? The inventor, of course, not the professor.

The BCCI, including Tendulkar, Dravid and Kumble, is in the right. Surely all it wants is for the system to be trimmed right back. But the ICC doesn't want to admit it has been wrong on this from day one.

The stalemate continues.

Martin Crowe is a former New Zealand captain

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Kirk-at-Lords on (July 1, 2012, 18:54 GMT)

I want to consider DRS from the viewpoint of umpires. Cricket is unique in having a variety of officially recognised formats -- Test, ODI, T20 -- and even some peripheral forms (Sixes, Beach). Playing conditions vary with each, including the presence and degree of application of DRS. DRS does not apply to much of cricket, actually. While DRS was at one time tested in the UK County Championship, current Playing Conditions do not include it even in cases where a 3rd Umpire is called for in televised matches. This wide variety of conditions is very challenging for umpires. Even the Elite Panel of ICC-approved international umpires finds itself under significant pressure from such variety. The pressure is magnified in the heat of the DRS review called by players for partisan purposes. The Spirit of Cricket demands relief from some of this pressure. Two approaches immediately suggest themselves: 1. Shift review power from captains to umpires; 2. Soften or remove predictive path.

Posted by Kirk-at-Lords on (July 1, 2012, 9:27 GMT)

@Saurabh Gupta: You bring up some important facts, but they do not render Tony Greig a liar. It would be most helpful if BCCI would share more of the official Indian viewpoint in an open-handed fashion. It seems a shame that individual Indian supporters such as yourself are left alone to do the job. I must with regret agree with Mr Greig that governance of cricket is too much about power, and too little about content and proper behaviour. Naturally, power relations will exist in and likely dominate conventional politics. However, the Spirit of Cricket is decidedly not conventional. It asks more of us, and its rewards are surely as great or greater than the money and glory that attaches itself to the sport. If this were not the case, I doubt so many would love cricket so much.

Posted by Kirk-at-Lords on (July 1, 2012, 9:18 GMT)

@McGorium: Thank you for sharing your technical insight on DRS. You add to the case for going one of two ways: 1. A continuous cycle of testing & technical improvement; or 2. Seeking less consuming, less involved ways of utilising existing technology that has simpler, more modest goals. Personally, I believe that the Spirit of Cricket, which has always relied on humanity and honourable behaviour, requires the second option be given a serious chance. I also believe that the Spirit requires the true leaders of the sport, esp. BCCI & the Indian bloc at the ICC, to develop a positive position and pursue it w/ vigour. There is ample room for adopting option #2 without being "refuse-niks". It could stop howlers, save money, keep things balanced between humanity and machinery, and maintain an appropriate balance between bat, ball and umpire. It would also keep the gap between playing majority (everything from the village green through 1st class) and pros within bounds.

Posted by   on (June 30, 2012, 18:39 GMT)

Tony Grieg's outright lies :

1. Holding BCCI responsible for the cancellation of the Test Cricket Championship Facts : The real cancellation was due to the ECB not being able to reach an agreement with the broadcasters. I am sure Tony Greig must have been aware of it.

2. BCCI not paying enough attention to Test cricket : Facts : India played most number of Tests among all Test Nations in 2011 India -12 Sl - 11 Pakistan -10 W.Indies - 10 Australia - 9 England - 8 Bangladesh - 5 South Africa- 5 N.Zealand -5 Zimbabwe - 3 The facts speak for themselves. Tony Grieg is a liar.

Posted by indianpunter on (June 30, 2012, 4:45 GMT)

I have been saying this for a long time; take out predictive path, use the trajectory only till the point of impact and then let the on field umpire decide. Use pitch map and hot spot. I still feel that a batsman wont waste a review if he has actually edged the ball ( and therefore not risk hot spot not picking it). One of the major bugbears is the 'on field call", where a batsman can be both out or not out depending on the on field umpire's call. This will be negated, if prediction by DRS is done away with.

Posted by McGorium on (June 30, 2012, 4:07 GMT)

@ SamonandTrout: Oh, btw, there are just 10 wickets. Why would you need more appeals in tests than ODIs? It's not like the number of *valid* appeals scale up linearly with the duration of the game

Posted by McGorium on (June 30, 2012, 4:05 GMT)

@SamonandTrout: <continued>... So as I was saying, ICC won't pay for expensive cameras or take charge of caliberating the installation of said cameras. Oh, and one more thing: No matter how fast the camera is, it can't shoot 500 frames/sec in fading light; there just isn't enough light. So, basically, ball tracking doesn't work as well in the evening. But wait, there's more: The ball tracking image processing algorithm has a hard time tracking the ball when there's a shadow across the pitch (the ball's luminosity changes as it goes from shadow to light). This, IMHO, is an easier problem to fix, but it can't be foolproof. While software is never 100%, agencies like the FAA puts aircraft through rigorous publicly known tests before its declared airworthy; comparing ball-tracking to established tech like radar is ridiculous. We only have Ed Rosten's word (no white-paper on his methodology,measurements,etc.) that it's foolproof. We know that tracking is poor in poor light.

Posted by McGorium on (June 30, 2012, 3:35 GMT)

@SamonandTrout: Point taken. But lets see... because this is complicated... there's something called parallax error. It happens when the observer (or camera in the case) is not perpendicular to the observed object, causing a shift in its apparent position. Ball tracking *may* work if the cameras are aligned down to the last millimeter. You see, because the image processing software will have to apply --stay with me here-- a perspective transform to account for a *known* parallax. Who's in charge of setting up cameras? Not the ICC; they've left it up to the broadcasters. But wait, there's more: the cameras need to be sensitive (i.e. high ISO) *and* fast shutter-speed (hundreds of frames/sec). It takes ~0.5s for the ball to traverse the length of the pitch, and standard 25frames/sec is useless. high shutter speed requires extremely sensitive camera sensors to account for much less light per frame (it's complex, I know). Such cameras cost $$. Who pays? Not the ICC! <continued>

Posted by Kirk-at-Lords on (June 30, 2012, 3:13 GMT)

If there is any feature of cricket that needs the "Spirit of Cricket" applied, DRS is the one. Tony Greig and Martin Crowe have both done a service offering their viewpoints. Many comments here have done the same. Differing pitch conditions would definitely affect predictive technology (PT). No single evaluation by any expert in any venue would be sufficient. If ICC would invest in such evaluations, then PT could be relied on for marginal calls; otherwise, the tolerances would have to be increased to account for increased margins of error. (All this renders the exact % accuracy of DRS indeterminate; it could be the same or even worse than umpire calls.) That would actually align with the original intent of DRS to remove howlers. Giving captains challenges, regardless of their number, leaves DRS vulnerable to being shut down at any point. Given the expense and technical challenges involved, this seems a poor outcome. Let's trust the umpires to handle DRS via the 3rd umpire.

Posted by mngc on (June 30, 2012, 1:58 GMT)

A ball at 90 mph will travel from the popping crease to the batting crease in 0.45 sec. Between bouncing on a good length and hitting bat or pad the time elapsed would be 0.045 sec. In that time the eye will take 1 frame max and rely on the brain processing subsequent images to give the continuous motion. With 4 inches between bat and pad as in the case of Gayle's decision the eye would not have picked up 2 frames in 0.0025 sec and there was no way that the umpire could determine accurately which was hit first. In fact it would take a good slow motion camera operating at 400 fr/ sec to create 2 separate images. This was not the case. The cameras used also could not determine which contact was made first. With that doubt Gayle should have been ruled not out. Similarly the eye alone would not detect a faint snick where there is very little deviation of the ball as in the case of Bell. The Snicko technology picked it up. Time to remove "On Field Decision" and implement full technology

Posted by Dev_Anand on (June 29, 2012, 21:32 GMT)

@AlbertEinstein - great analysis. I agree with you 100%.

Posted by mngc on (June 29, 2012, 18:48 GMT)

The biggest problem with the use of DRS is where the ball is projected to clip the stump, the "on Field Decision" stands. That is why some batsmen are given out whilst others are given not out. Where the ball is clipping the stump then there is sufficient doubt and ALL batsmen should be given NOT OUT. Recent decisions and reviews show that umpires cannot judge those decisions with 100 % accuracy. Therefore remove that clause and most objectors may be satisfied.

Posted by indianpunter on (June 29, 2012, 13:34 GMT)

Martin Crowe wants to be the next coach of the Indian cricket team.

Posted by praveen4honestremark on (June 29, 2012, 13:06 GMT)

@AlbertEinstein...Are you serious on saying about BCCI, may be not.. u may be kidding. BCCI stance on DRS is that ," it should be cheap , to be importantly play well every part of world...pitches and conditions differ and still DRS is not mature and a not mature technology is more harm than useful to cricket. Let's do R&D on it and bring cheaper and 100% perfect DRS which means which play well in all conditions, not like not even detecting Dravid's nick's. Till then let's use third umpire replays to best effect"

Posted by screamingeagle on (June 29, 2012, 11:20 GMT)

@Kristee. so everyone knows DRS is doing a great job? Apparently as the coloumn states the creator doesnt share your sentiment, nor do plenty of cricketers.

Posted by kristee on (June 29, 2012, 11:15 GMT)

Howlers can of course be minimized, if not eliminated, by normal TV replays. But if BCCI was keen on such an alternative, they'd have suggested it. Their mood is totally against the concept of referral no matter it reduces howlers. That raises the suspicion that they feel the howler scenario is to their advantage. Line calls are often messed up by the third umpires; but the situation would have been worse with on-field ones. And that applies to any call.

Posted by krishnanmms on (June 29, 2012, 11:10 GMT)

ICC periodically publishes stats on how DRS has resulted in more correct decisions being made (like 96% correct decisions). My question is what are they comparing it against. Do they have an alternate system which is always accurate, so that they can come to the conclusion that DRS is only 96% accurate.

My guess is, they are just using TV replays and predictive path to establish the correctness of a decision (I wish ICC explains their procedure). Now, since predictive path is still be questioned, and is the main component of DRS I hope they are not using it as an established fact. If they are not using it, what else is used as a reference?

This accuracy stats from ICC looks very dubious to me.

Posted by AlbertEinstein on (June 29, 2012, 10:04 GMT)

I am 99% sure that if BCCI had to pay the same amount of money to have cheer leaders in test matches that they have to pay for DRS, they would go for the cheerios........conclusion BCCI only thinks about what their public wants rather than what's right.

Posted by SamonandTrout on (June 29, 2012, 9:35 GMT)

"What could possibly be the rationale of having two unsuccessful challenges per innings for Tests and one for ODIs?"....Uhm... I don't know maybe because ODIs are shorter than tests and therefore have less time, and thus...stay with me now..less decisions to be made. What obvious shortcomings does the DRS have? Honestly, is it any more likely to make a bad decision regarding ball tracking than the naked eye, of a ball that is travelling at pace. We don't refuse to use computer technology and radar systems in planes because they are not 100%. The system tracks the ball and then extrapolates each trajectory, therefore varying pitch conditions don't come in to it. PLEASE step into this century and use the technology. Stop faffing about irrelevant semantics. Umpiring is not as complicated as you think....LBW involves....again concentrate because this is "complicated"...the ball hitting the leg before it would have hit the stumps...whew, rocket science territory here. honestly, get real!

Posted by crick_sucks on (June 29, 2012, 9:23 GMT)

Fantastic Martin. At least you see some sense in what BCCI says unlike the rest with their blinders on making irresponsible comments showing ingratitude to Indian cricket and fans alike.

Posted by SatyajitM on (June 29, 2012, 9:02 GMT)

Good on Martin Crowe to say that India has taken a principled stance rather than meekly accepting whatever ICC says. On DRS I believe it should be taken out of player's hand and a specilist TV umpire should be responsible for removing all howlers, all such howlers regardless of their numbers (unlike current DRS system). Yes, that would make the TV umpire quite powerful, but he needs to be neutral and answerable after every series. Why burden the player's with the gample of appealing while the person seating outside has a better chance to decide if a decision was right or wrong.

Posted by Satish.V on (June 29, 2012, 9:02 GMT)

Why do you need an expensive system to eliminate obvious "howlers"? Wont it be simpler if the 3rd umpire(who has the benefit of TV replays) is given the authority to overrule the on-field umpires in the case of a rank bad decision? Marginal calls(even with DRS present) are adjudicated by the umpire.I dont see why you need an unpredictable system when the 3rd umpire and TV replays can do the job.

Posted by   on (June 29, 2012, 8:26 GMT)

The problem with DRS is - it does not exist once reviews are used up. What then? Match abondoned due to "lowered accuracy of decision making"? Or do we let middle and lower order batsmen succumb to the whims and fancies of "error-prone" umpires, while the openers reap its benefits? So many questions to be answered here, implementing a flawed system like DRS in its current form simply does not make sense, and 1.2 billion spectators do not want it. ENuf said

Posted by sweetspot on (June 29, 2012, 8:06 GMT)

Those in support of DRS just because it can potentially remove howlers should wonder why it must stop at removing two howlers maximum per innings. Whatever little advantage technology provides has been squandered in poor implementation too. Why not keep all decisions open to appeal. Why make this some sort of gamble and a challenge to captains?

Posted by sweetspot on (June 29, 2012, 7:58 GMT)

Leaving all the politics out of this issue, the BCCI as the most powerful cricket body in the world, certainly in terms of influence, has every responsibility to set the bar high. If the BCCI wants the technology to be 100% before implementation, it is because it is doing its duty, with conviction and clarity. Would the US or UK or Australia approve a new drug that has shown marginal improvement in patients it was tried on? NO! They would want comprehensive clinical trials and reports and will take a long time to give the nod. Why should the BCCI meekly accept what is not yet as good as it should be. With the number of cricketers worldwide who are dependent on the IPL, the BCCI now has a greater responsibility for greater good, and it is so far refusing to step into murky waters. This is a very good, solid stance.

Posted by howardroark_fh on (June 29, 2012, 7:44 GMT)

i cant understand why some people are blaming bcci even for the lack of drs in the pak- sl series?? what next? R u going to blame bcci for the global recession and joblessness?

Posted by kristee on (June 29, 2012, 7:35 GMT)

Another argument against DRS is that different surfaces behave differently. I've heard commentators questioning the wisdom of the on-field umpires from Australia, England etc in predicting trajectory for lbw's. That is, they don't take into account the difference involved. So that kind of reasoning against DRS alone is done out of frustration at having no plausible case to defend. Spectators, above all, feel awkward when they are made to watch farce; anything that improves that scenario has to be welcomed. Crowe disappoints by doing to the contrary.

Posted by busbybabe on (June 29, 2012, 6:32 GMT)

Extremely true - sentiments expressed by Harsha as well!!!! I am not an ardent supporter of the BCCI and its ways - but this read more true than that BCCI is just being obstinate!! Take that Mr. Grieg!!

Posted by venkatesh018 on (June 29, 2012, 5:52 GMT)

Well said, Martin Crowe...It is nice to hear a rational point of view on DRS.

Posted by JohnnyRook on (June 29, 2012, 5:08 GMT)

@promal. "If the ICC makes the use of the best cameras mandatory". There lies the rub my friend. It doesn't since it costs too much.

Posted by Nasir_Mahmood_Malik on (June 29, 2012, 4:30 GMT)

In addition to any possible glitches in accuracy of ball tracking, another big inbuilt flaw in DRS is the different treatment of same situation, based on what was umpires call originally. This is the case for in-between decisions in case of LBWs concerning pitching in line, hitting in line and hitting the stumps. For a same situation, if umpire has called OUT, DRS gives OUT. However if umpire had said NOT OUT, DRS says NOT OUT. If DRS is to be portrayed as fair and consistent, then an OUT should be OUT, and a NOT OUT should be NOT OUT, whatever umpire had decided initially. I believe this in-built flaw has impact on around 50% of decisions. If introduction of DRS is based on assumption umpires are humans and they can make mistakes, and they are often required to change their decisions, then there is no need to bias this aspect towards them, I don't feel. In this case too, umpires should be prepared to reverse decision, without any ego. (I am not an Indian, I am from Pakistan)

Posted by Percy_Fender on (June 29, 2012, 4:08 GMT)

The sad part is that the all the countries other than India have toed the ICC line regarding the DRS because they have feared to point out the DRS's obvious shortcomings. I am glad that someone of standing like Martin Crowe has taken the objective stance on this issue. As I said India has been done in by the DRS more than it has gained from it. So while people from Pakistan may feel peeved by Tendulkar having got the benefit of a DRS decision there have been many other decisions that went against India in the World Cup itself. The point here is that India is not doing anything because of its money power. They are speaking for all the countries who hesitate do do so. Ganging up against India over this issue seems to be very ill advised.

Posted by himanshu.team on (June 29, 2012, 3:56 GMT)

The whole issue has been made a BCCI vs. ICC issue. ICC wants DRS at all costs and BCCI does not. However if the idea, as stated from day-1 if to remove howlers, you don't need that much technology. Just simple replay, coupled with super slow motion, is enough. If anything extra is needed it is the strip between the stumps to show where the ball pitched. All this non-sense on ball tracking, hot-spot etc. is rubbish. Hotspot would not capture edges if a batsman is flashing way outside of off stump. Ball tracking can give absolutely unbelievable tracks at times. On top of it, umpires may still decide to ignore technology and go with their own gut feeling. Why complicate things so much? Keep It Simple, Silly

Posted by rod77 on (June 29, 2012, 3:55 GMT)

one more flaw with drs system could be that each surface is different from others,eg;the bounce of the ball in India will not be the same as the bounce in Australia,the ball pitched on the middle stump will spin more on the 5th day as compare to the first day.and then there are lot more technical issues that are depended on the wicket,the type of ball,the weather condition.

Posted by   on (June 29, 2012, 3:46 GMT)

@Muhammad Aslam Mirza, Did all the countries openly support the DRS? I never heard that. then why PAK-SL series is without the DRS? BCCI is openly opposing it. But no one supporting DRS openly except CA, ECB. Some of the countries does not have money to implement it. I'm not sure about the SA. Ball tracking itself is flawed and it is next to useless. And you are talking about >90% success rate.. Leave the LBW decision to umpires. Remove the howlers by use of simple technologies. Dump the ball tracking technology.

Posted by jasonpete on (June 29, 2012, 3:29 GMT)

Posted by  Nisar Ahmad Shenwari on (June 28 2012, 21:36 PM GMT), actually Pakistan lost to India in semifinal due to mainly their butter fingers fielding and not DRS.who will forget about their 5 dropped catches of tendulkar? Sorry it time for some pak fans to come out of this dilemma.Martin Crowe have some valid points,but I am all for using DRS,but the third umpire should be consistent in giving decision which is different in two occassion for different teams.This has to be eliminated and all the playing countries should use same DRS equipment,currently England and Australia use different while srilanka uses bit low in quality .Keep the cost less and make it uniformed everywhere.

Posted by kristee on (June 29, 2012, 2:07 GMT)

Himanshu Gupta, I've seen more such cases under on-field umpiring. And they were worse howlers. Even the Durban test where India won by just 70 odd runs was marred by howlers in favor of India.

Posted by Riderstorm on (June 29, 2012, 1:56 GMT)

The argument for support seems to be resting on the successful reviews that helped avoid some bad decisions and probably change the course of the match. Do not forget that there are equal number of bad decisions because of DRS, which altered the game in their own way. Abolishing the ball tracking aspect of DRS for the decisions would be the way to go.

Posted by   on (June 29, 2012, 0:35 GMT)

Wow, this is an interesting angle of perspective from Martin Crowe. I really think we need good spokesperson for BCCI. End of the day, the talk about influence of India in cricket is pure nonsense. If you don't like it, don't play with India. If you do, may be you can help BCCI shape better for overall good of cricket. Isn't that in the best interest of BCCI ? After all, you are not the only one capable of greatness and goodness. Agreed?

Posted by   on (June 28, 2012, 21:36 GMT)

Well I think it is India which have benefited more than any other team by following DRS. Am I joking? No certainly not. Remember semi final, world cup 2011, Mohali, Tendulkar adjudged LBW of Saeed Ajmal, looked plumb infront with the naked eye. Tendulkar asked for the review, to every body's surprise, leg stump was missing according to the hawk eye, decision over turned, Tendulkar survived and scored the most runs for his team. Had there been no DRS, India would have struggled to score 200 runs. Pakistan might have won the semi final and even the world cup! So I think BCCI should stop resisting the DRS because it is for the good of the game.

Posted by sysubrceq0 on (June 28, 2012, 20:26 GMT)

Well Done Martin, guys u need to understand DRS is reaally helpful but using the additional features like hawk-eye, hot spot, sniko meter doesn't need it. Marginal errors always an issue with DRS or without DRS so leave them aside. we need DRS to avoid howlers like inside edge and judged as LBW. For this simple replays can confirm. Why the boards need to spend so much money to get the same as the simple replays can do? I am ok with DRS with simple replays and against the all expensive gadgets which most of the boards cannot afford it.

Posted by   on (June 28, 2012, 20:15 GMT)

@kristee did you know that two matches prelly being played recently had same decisions being given differently thanks to the stupid use of DRS. Dilshan was one batsmen in that instance. Do not criticize BCCI for putting up the stance. Everyone know how england players were benefitting from hot spot against India and west Indies recently on the pretext noise. Bell is not out and Dravid is out. Amazing

Posted by A_Vacant_Slip on (June 28, 2012, 19:22 GMT)

@g.narsimha on (June 28 2012, 15:14 PM GMT) - why you talk to fine Pakistani fan in this way eh? When Pakistan beat England in Test in UAE you gloat all over England saying England "pathetic". Now you say when SL beat Pakistan - "Pakistan pathetic". You have DOUBLE STANDARD @g.narismha. Try to concentrate on performance of your fine fantastic India team who are so much champion now that they wear label "Double Whitewash". cricinfo please publish

Posted by maddy20 on (June 28, 2012, 19:22 GMT)

@Tuan Asif Rassool Yeah right. Just like India lost two WC finals once in 1983 and once in 2011, like they also spanked Pakistan in every WC match regardless of the format. Also Pakistan did not lose to Aus 5-0 and 3-1 to England and have not scored 4 scores under 100 on their England tour!

Posted by tarteel on (June 28, 2012, 18:57 GMT)

Well ICC has become BCCIs keep. So they are not going to do anything abt it. So has Cricinfo. When u start giving too much importance to IPL and BCCI cricket is paying the price. It is no longer gentleman's game. It has become a casino where money is everything.

Posted by   on (June 28, 2012, 18:53 GMT)

Potentially this is the most articulate defense of the BCCI and the DRS yet. But i'm struggling to pick out the sense in Mr.Crowe's argument here.

Posted by promal on (June 28, 2012, 18:32 GMT)

As a physicist, I'm tired of cricketers debating the accuracy of technology. You do your job, we'll do ours! The predictive path of a ball after pitching and then hitting the pad is easily calculated through simple classical mechanics. The higher the camera speed, the closer the pitch of the ball can be to the pad to predict this path. If the ICC makes the use of the best cameras mandatory, then you can use predictive tracking to determine lbws for the fastest bowlers if the ball pitches anything more than 20cm (8") from the pad. Once a ball pitches and you can get 4-5 frame shots of its trajectory before it hits the pad, it is trivial to determine its onward journey, air resistance and gravity being the only 2 forces acting on it. Scientists can predict solar and lunar eclipses for the next thousands of years, surely they can tell you where a cricket ball will be after 0.2 seconds or 5 metres!

Posted by   on (June 28, 2012, 18:32 GMT)

Why not give 2 challenges for every batsman, bowler and even the fielder with the captain having 5 for himself ? That way we can give more chances for commercials and more number of playing hours ? Is that also on the ICC agenda ?

Posted by Leggie on (June 28, 2012, 18:25 GMT)

Good to see a knowledgeable and sensible cricketer speaking his mind.

Posted by   on (June 28, 2012, 18:17 GMT)

Thank you Martin, always enjoyed your batting, fearless and clean. Never see you much on columns, thanks for speaking like a true Kiwi, totally uninhibited. There aren't many honest cricketers around with their opinions anymore, so you are a rare breed. Still remember your hook of wasim akram in the 1992 WC.

Posted by kristee on (June 28, 2012, 18:15 GMT)

Everyone knows DRS has been doing a great job. India with big crowds often tempt on-field umpires to go wrong in their favor. They fear they'd lose that advantage. Any other major sports have a powerful world body to control it. Here's a game that's being reduced to a farce thanks to one's absence. Amusingly, the country that misuses its money power has been losing heavily. Now they say all the other countries were not keen to vote for DRS. Such a scenario is non-existent in other sports. And why? In the answer lies this game's miserable status as a sport.

Posted by couchpundit on (June 28, 2012, 18:12 GMT)

Take a Bow Martin Crowe, You as always show courage, when rest o the world finds it easy to bash BCCI. Rather than studying physics of the ball tracking. If you eliminate Ball Tracking from DRS even BCCI will make a concious decision to accept DRS. Ofcourse there is these incidents like Chris Gayle in recently concluded ODI series where he was not given benefit of the doubt. Whats the point having DRS.

If Anil Kumble(an engineer by trade) says ball tracking is wrong, i would go with it anyday rather than so called wise guy Mike artherton(for some reason english feel his Masters in English gives him better knwoledge on Physics and dynamics of the ball,pitch and trajectory)

Posted by jango_moh on (June 28, 2012, 17:54 GMT)

all of the people hating on crowe need to understand what he said... he said use it for most things except the ball tracking part... for people saying, 100% accuracy is not possible, i agree...but cant the same ppl understand that tracking a ball's path is highly dependent on each type of pitch and the conditions??? and thats the main part that BCCI doesnt agree with... use your brain gentlemen!!!

Posted by   on (June 28, 2012, 17:35 GMT)

For once some one in the wide cricket world has spoken truth , wow , i am not a BCCI supported , i dont like IPL but i agree with BCCI's stand on DRS, all its doing is massaging umpires ego's and teams like england have benifited immensely with UDRS

Posted by fitzy99 on (June 28, 2012, 17:33 GMT)

Sounds like Martin Crowe might be in the BCCI's back pocket.Every other cricketing playing nation is in favour of mandatory DRS except India.That speaks volumes really.Shame on you Martin and shame on the BCCI

Posted by applethief on (June 28, 2012, 17:07 GMT)

@g.narsimha I get the feeling you misunderstand Tuan Asif Rassool; I infer that he means that Indians are on the loosing side when it comes to DRS, which is a fair comment, whether when it comes to howlers (Dravid in England 2011) or simply not knowing how to use it (their first experience against Sri Lanka). That said, they have benefited enormously too (Tendulkar in WC1022). All told, DRS reduces the overall number of correct decisions, eliminates howlers and never turns an obvious error into a howler, just a close margin, which is far less aggravating to cricketers than when umpires just give screwball crazy decisions.

Posted by applethief on (June 28, 2012, 17:01 GMT)

@Manpreet Singh Sohal You misunderstand the issue here totally. It is the BCCI's effective veto that prevents DRS from being mandatory, in which case it would be forced on the SLC to provide in its test matches, instead of selectively i.e. against England, where spin bowling favours Sri Lanka, and not against Pakistan, where it doesn't.

Posted by Wristy_Shuffler on (June 28, 2012, 16:52 GMT)

Martin, you can't speak for the BCCI when you say they would be more willing to accept the DRS if the no. of reviews was 1 or if hawk-eye was abolished. They have already made it clear that they're not in favour of even hot-spot. And anyone in the field of science and mathematics will tell you, achieving 100% accuracy and precision in anything is impossible Why must we all reject the DRS if it's not absolutely perfect ?

Surely the only yardstick the DRS should have would be decision accuracy using just umpires which it exceeds easily.

Posted by   on (June 28, 2012, 16:46 GMT)

If DRS can eliminate most of the umpiring errors, DRS should automatically be used on each and every out decision given by the umpire. The challenges should be limited only for "not out" decision.

Posted by   on (June 28, 2012, 16:38 GMT)

Mr. Crow...I beg to differ from your point of view because even if the system has some flaws but then it allows the umpires to review the decision and amend their mistake. If we have the technology (even a simple replay) then why not use it to review the decision. And let me tell you it is not always about LBW decisions only. Case in point, Pakistani vs Srilanka first test which ended last week where more than 9 decisions were incorrect but since there was not review system the decision could not be overturned. And as Mahela correctly stated that had that had been a case then the match situation would have been alot different. It is better to have something rather than nothing to make a decision. I ask you why is that only BCCI and its senior players have got issues with it and rest of the boards are fine with it? Cant you see there is more to it than just technical glitches? Come on be more sensible and stop pretending that BCCI has a case here.

Posted by laxmanrules on (June 28, 2012, 16:30 GMT)

The use of predictive path for giving a batsman out lbw is laughable. As far as I can see, everyone except the icc agrees that one should be very careful with predictive path as a lot of variables (judging bounce, hitting cracks, uneven tracks, dry tracks, wet tracks,amount of spin after bounce, hitting seem, hitting shiny side, etc) are impossible to model and even what we have come to expect requires a great amount of precision. I would also like to point out that no one still understands why a cricket ball swings in cloudy conditions. I do not understand how the icc agreed to trust a drs of this kind over an umpires eye to give a batsman lbw. Obviously, I don't imply the system is completely useless. There have to be defined problems for which the system can be used. For e.g. whether or not the ball pitches in line. The application of DRS has been very confusing and unscientific to say the least.

Posted by AlbertEinstein on (June 28, 2012, 16:18 GMT)

With BCCIs money we could easily have another company creating a DRS system competing with HawkEye and everyone knows that in a competition there is only one winner and that is the customer...............having said that 90% is better than 70%.......Bring on the DRS

Posted by   on (June 28, 2012, 16:05 GMT)

And its BCCI whos investing most of the money in cricket.

Posted by tests_the_best on (June 28, 2012, 16:04 GMT)

It's naive to expect drs to be 100% accurate but it should atleast be close to that. Last thing you want is drs overruling a correct decision by the on-field umpire. Maybe it's possible to strike a deal midway where drs can be used for all other decisions (like checking inside edges for lbws etc) except the one which involves ball tracking technology till such technology is made more reliable.

Posted by   on (June 28, 2012, 16:03 GMT)

Some pakistani fans moaning about the decisions in made in the 1st test against Sl, should know that the decision of having DRS in the series was in the hands of the boards of both the team and not BCCI.

Posted by AbhijeetC on (June 28, 2012, 15:57 GMT)

@Rally_Windies: technology cannot track the predicted path of the ball better than humans, that insane tracking has given graham swan half of his LBW wickets. What more. I think we should make it simple. so simple that Third umpire should monitor every controversial decision.....be it LBW, caught behind, bat pad....what ever it is....if umpire can waste time checking no-balls when wickets fell, they can surly interrupted by third umpire if the decision is wrong...and the wrong decision doesn't require any technology, it can be seen by open eyes.....simple as it is.....why you need technologies and challenges......stupid, plain stupid.....

Posted by wibblewibble on (June 28, 2012, 15:25 GMT)

@kitten - you are mistaken about "Dravid being gievn out against England in spite of DRS", as BCCI refused DRS for that series. DRS would have saved him, as it would have done for Harbajan, who was incorrectly ruled lbw after he had a huge inside edge on to pad. That howler gave Broad a hat-trick.

Posted by tests_the_best on (June 28, 2012, 15:24 GMT)

Indian supporter here and not big fan of BCCI but support its stance on DRS. Although it's true as some argue that atleast DRS has removed some howlers, the fact is the DRS has often incorrectly overruled the on-field umpire. Case in point being NZ-SA series where lots of players/commentators felt a certain decision by DRS clearly looked otherwise when seen in regular slow-motion. Also, often seen hotspot reveal multiple spots on gloves/pads when ball is nowhere close to them. And most people would agree that the unusually high number of lbw decisions in pak-eng series shows the drs in a bad light. As someone joked, if drs was present in bradman's time, his average would have dropped to 50.

Posted by g.narsimha on (June 28, 2012, 15:14 GMT)

TUANASIF RASOOL-What about u r great team from odis thrashing at the hands of ENG IN U R SECOND HOME it still continueing SL ODIS 3-1-T20-1-1, TEST LOSS SO THINK OF U R TEAM MAN, NO CLASS BATTER, PACERS ARE PATHETIC ONE BOWLER WITH FULL SLEEVES BUT CANT WIN AGAINST SUB CONTINENTAL TEAMS .

Posted by InsideHedge on (June 28, 2012, 15:13 GMT)

@Tuan Asif Whatever: Oh yeah, India are always on the "loosing" side - like when they last met Pakistan (Asia Cup). Oh yeah, and also the WC Semi. Better, you concentrate on the ongoing SL series.

Posted by   on (June 28, 2012, 15:11 GMT)

All test nations except India are willing to approve new technology. At present DRS can remove errors by 92%. Should we play with 8% errors or 100% errors? With the adoption of technology, it will get better and better, fine and more fine.

Posted by CriticallyCricket on (June 28, 2012, 15:01 GMT)

Collective Wisdom should prevail in any Instituition but I do feel that before we start branding the technology as 100% accurate, we should test and re-test it in domestic games also......

I remember watching a series in England on Channel 4 when Hawk Eye was in its infancy and remember a famous ex Pakistan Captain Imran Khan ignoring it as a gimmick.....

I think what would be better is to refer decisions (including lbw) to an 3rd Umpire who has the benefit of replay but without the Ball Tracking Projection!

Posted by shillingsworth on (June 28, 2012, 15:00 GMT)

The point about the number of challenges is well made but the problem remains where an umpiring error is made after the one permitted challenge has been used up and there is no means of correcting it. Much better for the on field and 3rd umpire to decide amongst themselves whether to examine a replay, as is currently the case for line decisions.

Posted by Venki_indian on (June 28, 2012, 14:57 GMT)

DRS, No one needs it, no one wants it except ECB and CA

Posted by AndyZaltzmannsHair on (June 28, 2012, 14:56 GMT)

Another tired defense of the anti-DRS camp without facts and appealing to bare thread anecdotal "evidence". DRS gets the vast majority of decisions right, more than the standard umpire. It eradicates howlers and protects umpires who have bad days. It's accuracy in tested conditions is around 95%. Nothing more needs to be said. If Martin Crowe wants a commentating job at the table of the BCCI, he should apply directly.

Posted by Gizza on (June 28, 2012, 14:11 GMT)

Fair points Martin. I don't like the UDRS slowing down over rates in an era when they are already so slow. One unsuccessful review per match (Test, ODI, T20) is enough. If there are two howlers in the game you can use the review multiple times, note that you only lose it when it is wrong. At the moment so many borderline decisions get reviewed. So much time wasting. Also see captains argue with the umpire not about the decision itself like they used to do but they argue about being too slow in deciding to review and doing the T sign. Also don't use the predictive path of Hawkeye. Howlers can be seen to be wrong through normal replays not fancy expensive technology. These days watching cricket on television looks like a computer game and commentators just talk about technology instead of the cricket. Such a joke.

Posted by Rizwan1435 on (June 28, 2012, 14:08 GMT)

and what about the wrong decision in the pak vs sl 1st test . they were not related to lbws but to inside edges and the number of wrong decisions demanded there to be 2 reviews available due to unavailability of hot spot

Posted by None_for on (June 28, 2012, 14:04 GMT)

If they players go back to walking when they know they're out the DRS will be used correcting the shocker, as it was designed. Wouldn't it be great to we alive in the 40's, watching Bradman, Lindwall and O'Reilly going at it with class.

Posted by   on (June 28, 2012, 14:04 GMT)

The DRS achieves two things - it lessens the chances of absolute howlers and it reduces the scope for umpires to influence the outcomes of games (for whatever reason). Both these are sound objectives and can reduce errors. Improvements in technology only reinforce the effectiveness of DRS. Players who want to refer every decision will only undermine it. 3rd umpires who are not competent in applying the technology also undermine it. Having said that, it is still a huge improvement on the situation where umpiring howlers have influenced the outcomes of test series, and one seriously has to question the BCCI's motives in continuing to oppose implementation.

Posted by Vilander on (June 28, 2012, 14:04 GMT)

Its hypocracy, calling BCCI money minded, arnt all of us are it ?

Posted by HadleeCrowe on (June 28, 2012, 13:52 GMT)

loved watching ya hooking marshall holding and co back in the day but not so keen on the sychophantic BCCI stance...

Posted by   on (June 28, 2012, 13:48 GMT)

Is martin crowe expecting a job as an indian Coach?Anyway indians are always on the loosing side.

Posted by   on (June 28, 2012, 13:46 GMT)

Mr. Martin Crowe a test has 4 innings over five days and 450 overs. It is expected that an innings would last on an average 100 overs which is twice as much an ODI innings. Moreover, over the five days umpires are more pron to get tired. ICC is that way rational and you are not. Now regarding DRS, over the years more than 100 decision is overturned by the DRS. Do you remember any overturned decision that is wrong? i.e. the onfield umpires decision is right but DRS has changed it and made it wrong? There are cases though, when the technology is inconclusive and the onfield decision was upheld when many people feel(included mine) that although not 100%, more than 70% evidence was there to overrule the onfield decision. DRS did not make those decision wrong it was wrong before that. DRS just did not make them right however, DRS made 100s of decision right which would stay wrong otherwise. You are just proving that to be one of the best batsman of an era , you need not to be logical.

Posted by Nampally on (June 28, 2012, 13:44 GMT)

Thanks for an excellent overview Mr. Crowe !. The ball tracking may be accurate in conditions where ball does not move as prodigiously in the air as in England nor off the seam. Also it is so difficult to judge the bounce in the pitch as in Australia, SA & England. What computer code can accurately predict the ball path?In addition, many Indian sub contenent players were given out wrongly despite the third Umpire's decision being either inconclusive or against Umpire's decision. So the role of the third Umpire + cases of inconclusive decision, in final decision process needs to be finalized. Can the field Umpire over rule the third Umpire or inconclusive decisions? If so why do we have DRS? - to review Field umpire's decision or Not? Lastly, the hot spot in case of ball -bat contact is very poor. Snickometer + hot or soft spot needs to be made 100% reliable. If DRS is to be universal. it needs to be a conclusive answer to the appeals - Not another question mark - as it is presently!..

Posted by kitten on (June 28, 2012, 13:37 GMT)

Well put Martin Crowe. I don't personally feel that BCCI are being stubborn, and vindictive and trying to show their power like in the days when England and Australia ruled the roost. They possibly may be to some extent, but since so many bad decisions have still come about using DRS, one of them coming to mind, Dravid(at the height of his form in England), who was given out inspite of DRS, when everyone and his dog, saw he was not out. I agree that many howlers were witnessed in the SL/Pakistan series, but then it was for the two teams to agree to the DRS, and not blame BCCI. DRS can still be used between two consenting teams, and life will go on. To placate everyone, the most reasonable solution would be to leave the decision to have DRS to the home nation. If DRS is improved by then, maybe BCCI would agree to this.

Posted by Dude.Cricket on (June 28, 2012, 13:26 GMT)

Among so many who thump chest in favor of DRS blindly this is one informed article as to why it should not be. There are too many holes in DRS to be fixed before it can be deployed universally. Players simply don't have confidence in it. When the DRS gives a wrong result the appealing players go to the extent of saying that the other is cheating. For example, Stuart Broad went to check Laxman's bat for wax when he was ruled not out by DRS. Why should there be a system that isn't even giving confidence to players should be used and at a huge cost. Shed your egos, go back to the drawing board, involve the current and former player in the design and testing, then it can be deployed.

Posted by wibblewibble on (June 28, 2012, 13:26 GMT)

You cannot deny that hotspot and even hawk eye have improved the overall quality of decisions. No longer do people get given out lbw when they hit the cover off the ball. No longer do bowlers get away with taking wickets with no balls. No longer can batsmen pad up against an offy and expect to be given not out when its plumb in front. With any technology, you have to weigh the positives against the negatives - DRS gives far more than any perceived flaws in the system take away.

You get far more correct decisions with DRS than you do without it, and therefore it's introduction should be a no-brainer. Tendulkar doesn't like it, Dhoni doesn't like it, and therefore BCCI don't like it. BCCI not liking it stops the ICC from standardizing it and sponsoring and promoting the kit, so that boards like Sri Lanka do not have to stump up for this expensive technology themselves. Note that this is not asking BCCI to pay for DRS globally, a key sponsor would be brought in to pay for enough cameras

Posted by S.Alis on (June 28, 2012, 13:25 GMT)

I think Martin Crowe has gone insane. DRS is for removing howlers and there is not anything called "100% foolproof technology" anywhere in the world. it will improve as time will pass but it won't become "100% foolproof".. Never. If ICC is wrong from day one and doesn't want to admit it then what about other full members? What is NZ Board is doing? No Wait. What is ECB and CA is going? Why they can't open their voice? Does ICC also is a big bully? and no one has courage to voice their opinion? I can't believe i'm reading a article like this from Martin Crowe and i have great respect for him.

Posted by   on (June 28, 2012, 13:24 GMT)

A circular argument to say the least. One could just as easily say that the percentage of obvious errors has gone down significantly when DRS has been imposed which alone makes the system a runaway success.

Posted by Rally_Windies on (June 28, 2012, 13:16 GMT)

DRS is a waste....

get Hawkeye out of DSR ...

technology cannot track the predicted path of the ball better than humans ...

Posted by g.narsimha on (June 28, 2012, 13:16 GMT)

spot on - justfied the BCCIs stand ,so it is icc but people made BCCI avillain .

Posted by Faizan_Bahadur on (June 28, 2012, 13:10 GMT)

Is it rocket science to understand that even RDS is not foolproof,it reduces the no. of errors and howlers made by umpires..You just have to see the last test between Sri Lanka & Pakistan to understand the difference..enough said.

Posted by StatisticsRocks on (June 28, 2012, 13:04 GMT)

Thank You Mr. Crowe for your fair assessment. Finally someone has the guts to take a stance with BCCI and us Indians. People need to see both sides of the coin before taking sdes, but now a days the trend is very clear "If any one is against India we are on board" and this is especially true with our neighbors in all directions. Not that we need their support but the irony is they cry for our support. As the saying goes "Old is gold" everything was great until technology creeped into sports. We rely on technology so much that we are willing to downplay the shortcomings and rather live with mistakes than dread to live without the use of modern gadgets. Can you all think of living w/o your smart phones, i-pads etc today? ICC is trying to hide their embarassement their mistakes their ignorance by blaming BCCI & India.

Posted by praveen4honestremark on (June 28, 2012, 13:01 GMT)

Mr. Martin Crowe, you have spoken the heart of many Indians who are just been pointed out that their players are wrong in opposing DRS. . I always believed DRS was not correct and also expensive. Do more R& D on it, come out with cheaper DRS which even boards which are financially not strong like SLC, ZIM, Kenya boards can also afford. We people would had forced BCCI for DRS from here India itself, starting from media if they were wrong, because after we Indians love CRICKET, so we watch so much. I am not a great BCCI fan; but world should not feel that we will not support BCCI. We are supporting BCCI and players because we feel their points were valid from DAY ONE. Bring cheaper and effective DRS, acceptable by each and every board. When it is really good, even BCCI can't stop it. We will be with you on implementing DRS then- Indian

Posted by CricFin on (June 28, 2012, 12:47 GMT)

>>>Last week the ICC said Ed Rosten, a Cambridge professor, had given ball-tracking technology the 100% tick. Yet Ian Taylor, the creator of Virtual ball tracking says it isn't 100%. Whom shall we believe? The inventor, of course, not the professor.

I am not sure whether that professor really exists or not .Anyway I would like to see his full report and how he came to the conclusion that it 100% correct.

Posted by Sulaimaan91 on (June 28, 2012, 12:47 GMT)

Quite a lame try, Crowe.You can keep crowing for the BCCI but there are a lot more people who can see things straight.For now, the DRS brings more correct decisions into the game .The claim that DRS is 100% is definitely a lie because nothing is.Your suggestion of perfecting it and then introducing it is never going to happen because of how complex the game cricket is.Only by introducing it and improving it with time will it come close to being 100% but even then it never will be 100%.

Posted by InsideHedge on (June 28, 2012, 12:43 GMT)

Bravo Martin Crowe, Bravo!

Posted by   on (June 28, 2012, 12:37 GMT)

So after the independent testing people asked for demonstrates that ball tracking is accurate we now decide not to use it because we believe that it is not accurate, great thinking guys! The 100% accuracy goal is a total red herring, anyone with any grounding in probability knows that's basically impossible, the question should be is it more accurate than the umpires, which it is.

Posted by MrPontingToYou on (June 28, 2012, 12:33 GMT)

until the technology is 100%, there will still be bad decisions, and cries of frustration from players etc. but anyone who can't see that drs has improved on the number of poor decions made, especially howlers, need to have the heads examined. one way to clear up some gray areas is to make a stance and say right, once the ball is hitting the stumps, thats out, regardless of clipping or whatever. batsmen always get the doubt, give the bowlers this one. lets also note that hotspot has improved. one last suggestion would be to go back to the original format, and give teams 3 referals per test innings.

Posted by   on (June 28, 2012, 12:20 GMT)

Well said. The ICC should encourage the DRS system only after proper research and defect corrections are applied to the technology in an unbiased manner. At least Mr Crowe had the courage to stand up and say the truth.

Posted by ShanTheFanOfSachin on (June 28, 2012, 12:18 GMT)

I am glad to see such articles criticising the critics of BCCI still find a place on Cricinfo.

The backers of DRS and other so called Spirit of Cricket things are full of hypocrisy and double standards. Just get on with the game and the fact BCCI have their own reasons to stand their ground. DRS is just not the thing that is going to upheld the Spirit of the game. There are many other things which are important.

Get on with the game and life guys

Well said Martin

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