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Editor, ESPNcricinfo

How about demanding honesty from the players?

As a system, the DRS is less than ideally set up. It's time cricketers policed themselves to some extent

Sambit Bal

July 16, 2013

Comments: 174 | Text size: A | A

Michael Clarke asks for a review, Australia v South Africa, first Test, Brisbane, November 9, 2012
If the objective of the DRS is to deliver as many correct decisions as possible, is cricket best served by leaving its use in the hands of the players? © Getty Images

In the 111th over of the final innings of this grand Test match, an event I have dreaded - the climactic moment of a game being halted, and decided, by a DRS referral - materialised.

Even though cricket is a contemplative sport, the central action occurs in moments - a blinding stroke, a lightning catch, a play and miss, an ear-piercing appeal, and in most cases, an umpire's verdict. A referral involves deliberation, examination and re-examination of evidence, interpretation, and then the delivery of the decision. I have always hoped to be spared it at a big moment in a game.

But this can easily be dismissed as the romantic fancies of a luddite. To the logical eye, the dismissal of Brad Haddin would appear to be the DRS' finest moment, one where technology transcended the failings of humans and delivered justice. The edge was so thin that even the bowler only threw in a feeble appeal, and England's referral was more in hope than a cry for justice. The initial not-out verdict was not a howler of the sort the DRS had been instituted to eradicate; it was the sort of decision cricketers of any age would shrug off with a wry smile before moving on.

In a sense it was an apt finish for the Test, for the DRS had been a central theme through its five days. It could be said that the final moment provided an opportunity for redemption and the system delivered perfect justice.

But a rigorous examination would reveal a more complex and unsatisfactory narrative. That Australia found themselves on the wrong end of a series of marginal DRS decisions can be put down - as graciously acknowledged by Michael Clarke - to their own poor judgement in their use of the system. Clarke used the DRS as a gambler would - as another tool to sneak a wicket when the situation was dire - and he got lucky once too, when Jonathan Trott was adjudged leg-before, when he shouldn't have been. Alastair Cook, on the other hand, was prudent and sound in his choices and thus had the option of a "tactical" review when England really needed one.

It does give rise to a fundamental question. If the primary, and in fact only, objective of the DRS is to deliver as many correct decisions as possible, is cricket best served by leaving its use in the hands of the players? It has been pointed out that the DRS should not be faulted for its wrong use by Clarke, but that argument ignores a vital point: that the referral is left to the fielding captain or the batsman, who are part of the system, not outside it.

Two instances in England's first innings revealed two glaring shortcomings of the system. In Trott's case, the right decision by the on-field umpire was overturned by a human error by the operator. In the case of Broad's non-dismissal, a big umpiring error was allowed to stand because there was no access to a referral.

It has been wrong from the beginning to bill this as a contest between humans and technology, when in reality it has always been a case of humans using technology and interpreting the evidence it provides. Hawk-Eye can, at best, provide an approximation of the ball's path, and while being relatively more accurate than human judgement, it is dependent on a number of variables, including overhead conditions, to deliver optimal projections. Hot Spot, while it has improved, can still produce misleading evidence, sometimes because of extreme conditions, but sometimes because of simple human error.

The purpose of this piece, however, is not to find flaws in technology but in the way the DRS is set up. Many of these are old arguments but they are worth repeating.

That the broadcasters are responsible for providing and administering the technology is both a dereliction of responsibility by the ICC and an unfair burden on the broadcasters. Imagine the Trott incident in reverse: an Australian batsman given out wrongly by a system controlled by the English broadcaster. Neutral umpires were appointed not because home umpires were cheats but to protect them from the suspicion of bias.

Also, imagine if the DRS had been in operation in India and a human error led to a wrong decision in favour of an Indian player. The BCCI doesn't merely sell television rights to cricket in India, it also produces the feed.

Equally importantly, allowing players to appeal inevitably results in opportunistic challenges on marginal calls, leaving room for subsequent wrong decisions to stand because the appeals have been exhausted. If justice is an aim, it should mean justice for all. It wasn't merely Australia who were denied a rightful wicket; Ashton Agar was also a victim.

Spare a thought, too, for Aleem Dar. It was a bad mistake, though it looked far worse because the ball travelled to slip via Haddin's pad. Dar failed to pick the first deviation and didn't have the opportunity to take a second opinion because the system allows umpires to consult their colleague in the box only to check on whether a catch was taken cleanly.

Dar, the ICC's umpire of the year for three consecutive seasons, has had a poor run recently, but in this match he had a perfect decision wrongly overturned on review, and couldn't himself review a decision that made him look ridiculous in the cold light of technology.

And imagine, too, the reverse of the Haddin dismissal. Had he not nicked it but been given out wrongly, he would have had no recourse to redressal because his captain had gambled away a review and Shane Watson had had a marginal call go against him.

The marginal lbws raise some uncomfortable questions too. The rationale of letting the umpire's call stay when the ball is seen to be grazing a stump, or pitching or hitting the pads fractionally in line, takes into account the margin of error in the projection. But it does end up delivering unequal justice. You can't let one man escape because of the lack of concrete evidence and let another hang by the same evidence just to grant the benefit of the doubt to the judge. (And as happened in this case, penalise the batsman further by taking away a review from his team's quota.)

It has been wrong from the beginning to bill this as a contest between humans and technology, when in reality it has always been a case of humans using technology and interpreting the evidence it provides

What's the way out then? Ian Chappell has suggested that reviews be handed over to the umpires. There are complexities there too. It might lead to every decision being reviewed and the rhythm of the game being disrupted at every appeal.

But there can be a common-sense approach. By letting technology rule only on what is visible - edges, the line of ball, and the point of impact - and removing from the equation the predictive part, the scope of the system can be narrowed to a more manageable level. The umpires, both the on-field ones and the man in the box, need to be empowered to use the system, which must lie under the direct control of the ICC. That would make for a system conducive to delivering more accurate decisions. It will still not be perfect, but it wouldn't be a case of justice for some.

Now for a more radical thought. Not a word more needs to be said about Stuart Broad's unwillingness to become the latest poster boy for cricket's morality. Jonny Bairstow feathered an edge and walked, bless the young lad. But Broad owes no apologies to anyone. He was entitled to stay: he is a professional sportsman, not a boy scout; his primary job is to win cricket matches for England, not to earn badges for righteousness.

The angst and the wrath his decision invited had everything do with cricket's confused, and often troubled, relationship with the concept of morality, and its idiosyncratic ways of defining it.

Michael Holding was perhaps being rhetorical when he highlighted the inherent double standards in cricket's morality. Denesh Ramdin, the West Indies wicketkeeper, was fined and suspended for not revealing to the umpires that he had dropped the ball immediately after taking a catch in the Champions Trophy match against Pakistan. He didn't appeal himself, but his silence was taken as complicity and he was found guilty of breaching the spirit of the game.

Batsmen, however, as the code goes, are innocent till they are declared guilty, and have the right to silence. And taking the criminal justice system analogy further, a fielder trying to claim a catch is the equivalent of a witness committing perjury.

But unlike batsmen, an acquitted person can be brought to trial and convicted in the light of new evidence in the criminal justice system.

What if cricket's convention was turned on its head and the onus was on the batsman to walk if he knew an edge had been taken cleanly? After all, being caught off an edge is no less out than being caught off the middle of the bat. It would require a drastic change of mindset because batsmen are brought up to believe that it is the umpire's job to give them out, but if the code of honour is changed and batsmen attracted the same censure as errant fielders, walking would not be a moral option but an obligation.

It is true that in rare cases batsmen don't feel the thinnest edges or are sometimes convinced that the ball has bounced off their bat on the ground before popping to the fielder. In such cases, like fielders who are in doubt about the legality of a catch, they could ask the umpire, who could then either judge it himself or refer it.

In any case, isn't demanding honesty from players a better option than encouraging them to gamble with reviews? It has nothing to do with morality and everything do with practicality. It will make cricket an easier game to administer on the field.

Sambit Bal is editor-in-chief of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by VVSR92 on (July 20, 2013, 9:08 GMT)

remove umpires , put bouncers in place of them & give every decison thorugh technology .

Posted by Paul_Bramley on (July 20, 2013, 8:42 GMT)

Come on Mr Holding, the "Spirit of the Game" argument being used to beat Stuart Broad with rings a little hollow coming from one of the infamous West Indian paceman from their golden era of the 70's & 80's who used to intentionally intimidate and quite frequently deliberately inflict injuries and pain on opposing batsmen. Was the bowling served up to Brain Close in 1976 in the spirit of the game? To me that sounds like selective memory or to use a favourite term of Holding's "hypocrisy".

Posted by Busie1979 on (July 20, 2013, 7:30 GMT)

I don't think any of these issues are insurmountable. My solutions: 1) Suspend players who don't walk 2) Take out right of appeal and give players the right to request DRS 3) suspend players who make vexatious requests or over-appeal 4) umpires have a right to use DRS whenever they want 5) umpires KPIs are focused on not overusing DRS and keeping the game flowing 6) Third umpire can step in and overrule mistakes 7) Third umpire should double-check instantly for every LBW, caught behind and bat pad decision without being asked - so we don't have delays with players talking with each other deciding whether to review.

This would keep the game fluid, increase spontaneity, remove cheating, get the right result more often.

Posted by   on (July 20, 2013, 1:45 GMT)

Most of the ambiguity regarding appeals for dismissal surround the uncertainty of bat on ball. One person present at the ground knows with a very high degree of certainty the truth. He knows instantly, without any need for technology. There should be a system in place where the umpire, as a first resort when there is uncertainty, asks the batsman if bat hit ball. A yes or no are the only answers accepted. If his answer means he remains at the crease, then technology should be used to confirm his honesty. If he is a liar, he will be branded as such through the cricketing media. At present there is an accepted culture of dishonesty. A system put in place to correct this should be adopted.

Posted by Chris_P on (July 18, 2013, 1:45 GMT)

If it worked both ways (which it won't) perhaps so, but the reason is very simple why pbatsmen fdon't walk. They get stiffed the same number of times when given out (e.g. knowing they hit the ball but still given out LBW). Do they not leave the crease insisting they are being honest as they know they are not out? No, that is the balance of batting. Honesty plays little in the overall scheme. Umpires are there to do a job, the batsmen or fielding team are not the umpires.

Posted by SaintAubyn on (July 17, 2013, 19:42 GMT)

I recall that our High School senior team played the Teacher's XI and when the cricket master, a former regional player, got rapped on the pads first ball by the Boy's opening bowler, he immediately sprinted from the pitch before the umpire even had a chance to rule. I imagine the cries of controversy from the 1st Ashes test reflect a romantic nostalgia for a bygone era of sportsmanship, when entrenched in the game was a code of chivalry akin to the Nobility defending its honour with dueling swords.

We may as well accept that the more commercially successful a sport becomes, the less it will be about sportsmanship, and more about the bottom line. Win at all costs, has now supplanted win with elegance, especially if winning increases the bottom line. For better or worse, cricket is now a victim of its commercial success, and there's no going back to the era when it was a gentleman's game.

Posted by sarangsrk on (July 17, 2013, 19:30 GMT)

Sambit, I agree with the DRS part of this article to a great extent but still can't agree that only the umpires should be given right to ask for referrals. The entire reason for bringing in DRS was to reduce/remove mistakes by umpires and for the umpires to ask for review, they need to know that they made a mistake which they won't obviously if they knew. If they are in doubt when making a decision and hence, should use DRS, then we would be reviewing every 5th over.I believe simple solution for this is to remove predictive and non-scientific parts of DRS out. Ex- Hawk-eye should not be used as it is not fool-proof and DRS should only be used for howlers and not predictive decisions. This way you take out umpire's call, more than 50% of the ball hitting stumps etc from the game. Batsman/bowler can review only for provable portions like edges,clean catches, run-outs/stumping, bump ball when catching etc. This will give batsmen and bowlers accurate data.

Posted by   on (July 17, 2013, 17:59 GMT)

A very nice article covering every debatable issue that has been the talk over the last week around the DRS. Though I would support a batsman standing his ground until he's give out.A batsman is charged of showing dissent when he tries to convey to the umpire of an incorrect decision that has gone against him.In such a situation,not only does it cost him and his team his wicket,but also part of his match fees.Then batsman is right in his way to stand his ground when he knows he's out but not given by the umpire to cash in on the share of luck that goes his way and compensate for an incorrect decisions he must have suffered before.

Posted by Rexton87 on (July 17, 2013, 15:59 GMT)

One review for each batsman should be allowed , succusful reviews should not be counted as used. If any team/batsman wants to use another extra review then 2-5 runs penaly for failed review and none for succesful review. Thats how there will be justice for all and no tricks have to be played by captains.

Posted by aarpee2 on (July 17, 2013, 15:41 GMT)

I have a different take.Time for 'Zero-Tolerance similar to match-fixing and doping. Allowing an on- field error to enable the game to tilt in favor of steam is a travesty of justice.Post-Mortems by commentators and media do not solve,only aggravate the issue into a controversy.When a fielder dives and saves the ball on the line,multi-angle replays are shown.Why?-because we are told even a single run can make or mar the outcome of the game.Its a pity that same logic does not hold for on-field umpiring errors especially when the public see replays of the error.What about a career of a cricketer which is at stake which has nothing to do with skill or talent.Third umpires Ustinov be pro-active and intervene other and there and ensure timely justice on field is meted out and the dignity of the game is maintainers- otherwise it is a mockery-scrap DRS

Posted by seniorgators on (July 17, 2013, 15:05 GMT)

A lot has been said about Clarke having used his referrals far less judiciously than Cook in this past Test. What needs to be recognised to balance this statement is that Australia actually had almost all the marginal 50/50 lbw decisions go against them. Now that is not a criticism of the umpires as we are not talking about howlers here. But 4 times Hawke Eye showed the ball hitting the stumps when England were batting and the umpire gave it not out. Twice Clarke referred but it was given not out because it was hitting the outside of the stumps. Both of these were as much out then as Rogers and Watson when OZ were batting who WERE given out with balls just clipping the stumps. In those cases the umpires gave it out so Oz lost those referrals too. In short, no howlers and no complaints of bias but the 50/50 lbw's favoured England. Ironically if Watson and Rogers had been given not out and England referred them, England would have been 2 referrals down and Oz had 2 extra referrals left!

Posted by Sagarneel on (July 17, 2013, 11:32 GMT)

Instead of trying to rely on technology, which isn't full-proof; why not initiate a more efficient and robust training program for on-field umpires so that they make lesser mistakes? If the ICC can run global initiatives for the development of cricket, they can definitely initiate developmental programs for umpires to increase their professional efficiency. This, although won't ensure complete accuracy of decisions, would certainly reduce the margin of 'human errors' on the parts of the umpires.

Posted by Clyde on (July 17, 2013, 7:38 GMT)

If there is a reasonable doubt the batsman must stay. Only if you are plumb lbw or well and truly caught, for example, need you go. Between the batsman, fielders and umpires it is known whether or not the batsman is well and truly out. The DRS technology and the reading of it is no less fallible than a natural umpiring decision. Hot spots, for example, can be due to things other than the ball. The relevant on-field umpire ought to have sole discretion on out or not out. If he wants to ask for advice from the square-leg or third umpire, he should be able to. Over time, we will come to know who the best umpires are. The essence of the matter is the quality of the umpire, tested via sole discretion. Other considerations are red herrings and small ones at that. Bal is right in asking for more player responsibility. I say it means walking if you are indisputably out under the laws. This will, of course, eliminate a certain small number of cases of umpire error, like the Broad one,.

Posted by Bunbarian on (July 17, 2013, 7:26 GMT)

Good article here. However, I would refer to Geoff Boycott's observation that he's never seen a bowler recall a batsman given out lbw, when the replay showed it was most likely not out, so why should a batsman give himself out? Bowlers appeal for rubbish heaps of times during every game, hoping for an umpire error, so why should any extra onus be put on batsmen (or fielders for that matter) to be honest? The long-term answer is that there'll always be mistakes, no matter what the system used, and you'd better not play the game if you can't handle that. Or, stick to a sport where the outcome is always clear, like snooker, where the ball's either on the table or off it, no ifs or buts.

Posted by   on (July 17, 2013, 7:19 GMT)

some people are cyring DRS is not good or not useful. in first place i want to question that persons who are against DRS. Please tell me How you come to know a batsman is OUT or NOT OUT or whether the Umpire has done a mistake. It is the TV slowmotion replays that is revealing the facts most of the time. Suppose there was no TV coverage if an Umpire had given somebody out who in the world can say that the Umpire has done a mistake. Again it is the technology which is used by persons to criticize the same technology.

Posted by satishchandar on (July 17, 2013, 7:13 GMT)

How about two unsuccessful reviews and 10 run penalty for every further unsuccessful review? It would have saved Aussies from Broad decision.. If given penalty, teams would opt extra review risking the penalty runs.. 10 runs can be crucial in any game and unless the player is completely selfish and adamant, they wouldn't opt to review for half decisions..

Posted by   on (July 17, 2013, 6:28 GMT)

First of all 'NO Technology would be foo proof'. We have to accept it. But as long as it increases the % of correctness then we are good.In the current Test, we have one Howler(Trott) and one remarkable decision(Haddin's) by DRS.But the decision to overrule or not should be with Umpire.Aleem Dar knew Trott was Not-out but he got binded by rule.Have you seen Darr's reaction while giving out to Trott. I know its not-out but what can I do?SO the overruling a decision should be with umpire.That will take the % little higher.Broad's non-dismissal has to be done with how captain uses DRS.Again if Umpire has the flexibility to use 3rd Umpire for all decision then its good.ICC can always judge umpire by no of decision's on-field umpire refers to 3rd umpire.One of the most annoying decision which has to stop is asking batsman to stop once they are out so that onfield umpire can check frontfoot No-Ball. That's not happening.If that's how its to be then why not after all deliveries its checked???

Posted by Angry_of_Wembley on (July 17, 2013, 6:09 GMT)

Golf has never, ever had a problem with self-adjudication and enforcement. or indeed, with upholding "the spirit of the game". They are not embrasaaed about it, and nor do they go on about it as much as cricketers. They just apply it - at the hacker level right up to the Majors. Greg Norman, among many, has said it is the standout feature of the game. For example, we have regularly seen favourites for a Major self-disqualify after realising their caddy had put one too many clubs in their bag, unbeknownst to them, or touched the bunker sand with the wedge prior to the shot. We all recall the hullaballoo at the Masters when Tiger appeared to breach the rules on where to take a drop. Interesting to note many of his peers thought he was in the right, but should have done the honourable thing anyway and ruled himself out, just to enforce the game's reputation. Imagine that at Edgbaston! AoW

Posted by   on (July 17, 2013, 6:04 GMT)

Umpires call should not be a wasted review!

Posted by tamperbay on (July 17, 2013, 5:52 GMT)

I think the reason players reviewed decisions in this game, when they knew they nicked the ball, is because a few times in recent games a very fine nick hasn't shown up on hotspot when the bowling team reviewed a not out decision. We know they were nicks because they were picked up on the snickometer. But for some reason the snickometer isn't used as part of the DRS. Clarke, Haddin, Finn reviewed when they knew they nicked the ball, and Root considered doing it even though he knew he hit the ball.

Posted by tamperbay on (July 17, 2013, 5:46 GMT)

What evidence was there that Trott hit the ball? I don't understand why everyone is saying this. Or am I missing something? The only people that thought he hit the ball were Aleem Dar and Trott himself. We can't necessarily trust Trott because he might be like Broad, Finn, Haddin, and Clarke and every other player who don't walk (and are being encourage to not walk by most people) when they did hit it. The error in the decision was that he was given out by review while there was no overwhelming evidence that he didn't hit the ball (because they didn't have the side-on hot spot images to prove it either way). So it should have been umpire's call. The problem with that is that under the present rule, Australia would have lost another review.

Posted by Cricket_theBestGame on (July 17, 2013, 5:07 GMT)

i completely agree with Bal here. an edge to keeper is no different to a:

1) catch to 1st/2nd/3rd slip or any catching position (though clarke was standing around to be given out few years ago!), 2) bowled 3) run out when miles out of the crease

the only time batsman should wait for umpire to rule him out is on LBW, and if there is doubt on both fielder and batsman if the catch is taken cleanly and on close run outs. otherwise why walk when get bowler or get caught elsewhere on the field? why not wait for the umpire to give out?

common sense and icc would do well to read this article !

Posted by JusAnthrCritic on (July 17, 2013, 5:03 GMT)

I think the change should be implemented in the whole system for DRS to work in the best way it is intended to. By change I mean, a complete overhaul of handling players/appeals by umpires on the field will better assist the DRS. A yellow card system (as in Football) where the umpire can penalize a player for unnecessary or over appealing (like the 1 mentioned above, of a fielder at point appealing aggressively for LBW). Since Cricket is a longer game (than football), there should be 3 yellow cards which can amount to a red card, and even a red card should mean suspension for that innings.

Since a batsman is programmed to save his wicket, the question of being moral, walking, and being truthful go out of the window. However, at best they can be stopped from cheating by the card system.

Having setup the Card system, the DRS then can be given to players with another permutation like that of allowing only 1 review per hour for either team without the accumulation of unused reviews......

Posted by JimmyDee on (July 17, 2013, 4:54 GMT)

How about this....if a player doesn't walk on an edge caught, then 1 review is taken off his team. No reviews left, it carries to the next innings/game. Put it this way, if the players behind, and the bowler hear it, the batsman will always know what it hit.

Posted by yoohoo on (July 17, 2013, 4:44 GMT)

Interesting points here. One suggestion would be to make unsuccessful appeals penalized through "-5" runs. This way you would get appeals only for howlers, and not for marginal calls. It will speed up the game, and take care of howlers.

Posted by   on (July 17, 2013, 4:35 GMT)

I feel players were a lot more honest in the 80s and 90s when it came to walking on their own. Back in the day, the chances of scrutiny were very little as there were no technical aids, still players never hesitated. There is no way a batsman will be unsure of nicking the ball. The difference is as big as walking with shoes and walking barefooted. Nowadays it has become so acceptable for players to think why they should walk if the umpire doesn't think so. Even the most gentlemen of players this generation have stood their ground many times despite a faint edge. Gilchrist for a long time was the only player believed to walk off the field if ever he thought he nicked it.

Posted by Ashes2013isours on (July 17, 2013, 4:11 GMT)

I think that the team should not lose a review to an umpires call. Basically they are saying the technology can't say whether you right and wrong to choose to review it why should the team be penalised. All other aspects of the DRS I am happy with. However I would hate to be given out be the umpire for LBW from a bowler around the wicket to lefty umpires call impact outside off and umpires call hitting/missing leg but chances of this happening is very low.

Posted by rajpan on (July 17, 2013, 4:08 GMT)

What is important? Sporting spirit or justice? If former is important why do you need DRS? Without it the decisions are 90% correct anyway. If justice is important then go all out for it and pay the price in terms of money, waste of time and everything that goes with it!! the difference is only 5%. If one tries go for both or tries to get a balance between the two, the result is inevitable...... confusion.

Posted by funkybluesman on (July 17, 2013, 3:54 GMT)

You suggest they walk unless they aren't sure. But that means they could easily just say they are unsure and not be penalised. So it doesn't really work.

Leaving the technology in the hands of the umpires but without access to the predictive part of hawkeye may work. That way unless it's clear on the video that the umpire has made a blunder and the ball is clearly missing, all the 3rd umpire would be checking is if there is an edge, if it pitched inline and hit inline.

The umpire has to make a predictive judgement on LBW's. So giving them technology that does that for them might result in excessive referring of LBW's where the ball is moving a lot. But take out the predictive part of hawkeye and give it to the umpires and you've probably got a good solution.

Posted by   on (July 17, 2013, 3:21 GMT)

Though I agree on everybody on field being expected to be honest, I dont agree on its evaluation by judges. Nobody apart from the soul know what was going through the mind. So I don't see either of Ramdin or Broad guilty.

The core question lies with responsibility, with in my opinion ICC does not seem to understand.

The responsibility for decision lies with umpires, so they should have the authority to use the technology. It has nothing to do with player, he has every right to be immortal by walking and every right to be mortal by not walking even if he know he is out. As a fielder he has every right to claim a catch or run out or whatever he feels can convince the umpire, even if it means him being mortal.

Responsibility of technology lies with ICC and host. It has to take a decision on uniform use of technology everywhere and not allow at one place and not available at other.

Posted by   on (July 17, 2013, 3:15 GMT)

Amongst all the hoopla of Broad dismissal, we should also note that Finn used DRS for his caught behind decision when the entire Trent Bridge knew he had nicked the ball. This was a case of blatant misuse of the DRS and the teams should be fined (not monetarily) in a way such that they would not be further allowed to use the DRS.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (July 17, 2013, 3:13 GMT)

Yeah nah totally disagree here. Clutching at straws, as with so many other silly articles about this. The bottom line here is what Glenn McGrath has said - the issue is about "umpire's call", where one player is "very out" and another is "possibly out" but the "possibly out" one stays out on review and the "very out" one stays not out. As a simple example - Ashton Agar in the first innings was "very out" while Brad Haddin in the second innings was "possibly out". There is no certainty that Haddin really hit it, while Agar was definitely not behind the line for the stumping. Another example of this kind of error was James Anderson's LBW in the first innings versus Chris Rogers's LBW in the first innings. While Anderson's LBW hit almost all of the stumps, it could not be reversed and stayed not out, and while Rogers's only barely hit possibly a hint of the stumps, that one stayed out. These kinds of errors are the problem. And if these were fixed we wouldn't have Broad's.

Posted by tamperbay on (July 17, 2013, 3:13 GMT)

I love the DRS. It not only gets more decisions correct, it actually adds drama to the game. Giving captains limited reviews is perfect! They can't complain about bad decisions because it is in THEIR hands. This is the best way possible to stop people blaming the umpire about bad decisions. However, I agree with @158notout and Matt Prior who say that the team shouldn't lose one of their reviews if the outcome of the DRS is "umpire's call". I also agree that any dishonestly (ie not walking, claiming a catch when you haven't caught it) should be considered a "sin". Any dishonesty in society should be frowned upon. Think about the effect this has on kids watching the game. To be a better human race we need to be more honest. Afterall corruption is the single biggest factor causing poverty in the world today. Come on people - lets start to encourage honesty with at leaset demanding it in the gentlemans' game!

Posted by vivekk83 on (July 17, 2013, 2:55 GMT)

Nice point of view from the author. leaving the choice of referral to the umpire can also be detrimental as we have seen umpires reluctant to refer to the TV umpire for run-outs and stumpings and aggrieving players. The DRS is a plus to the game. Have two reviews as is today. It can be used only for howlers like outside the line LBW, Inside edge LBW's, caught behinds, bat-pads, using hotspot + snicko. The decision of ball tracker and Hawk eye is awesome, but cannot predict the nature of the surface accurately , so those decisions should stay with umpire. That would eliminate the biggest anamoly when the umpire gives it out and even if shaves the stumps , the DRS cannot overrule, and vice versa when players review a decision and onfield decision stays when it clips the stumps during a review and the decision stays not-out. Please don't make umpires as robots as test cricket's biggest charm is on-field umpires making amazing decisions. Players, pls. do a service to the game by walking

Posted by tapooori on (July 17, 2013, 2:34 GMT)

Long before the introduction of DRS, after a test match as close as the first ashes test match, the writers, critics, and the fans used to write about the performances of individuals and teams. Yes there used to be umpiring errors, however they always were far and few and the focus mainly used to stay on the performances. DRS was introduced to eliminate those far and few umpiring errors. One question which I am sure is in every cricket lover's mind is whether DRS squashed controversies in the field or added some more. Ever since this most thrilling and exciting test match is over, almost every article is on DRS. Discussions on the performances of Bell, Anderson, Agar, and most importantly Haddin are far and few.

DRS is based on the judgement of human. The difference in this match was the difference of judgement between two human beings calling for DRS. One showed more emotion the other more calmness.

Question is do we need DRS in cricket and therefore more controversies?

Posted by leighsydneychina on (July 17, 2013, 2:11 GMT)

The last HONEST player in this area was Adam Gilchrist. None since....

Posted by landl47 on (July 17, 2013, 1:52 GMT)

This is an extremely confused article (not least about which England innings it was when the Trott/Broad issues occurred). If technology can rule on the line of the ball, what is the 'predictive part' on which it can't rule? Isn't that the line of the ball?

As for suggesting that the batsman MUST walk when he has edged the ball, what happens when the batsman is given out and it is later found that he didn't hit the ball? What happens in the Trott scenario- Trott claims (correctly) that he hit the ball and the fielding side say "That's all right, then" and get on with the game? Is Mr. Bal seriously suggesting that the players make all the decisions on the honour system? I can tell you now, that won't work.

The DRS can be improved, but nothing in this article suggests a practical way to do it.

Posted by   on (July 17, 2013, 1:26 GMT)

if we dont use the predicted path, then everyone will sit around debating whether it was hitting or not. the current system works perfectly well. if you wanted the DRS decision, he should have not gambled them away.

Posted by dh511 on (July 17, 2013, 1:09 GMT)

The DRS is to remove the howler - it should not be used by captains hoping to swing a 50-50 decision, which is what we seem to have (especially Australia unfortunately).

Each team should have 1 unsuccessful, not more - that way it's only used when they are sure.

Also, none of this committee meeting business. if you can't answer in 5 seconds or without asking 5 other players then you're not sure and you shouldn't ask.

Posted by Brownly on (July 17, 2013, 1:09 GMT)

I agree wholeheartedly. It wouldn't just make it easier to administer, it'd also make it easier to watch and enjoy. I've been teaching my partner the game and when she saw Broad's edge she asked me, "Isn't that cheating?" I said, "No, not really. He wasn't given out." To which she replied, "But he IS out."

Those raised into the game by cricketing families seem to miss this crucial point. It takes a novice to point out the simplicity of the issue - batsmen aren't out because the umpire gives them out, they're out because they've nicked it, or it's hit the stumps, or any of the other modes of dismissal. Walking shouldn't be an option. It should be an obligation.

I refuse to accept the notion that because the players are professional this gives them a right to stand their ground. In what sane professional institution do they allow you to get away with something like this? If anything, being a professional is further reason to be honest!

Posted by   on (July 17, 2013, 0:49 GMT)

All very nice sentiments Mr Bal, but it reminds of the Indian series in Australia a few years ago. Prior to the tests, Ponting, Clarke and co. all got on their high horses about playing with honour, and always taking the fielders word for catches where there is some doubt. THEN at the VERY FIRST instance of uncertainty it was the Aussies who refused to walk and insisted on referral to which it was deemed uncertain. I am not saying that Indians walk, or are great sports. I am just saying when push comes to shove, these guys are competitive sportsmen and have enough to worry about. Take it out of their hands.

Posted by Cantbowlcantbat on (July 17, 2013, 0:34 GMT)

Disagree with Sambit Bal and most of the comments of others. Cricket is a refereed/umpired game. Decisions are best left to the umpires with or without DRS. It is ridiculous to expect players to overrule umpires by walking. Why is walking not viewed as dissent? Further to this, cricket is a team game. A player walking is making a unilateral decision to overturn an umpire's not-out decision and thereby sacrifice his wicket and adversely affect the team's position. I don't know of any other sport where this occurs and I know many sports where a player would be severely disciplined for making such a"saintly" but selfish decision. The umpire/DRS decision is final!

Posted by aracer on (July 16, 2013, 23:51 GMT)

Brad Haddin should be the poster boy for not walking, rather than Broad. It is surely more dishonest not to walk for one you know you've nicked (as he's admitted), but which is faint enough you hope it might not have been spotted, than it is not to walk for one which the umpire shouldn't have missed (though as has been pointed out many times, the initial deflection from Broad wasn't actually that big).

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 23:45 GMT)

My View is it is the umpire's call, the DRS is there in case the players feel the umpire may have made a mistake or were not sure what they saw, it is the same with rugby with the video replays, it is the players right to stand their ground. I will refer back to another sport: for example, if a footballer deliberately blocks the path of another causing an obstruction and the ref misses it he is not then going to go over to the ref and go, uh sir give the opposition a free kick. Sport is not entirely about honesty, never has been never will be, you just have to know which boundaries you can push. Broad's decision to stand his ground has been slated and applauded, remember when Michael Clarke did just the opposite and walked and he was rounded on by everyone. At the end of the day the Umpires are paid to do their job and the players are paid to do theirs don't start mixing those two jobs up.

Posted by JimmyDee on (July 16, 2013, 23:33 GMT)

I believe that players instinctively want to be honest in all aspects of the game, but because of the advent of all these technological tools that is not the consideration in making a decision, it is actually now used against the opposition! If the teams are restricted with the amount of reviews they get, then it is the 3rd umpires responsibility to oversee any dubious or doubtful decision there after. That includes overruling the field umpire if required.

Posted by AjaySridharan on (July 16, 2013, 23:23 GMT)

Remember Sehwag instantaneously referring every one of his LBW outs, irrespective of the fact that even to the naked eye he was caught plumb in front! He was being utterly selfish disregarding the team's interest. Wonder if he ever got called out on that in the team meetings. If I was his captain, I would have been fuming at that behavior. It is very true - DRS is being used opportunistically by the captains and players. For LBWs, DRS should be used only to see if the ball pitched in line with the stumps or not. It is not possible for the technology to exactly figure out the trajectory or height of the bounce thereafter.

Posted by ThatsJustCricket on (July 16, 2013, 23:15 GMT)

A nice and balanced article. @karthikr315: like your proposal. Besides, never understood why there are two different standards of morality for the batters and the fielders. The most ridiculous in all this is taking away a review when a certain piece of the technology is not available at a specific review.

Posted by aus_trad on (July 16, 2013, 23:11 GMT)

My view (contrary to the one voiced in this article, and by Mark Nicholas, but in agreement with Ian Chappell) is that the DRS system simply doesn't work if left in the hands of the players, who will always have vested interests and manipulate the system if they can. The first test also clearly showed that DRS does not do what it was designed to do: eliminate the "howler". The technology has to be in the hands of the umpires, somehow, in order to help them to get it right in the first place. The knee-jerk response to that is that every appeal would then be referred, thus causing frequent delays. Firstly, umpires would still dismiss frivolous appeals, so not every single appeal would be referred. Secondly, as an exercise I did a search on the word "appeal" in the first test commentary, and had 23 hits (a test of nearly 4.5 days). Not exactly scientific, but I suspect that there are actually not as many appeals in an average test as one might think, so it might be practicable after all.

Posted by indiewindy on (July 16, 2013, 22:01 GMT)

I feel when teams go ahead and agree for use of DRS in a series then..... FIRST: why not use technology to the maximum, not restricting it to few reviews each innings or team. SECOND: then to introduce a system where when teams goes wrong frequently on appeals, to fine them or some system in place to control too many appeals next match (a method i feel is hinting them,,, LOOK... you are trying to abuse the appeal system) Initially it might look it will longer times to complete a match, but as we go on, teams would know the fines, bans ect from too much appealing and then might appeal appropriately It just a raw idea, may be experts can .

Posted by Ambu72 on (July 16, 2013, 21:48 GMT)

In one sense, players walking are undermining the umpire's authority of the game, although the moral high ground they are afforded absolves them of the lesser crime of 'taking the decision' off the umpire's hands! How is it fundamentally different to a bowler 'assuming' that his victim was out and fails to place an appeal ( I recall some players being penalised for this offence)? I have seen occasions where the umpire is made to look silly by an individual player's choice to walk. Why not take the decision completely out of the players and the onfield umpires? Let the tv umpire call the onfield guy confidentially and inform him of a change based on evidence. The time limit afforded could be until the next legal delivery has commenced?

Posted by karthikr315 on (July 16, 2013, 20:38 GMT)

The way this can be structured is 3 free reviews and a further penal reviews. Once the free reviews are exhausted by the teams, they have a further couple of reviews which would result in penalty by quantum of runs if the reviews do not reverse original decision from umpires. This way tactical use or gambling will be not done by captains.

Posted by Rahul_78 on (July 16, 2013, 19:35 GMT)

I have certain strong reservations against DRS. Hot spot is too inconsistent to be relied on to overcome infield umpires call. Dar made a correct decision in Trotts case and was overruled by a faulty technology and human error handling it. Giving DRS I. Hand of players is directly undermining umpires authority. Clarke tried to take a chance with technology knowing fully well that it might save him with some luck and if it is not undermining umpire then what is? Some commen sense needs to prevail and third umpire needs to intervene in case on field umpires make a howler. As per asking players to take moral ground Sambit you need to ban on field appeals or ban square leg fielder appealing for LBW!

Posted by ad-infinitum on (July 16, 2013, 19:13 GMT)

The only change that the system needs is that a review that ends up with the umpire's call being upheld should not be deducted from the allocated 2 reviews per innings, if it is a marginal call. Ex. If an lbw appeal is given out and the batsman reviews it, and it is found that the ball is just grazing the stumps (in which case the on field call stands), then the batsman should be forgiven for having a doubt on such a close call. A review should not be deducted in this case. But if more than 50% of the ball is shown to be hitting the stumps, then it should be treated as a bad review and one review should be deducted. Ditto for bowlers in an appeal where not out has been given on the field. And you advocating that batsmen should walk when they have nicked is problematic. They will always claim that the edge was so faint that they couldnt feel it. How do you conclude which claims are genuine? Better leave the decision making to theumpires and expect thebatsman to always stand hisground.

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 18:33 GMT)

This reminds me of an incident in 2011 WC, SA vs WI. Jacques Kallis nicked a ball (everbody, umpire players, crowd, knew he did) and a fielder caught it. The umpire and Kallis were not sure if the catch was clean. Instead of making the umpires waste their time and then go for review, Kallis did a very prudent thing. He asked the fielder "Did you catch it clean?". The fields said "Yes" and Kallis walked without any further words. The fielder was right. But, if it was not a clean catch, then it would have been terrible embarrassment for the fielder, to the extent that even his own teammates would not have believed him for the rest of his life, a black mark he would have had to live with forever! I think it's time cricketers start being honest as batsmen, fielders and even bowlers who keep appealing for everything. Instead of blaming umpires and DRS and the setup, it's time players took the responsibility too.

Posted by MVRMurty on (July 16, 2013, 18:28 GMT)

I wish players like Broad and Ricky Ponting start thinking like you Mr. Sambit Bal.

Wonderful article.

I would also propose, if players do not play fairly they should be banned for a few matches and pay a huge fine.

Posted by sky_928 on (July 16, 2013, 18:25 GMT)

I feel that there should be a limited number of reviews (like in American Football) but that 2 in a test innings are not enough. May be both teams should get 1 review for every 25 overs so if an innings goes long (say over 100 overs), then the teams get more reviews. If there are too many reviews then the game will slow down (especially in close games when there are a lot of appeals).

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 17:53 GMT)

I like the proposal by one of the writers above: give the option of two reviews to coaches. We want correct decisions. There should be nothing sinister about the process of DRS. I have followed test cricket since the South African tour to England in 1955 and older persons will agree: bad decisions, obvious wrong ones whether human error or simply a form of cheating have had a major impact on results of test matches over the past 50 years. I do not mean difficult 50/50 decisions which are part of cricket and always will be. When I recall those infamous decitions made by a so-called "neutral" umpire in the 1998 test series between SA and England (seven or nine howlers in I think the fifth test handing the series to Eng) I still want to vomit, to put it mildly. The Broad episode clearly should serve as a lesson to captains: use the system for what it is intended to be, not as a gambling tool. Don't blame Broad. If he is guilty hundreds were over the years.

Posted by CricketChat on (July 16, 2013, 17:51 GMT)

With a maximum of 11 potential outs in an innings, I feel 2 referrals is a little too less in my opinion. Instead, increase them to 4 at the start of innings and penalize team(s) by subtracting one from the available referrals for each wrong one to prevent its abuse. The extra 2 referrals shouldn't make any significant dent into playing time/conditions.

Posted by Rahulbose on (July 16, 2013, 17:48 GMT)

Players walking has always been a romantic notion that just about nobody follows in practice. I am sure it has never been a common practice, it is just contrary to human nature. Neutral umpires are there to make decisions and ensure fair play, it is assumed both teams will do everything they can to win.

Posted by ARad on (July 16, 2013, 17:29 GMT)

There is nothing wrong with DRS. The article starts with setting up a false dichotomy as if an umpiring decision is somehow romantic (if it is, court cases are romantic) and asking for DRS is logical (well, it is). The reason for the DRS limit is to make sure that not all decisions are reviewed due to time constraints so umpires repeatedly asking for reviews is impractical. (How often would you want to check for LBWs when Warne or Murali was bowling, for example? See Also the often unnecessary run out re-checks.) Putting the decision purely in the hands of the umpire would also rob the players the option of asking for umpire's decision to be overruled (which is WHAT DRS IS REALLY ABOUT.) DRS is for eliminating howlers. It is not a tool for gambling. When you gamble, you can lose. Clarke gambled and lost. Let's not make a mountain out of this mole hill.

Posted by salazar555 on (July 16, 2013, 17:03 GMT)

I'm not favour of umpires having the power to use DRS as they will just use it all the time for fear of not using it and being wrong. The system is good at the moment, captains just need to learn it is there for the howler not because you need a wicket badly. It is there for the type of Broad incident (the howler), the problem is that Clark had already used up reviews on a gamble so he couldn't use in the exact situation it is there for.

Posted by Ropsh on (July 16, 2013, 16:51 GMT)

I agree with removing the predictive part of HawkEye - its accuracy is untested and, until they decide to show the confidence intervals around the central projected path, cannot be relied upon in any way whatsoever.

Posted by brusselslion on (July 16, 2013, 16:50 GMT)

Comment on the Ramdin incident from ICC match referee Chris Broad:

"This is regarded as a serious offence as it is the responsibility of all players to act in the spirit of the game,". "I hope Mr Ramdin has learnt his lesson from this incident and that we will not see such behaviour by him or any player in the future."

Comment from Mr. Broad, snr. on the Broad Jnr. incident:


Posted by brusselslion on (July 16, 2013, 16:44 GMT)

An article with too many excellent points to comment on them all.

Re Broad: What I don't understand about people defending him is that he wasn't just morally wrong, but he actually broke the laws of cricket. Here's the Preamble to the Laws: "Cricket is a game that owes much of its unique appeal to the fact that it should be played not only within its Laws but also within the Spirit of the Game...". It goes on".. 5. It is against the Spirit of the Game: ....To indulge in cheating or any sharp practice...". Broad knew he was out, so he contravened this Law & breached the Code of Conduct so the ECB and/or ICC should punish him.

@Nampally on (July 16, 2013, 15:20 GMT): I'd call you a naive old fool but I don't know your age and I reckon that's my title anyway!

@scritty on (July 16, 2013, 9:20 GMT): That's an embarassing argument. I'm often critical of supporters of certain other countries for what I consider "selective memory" but your comment is close to the top of the pile.

Posted by spintl on (July 16, 2013, 16:43 GMT)

In order for the DRS to work, I recommend the following: (a). Take the DRS from the players hands...give the decision to use or not use to the Coach & his support staff who are in the pavilion watching it on TV.. they will have access to slow-mo action & replay option..This is the same system, used by the NFL (American Football) where the coach has 3 chances to ask his review by each half, and if he is unsuccessful, he is penalized 1 time-out. So, let's give the same 3 chance/inning to the coach & if he is unsuccessful, he should be penalized 25 runs in Test Matches or 10 runs in ODI (b) In the event of LBWs, more than 50% of the ball should be hitting the stumps to deem that the batsman is out LBW. That's my take on this...

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 16:42 GMT)

The DRS the way it is, is fair according to me. Each team having two reviews, and as it grows, everyone would use it as a tactical tool, rather than out of desperation,

However if you want my honest opinion, I don't think there is any need of technology in the game. My comment may sound absurd, but just think of how many run outs you see where the evidence is inconclusive even in slow motion? Or the on field umpire's call with the tool for instance as pointed it earlier.

I honestly think it is a waste of time, if at the end of the day, the umpire is going to give the benefit of doubt to the batsman, so be it... As long as the umpire is fair and consistent in is decisions I am happy....

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 16:07 GMT)

I think DRS made a good positive impact in the match excluding Trotts decision. England might have lost if not for DRS in the end, how unfair that would have been? It is not DRS's fault, but captains need to use it properly. I favour the current system where captains have the decision to use DRS, it should not be with the same umpire who makes the initial mistake

Posted by doughyinperth on (July 16, 2013, 15:55 GMT)

It seems to me that Dar was never going to give Haddin out for the winning wicket. If he had given it & then been proved wrong on replay he knew Australia had no referrals left so he would have looked stupid. England had two left & were bound to refer it so by giving it not out he was in a win/win position. When the match officials start to play the DRS system for their benefit the whole situation must be flawed.

Posted by a1234s on (July 16, 2013, 15:22 GMT)

using drs for lbw decisions is just ridiculous. the ball which got watson was not hitting leg stump by any stretch of imagination. and hot spot is being shown up too. Broad's thick edge was not caught by the hot spot cam. predictive technology works only when it's full-proof..otherwise it's just a game of roll the dice...

Posted by alarky on (July 16, 2013, 15:21 GMT)

In fact, our cricketers are some of the great stars and icons of the world; and, many of our youths look up to them as role models. So, when a such a role model decides to be as dishonest as flawed rules in a sporting discipline allow him to be, and our children think that it is "qute" to be dishonest (example, Broad's case), what sort of socities are we breeding worldwide? I think that some of these cricketers and commentators who encourage blatant cheating and dishonesty perpetuatally in sports, should be ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES! The umpires are only human - so why the hell the system cannot be tailored to put the onus on the players to be honest and encourage fair play? One of the reasons that I admired the Great Brian Lara is, regardless to the circumstance in the state of play, he was always prepared to honest and when he knew he was out, he gave the umpires no horrors. Yet he retired from the game still being arguably, the greatest batsman of All Time (after Don Bradman)!

Posted by salazar555 on (July 16, 2013, 15:21 GMT)

I think the DRS is a good system. This match didn't show it in its best light but a lot of that had to do with Clark not having the reviews when he needed them. If he hadn't wasted them he would have been able to review the Broad incident and the correct decision would have been made.

The DRS was not at fault for that, on field umpiring and Clark were at fault

The two situations where DRS failed actually went against England. A wrong decision against Trott when the on field umpire had it right and a bad stumping call against Agar when he had nothing behind the line and was given not out.

Saying all that, I still feel it gets more decisions right than wrong and adds to the tension of the match

Posted by Nampally on (July 16, 2013, 15:20 GMT)

Mr. Bal, While Broad is a "professional Cricketer" (Not a "Boy Scout"), I expect higher morality standards from a "professional" Cricketer. What Role Model he presents to budding young cricketers, let alone Boy scouts? I expect him to walk when he knew that he was caught in the slips. This happens in school & village cricket. You don't need an umpire to declare his ruling on such a decision. A "professional" Umpire made blundering mistake of declaring him "Not Out"! Clearly Boy scouts would be better than "professionals". At least they will watch & do a sincere job. Equating Cricket - a noble sport- to Politicking is wrong & this is what Broad did. I agree with Chappell's view of unrestricted use of DRS in Tests. In a 5 day match, the time lost is miniscule. Also its expense is justified when it is fully used. But how reliable is DRS when it gave Trot wrongly "out" ? How can one believe Haddin got a thin edge, when he did not walk & in view of Trot' s DRS decision being wrong?

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 15:19 GMT)

Demanding honesty from players? I am all for it, but that would mean one team, which over the years glorified "win at all costs, even if it means blatant cheating" (a euphemism for which is Australianism) would have to stop playing cricket altogether.

Posted by lee_man on (July 16, 2013, 15:16 GMT)

Very interesting article. I think there should be some penalty to the team or individual if for example a player edges the ball, pretends not to and then is found to have edged it on review. That is cheating. There is no sportsmanship whatsoever in this game. I love the sport but have long been disillusioned by the way it is currently being war.

Posted by alarky on (July 16, 2013, 14:53 GMT)

Sam Bit, The topic of your article is a question which sums up the whole situation; and which should be answered in the affirmative and necessary steps taken to have it implemented immediately - enough said!

Posted by Robert1612 on (July 16, 2013, 14:49 GMT)

Seems umpires are more likely to give marginal LBW decisions out nowadays. The problem as I see it is if the umpire gives a marginal LBW .. Watson just clipping leg stump by 2mm stands on referral, yet a very close one where 48% of the ball is deemed to hit this stumps and given not out cannot be overturned. There needs to be a consistency here .. if 50+% of the ball is required to be out then this should be the case for out/not out calls by the umpire. That is on review, if less than half the ball is hitting (it is not entirely accurate and predictive only) is NOT OUT regardless of the umpires original decision. So in this instance the marginal calls that are out and reviewed (Watson and Rogers) would have been overturned and it seems a fairer system. Having said that Australia totally mucked up with their 2nd review, so they had no one to blame for the Broad "howler" but themselves. Need to follow England's lead here and save "tactical" reviews for later in the innings, if at all!!

Posted by OOZZ on (July 16, 2013, 14:42 GMT)

If the aim of the DRS is to eliminate howlers, then it's very simple. Just define howlers and eliminate only that. The howlers are ones which can be seen visually by the third umpire without any technological aids (snicko, hotspot etc.) Big inside edges for lbws, big snicks through to the keeper etc. These are few and far between and third umpire intervention for these ones would be acceptable to most and won't affect the ebb and flow of the game.

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 14:38 GMT)

Very good article Sambit. I don't agree with claims that reviews should be kept even if unsuccessful for umpire's call. This would keep encouraging Captains to review a marginal decision, which is an umpire's call. I think one review per innings, so that captain's know that they HAVE to use it for a howler, else it's gone. And if it does go on a marginal call so that they can't use it on a howler, then that it is entirely their fault when a howler does come along.

Posted by Mutukisna on (July 16, 2013, 14:25 GMT)

Mr. Bal, a very good article specifying most of the scenarios that ensue from DRS reviews, except for your concluding suggestion. Ignoring the match fixing and naively expecting it to be eliminated, you need all batsmen to be a Gilchrist, Bairstow or Sangakkara. And everybody knows that that will never be the case. The Trott decision was certainly, human error or omission, whatever you may call it. Also, why is Snicko not deployed in addition to Hotspot and Hawkeye? Believe it or not, DRS has also increased the excitement level enjoyed by spectators. Long live DRS! I would even go as far as saying that if DRS is not employed then the results and scores from such matches should be excluded from historical records.

Posted by Bernoulli on (July 16, 2013, 14:18 GMT)

ICC should go easy when it comes to teams unsuccessfully using reviews with the "umpire's call" lbw decisions. Some of them are really marginal and with hotspot being only approximate regarding the ball's trajectory, no one should be at fault. Two such marginal calls and the team is at a risk of not being able to review potential future howlers. I know this could get more complicated when it comes to tracking the number of reviews left, it could give players more confidence when it comes to using it (and may be BCCI may start liking it better). Also it seems like snicko is more effective sometimes than hotspot in detecting faint edges, it should be included in the package. It was interesting that lot of "umpire's call" LBW decisions went England's way in this test one way or the other. May be one of those things for which there is no perfect solution.

Posted by bobmartin on (July 16, 2013, 14:07 GMT)

When decisions were solely in the hands of the onfield umpires we had wrong decsions..and now we have DRS we still get wrong decisions.. but, most imprtantly, less of them.. All this nonsense about howlers is just that... nonsense.. ... Aleem Dar missing a blatant and quick huge edge by Broad was one.... Haddin's very fine edge was another... However you describe them.. they were both incorrect decisions.. The reason why Broad got away with his was because the Aussies had squandered their allocation of reviews...and paid the price... England used their reviews conservatively and reaped the reward...That is not the fault of the's mistakes by the the players... There's an old but very true adage... If something isn't broke, don't try to fix it.. If you do, you'll probably break it.

Posted by chitti_cricket on (July 16, 2013, 14:07 GMT)

This DRS should not be in the hands of Umpires. Since umpires won't go to DRS overruling their own decision. However it is it is OK now. But wile a DRS is asked by any team they should not consider on field umpire's decision at all. Just like what happened to Watson. Watson was given out because on field umpire also thought he was out. But that was very unfair and unwanted decision. if that one did not go wrong we all know who would have won the 1st test. That changed the course of test match and may be even the series. Otherwise the Current DRS is good and should be followed. Australians have not used their DRS smartly and have no particular convention followed while requesting review, that deprived them at right times to use it.

Posted by NALINWIJ on (July 16, 2013, 14:04 GMT)

I agree with the approach where the umpire gets the benefit of the doubt in a DRS. On this basis DUPLESSIS dismissal that was overturned in AUS vs SA match where part of the ball intersected with line of leg stump should have gone in umpires favour and was incorrectly reversed. Mistakes like this can be made by the review system but usually DRS increases the accuracy from 90% to something higher. My suggestion is that an additional DRS is awarded every 80 overs but the maximum DRS available anytime should be 2. Captain should save the last DRS for howlers.

Posted by poorselector on (July 16, 2013, 13:57 GMT)

The idea of review system was to remove howler. So unless you are sure dont review - so marginal calls going one way or other - WERE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE REVIEWED in first place and going one way or other is completely acceptable. If you allow to keep the review because its "onfield call" there would many more reviews. Finally onfield umpires shouldnt be allowed to review else an umpire who didnt review a howler would be hanged in public by supporter of team. Teams need to start using DRS effectively and many people will not have good reason to complain. Finally i think someone wrote very clearly that fielder can say he did or didnt take catch but batsman cant say he didnt if its given out so why should he say he did if umpire thinks he didnt.

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 13:55 GMT)

I originally supported the DRS, but I now have mixed feelings. Instead of only being used to correct howlers, it is changing the game. For example, spinners now get LBWs more than they used to, because umpires have seen Hawkeye traces showing that balls they would previously have given Not Out would have hit the stumps. Batsmen are being given out for thin edges that can't be detected with the naked eye. This is not what it was supposed to be used for.

And not only is it changing the game, it's yet another thing slowing it down. Let's just accept the verdict of the on-field umpire, and get on with the game.

Posted by valvolux on (July 16, 2013, 13:40 GMT)

The common theme is top order batsmen waste too many reviews and captains waste too many reviews trying to get top order batsmen out. We just need to keep improving the tech so essentially we can do away with review quotas and just get accurate decision checks quickly every time (<10 seconds). Right now the time it takes to get all the replays ready, hawkeye ready, hotspot ready...its just too long. Its not just the time though, the quality of the vision sucks. The clarity of footage and the camera angles made available for run outs/stumpings is embarrassing - im no camera whiz, but in an era of 4K, mega zoom and shrinking sensors, surely we can do better. Maybe 3 cams on all stumps with HD, high fps sensors and fish eye lenses? The KFC big bash trialed stumps that had proximity sensors on the bails - we need this sort of innovation to sync better with our cameras (frame by frame). The main problem is the ICC are not driving DRS innovation, Aussie/English TV networks are.

Posted by leave_it_to_the_umps on (July 16, 2013, 13:33 GMT)

@hulk777 - i think you have nailed it - if you are having DRS then there should be no limit to number of reviews to ensure we still dont have howlers but there should be a penalty for an incorrect review to avoid too many reviews

I think 10-20 runs for an incorrect review and maybe 0-5 runs for an umpires call would be suitable to discourage excessive non-stop reviews

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 13:26 GMT)

Players should never be able to challenge the umpire's call, it undermines their authority.

I agree with Chapelli, the third umpire should be allowed to intervene in controversial calls, if they are howlers, without the need for an umpire or player to call for review.

This happens in rugby. If a touch judge sees something in back play then they speak to the ref to flag it.

The aim is to produce better quality decisions without ruining the flow of the game. At the moment the system is set up as a lottery, when it should be set up to improve officiating.

As for walking, I'm Australian and I know that just about everyone in that Aussie side would have done the same as Broad. Forget morality, this is about winning cricket games. Broad learnt these tricks in... Australia when he played in country Victoria. What's disappointing is the umpiring system didn't produce the right call, not that Broad didn't decide to help the umpire do his job.

Posted by disco_bob on (July 16, 2013, 13:20 GMT)

Cricket should take the lead from the Tennis regarding DRS. So called tactical reviews is a misnomer, it's simply a review. Why the word 'tactical' is used as a pejorative I do not know. The obvious solution is to give each side 4 reviews per innings. Let them make so called 'tactical reviews', I don't see what the problem is other than the original problem of undermining the umpire's authority to make incorrect decision.

Posted by bonaku on (July 16, 2013, 13:15 GMT)

Nice article with some common sense and being dished out with some errant, emotional and biased argument by the media. As Bal said, first ICC have topay for the technology and have them in their control, if at all they want equal justice. Other wise all this hooof anf puff about the DRS makes no sense.

Posted by wibblewibble on (July 16, 2013, 13:10 GMT)

Broad did exactly what Haddin did. Both nicked it, both knew they nicked it, both stood their ground and weren't given out. The only difference between the two is that all the Aussie fielders knew Broad had nicked his, and only Matt Prior half thought Haddin had.

Haddin is portrayed as a hero unjustly defeated by technology and Broad is a Bond villain stroking his white cat inside a hollowed out volcano.

Posted by PeterJerome on (July 16, 2013, 13:06 GMT)

Can anyone answer me this question? Pleeese? Why is a ball pitched outside legstump not eligible for a LBW?

Posted by cric_options on (July 16, 2013, 12:58 GMT)

I am finding this discussion on DRS very amusing. The questions here are two: One - How can we ensure that the feed provided by the broadcasters and the software used for interpretation remains unbiased. Two - Whether there is a way for technology to come to a conclusion on such interpretations without involving humans - and if that would errors which human make like the one which happened in Trott's case.

Until these are answered, no other question, which I see so many of us intrigued with, has any relevance. The DRS as it stands now, is serving us as well as it can, and the deficiencies its showing up are all systemic deficiencies built within or around the system. If we have not been able to ponder and think through these, then I think we are quite inept at handling such matters as administrators and public.

I did not expect this article from Sambit. Will this comment be a featured one because I feel the content begs so? Well no, cause Cricinfo strangely only likes the yes sayers

Posted by Chris_Howard on (July 16, 2013, 12:58 GMT)

What if a batsman thinks he's hit it and he hasn't? I've heard batsmen say that before.

Posted by Grasian on (July 16, 2013, 12:58 GMT)

The howls of anger when Steve Bucknor failed to give Andrew Symond's out at the SCG test against India in 2008, when there was no DRS, suggests no system will please everyone. Whatever is adopted, let's please not leave it to the two standing umpires who already waste copious amounts of time unnecessarily referring appeals for run outs and saves by fielders on the boundary line. The two reviews should be retained as they are invariably used better by more astute captains and less desperate teams.

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 12:54 GMT)

I personally feel if the batsmen start walking then whats the use of an umpire being out there, Only for LBW decisions?? The batsmen have the right to stay put even if they have nicked the ball and leave the decision to the umpires coz thats their job. Also tomorrow when the batsmen gets a rough decision and he cant do anything about it, then it can really affect careers. At the end it all evens out. So as i said, the batsmen should not walk and leave to the umpires.

Posted by sweetspot on (July 16, 2013, 12:41 GMT)

Sambit is not wrong on any front, except that he hasn't mentioned how we should remove all scope for DRS being used as a tactical resource, by removing the cap on the number of reviews a team has. How can there be a right or wrong in the request of a captain in reviewing an umpiring decision? Why is there the reward of availing one more review if the original decision is overturned and the penalty of losing one opportunity if the original decision stands after review? Isn't the DRS there specifically for removing doubt? Why should it be limited in the number of times it can be put to work in each innings? This is an administrative howler and the team that exhausts its reviews first is under pressure for no cricketing reason.

Posted by hulk777 on (July 16, 2013, 12:40 GMT)

DRS should not be limited to two, instead have penalty for incorrect calls which will make the teams to use it wisely and only when they are sure.

Posted by hulk777 on (July 16, 2013, 12:35 GMT)

I think having only 2 DRS review is not good. Instead have 2 free reviews, afterwards the team is penalized 5 runs for every review they lose, by that way teams will still use it carefully and they are always given a chance to review.

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 12:32 GMT)

The lack of consistency is the point here. Rogers and Watson both review marginal calls, with the ball projected to graze the stumps, thus umpires call remains and they are out. Root is given not out, Australia reviews, and even though it was hitting more of the stump than the previous 2 mentioned, he is allowed to remain as per the original call. Hughes too receives a marginal call that again goes with the on field decision. If the original on field call had been reversed , Australia would have looked like geniuses and England would have had to ponder their use of DRS. In such a tight finish, what would the outcome have been?

Posted by Someguy on (July 16, 2013, 12:22 GMT)

@158notout - I agree that if it comes down to "umpires call" they should probably keep their review. Another change that needs to be made is the 3rd umpire should be able to call for a review when there is a howler, like the Broad edge, in the case that the team has run out of referrals.

I also think that the 3rd umpire should review all wickets. I'm not talking in depth analysis, remember we are only looking for howlers, just watch a slow motion from a couple of different angles if there is any doubt. Not enough to hold up play, but enough to stop a batsman being given out incorrectly on a howler.

I think the players need to have the option to ask for a review, because if the 3rd umpire misses something for one team and not another, there will be an uproar. If they have wasted their reviews and the 3rd umpire misses it, they only have themselves to blame.

Posted by TheCricketeer on (July 16, 2013, 12:22 GMT)

For those saying you cannot get honesty from players. Well, yes you can.

Penalties need to become harsh. It really is that simple. There are sports out there where a player would not dream of cheating. Take golf. There have been instances where players have called 2 stroke penalties on themselves because "maybe the ball moved about a millimeter". And also notice how golf despite not needing to, have been willing to use TV evidence after completion of a round (on reports from spectators) to enforce the rules.

Claiming a catch is no different to not walking - it's impossible to argue that point. Both are cheating and changing the course of the match.

Simply add this to playing conditions.

Players found to have stood after edging a ball will face the following penalties. Technology can be used post match to determine guilt.

First offense - 3 match ban Second offense - 3 month ban and your team forfeits the match Third offense - Life ban

Noone will ever stand again. Job done

Posted by 512fm on (July 16, 2013, 12:18 GMT)

@158notout - could not agree more with you mate, I have always thought that was a bit harsh to take the review away when it is umpires call as it is so close and could have gone the other way depending on the umpires decision

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 12:18 GMT)

Vikram Raval "Well australia should learn 1st and then talk about morality and spirit of game 1st. "

Yes because Tendulkar has never stood his ground after being caught, has he? Most players wait for the umpire's decision. It's really no big deal. It's PART OF THE GAME! A game, just remember that, a game.

Posted by Cricketfan11111 on (July 16, 2013, 12:15 GMT)

Walk or not to walk has nothing to do with honesty. Sometimes they are given out when they are not.. Other times they are given not out when they are out. Batsman takes good with the bad. It evens out in the end. If they have to walk on moral grounds, how it is fair they can't even show dissent when they are wrongly given out and have to leave like a good obedient child?

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 12:12 GMT)

There is not a bit wrong about DRS the way it is now. If you are going to demand honesty from the players then why not remove the umpires from the game??? If all players start being honest as Bal suggests then there would be no need for umpires. All players if they are out they themselves will walk otherwise they will stay and play on. Unfortunately Mr Bal you talk about being practical. However your solution is hardly practical.

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 12:10 GMT)

I totally agree with your first suggestion on using the technology not for predictive measures but only for what has actually happened much like it is used in tennis. However the second suggestion of leaving the onus on batsmen like its done for fielders is faulty as the foundation of both cases are totally different. For a catch the fact that a batsman has hit the ball is never under question so the fielder knows that if he tries to fool everyone it won't work as the umpires or batsmen will ask for a review but in case of batsmen the fact whether it has hit the bat or not is under consideration so the batsman has an incentive to say i dont know if i have hit it or not because the fielding team will always want a review which the umpires wont comply with 100% and that leaves a grey area where the batsman can get away in a case where he has edged the ball.

Posted by CricketMaan on (July 16, 2013, 12:07 GMT)

I think India and BCCI have a point. Its not the line of the ball, but the predictive path that is debatable. its hard for the technology to know whether the ball would have bounced above or rolled over after pitching. We have seen this number of times when even batters and keepers have no clue of the bounce. Remeber the Sreesanth delivery to Jaques, that wasn't planned it just happed to bounce so high after pitching on a crack or rough or a stone. Take away the fact to find whether the ball went high or low, just keep it to assess if it pitched in line or not, if it hit in line or not. that is enough and even if there is a margin when the ball pitched or hit outside the line simply give it not out. Hotspot has improved since that Rahul Dravid shoe lace dismissal, so its fair to use it though it too ain't 100%

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 12:04 GMT)

What some people are conveniently forgetting (or perhaps they weren't watching the game) when they claim that Australia wasted a review, or was gambling on a review, was that some of the Australian reviews were better than the English in terms of where the ball was hitting (the stumps or in line with the stumps). There were two decisions where the ball would have just about knocked the leg stump out of the ground but the umpires happened to give the English players who were batting NOT OUT, while there were two decisions where the ball was predicted to just clip the stumps when Australia was batting that the umpires just happened to give OUT. So, English review decisions that were much more marginal being successful, Australian review decisions being not successful. So much depended on the umpires original call, not on the Australians making rash or bad review decisions.

Posted by yoogi on (July 16, 2013, 12:00 GMT)

I for one would always like the player to have a healthy discussion with umpire to urge him to refer to the third umpire. The third umpire, on his part should be able to intervene when there is a howler. So my suggestion would be to let players have as many as 4 reviews and a watchful third umpire who can intervene whenever there is a big mistake even if the onfield players dont challenge the decision.

Posted by Fajji on (July 16, 2013, 11:53 GMT)

How about reduce it to 1 referral? That would mean teams only use it when they are sure. Giving them two is letting them gamble one and then keep the other for a rainy day. Batsmen & Bowlers will be less prone to review half hearted LBWs.

Posted by Phreddie on (July 16, 2013, 11:49 GMT)

Sure you can ask for honesty from the players, but you won't get it. It seems not to matter that not owning up to hitting the ball is dishonest and completely lacks integrity. Win at all costs, no matter how bad it makes you look. How about making umpires more responsible for blatantly awful decisions? Does the game need much younger umpires, whose eyesight and reactions are vastly superior to older umpires? For my money, if you are going to use technology like DRS, then you have to use it all the time and remove the umpires altogether. There simply is no way to use the technology some of the time, and under only certain conditions that will be completely fair and be acceptable to everyone. Turn it on and use it all the time, or turn it off and never use it again - there can be no half measures.

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 11:47 GMT)

OldTav said, "Remember the days when we had two umpires and their decision was final? They occasionally made mistakes but "that was cricket"! "

Too true, that was proper cricket, not your sterilized computer hokey nonsense people watch today.

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 11:45 GMT)

"In a sense it was an apt finish for the Test, for the DRS had been a central theme through its five days. It could be said that the final moment provided an opportunity for redemption and the system delivered perfect justice."

The first Ashes match in history to be decided by an off the field decision. What an awful day for cricket. Ugly, ugly, ugly. I fear those demanding "justice" fail to understand the true beauty of the game and the human element involved.

If you want 'real justice', just remove the umpire entirely and make sure every decision goes through DRS or Hawkeye. Either do that or scrap it entirely and stop marginalizing the most important person a cricket field, the umpire.

Shame on you all.

Posted by RamblerDhaka on (July 16, 2013, 11:44 GMT)

Can someone explain to me why it is ok for the umpire to refer to the 3rd umpire to see if a no ball was bowled after he has given someone out. This is an instance where a batsman can be called back after being given out based on an umpires referral. So why could not have Aleem Dar asked for the 3rd umpire's opinion in the Broad incident. Strange inconsistency which ICC need to address.

Posted by OldTav on (July 16, 2013, 11:24 GMT)

Remember the days when we had two umpires and their decision was final? They occasionally made mistakes but "that was cricket"!

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 11:24 GMT)

There is a third and even a fourth umpire in international matches. They, surely, ought to be pressed into earning their match fee and match medals a bit more. My solution is to have them both employed acting as quality control during a match. Where they see something that might be wrongly enforced by their on-field colleague, use the link-up to pause the game and review. Its then a team of four people trying to get it right, within the prescribed laws of the game with all the technology available.

If they then manage to get it wrong, its time to call in to question the role of the umpire in international cricket. There's very little else they can do. The media will then HAVE to pull back on their scrutiny of every ball.

Posted by lyl67 on (July 16, 2013, 11:22 GMT)

A batsman who stand his ground after he knowly nicked the ball should be fined and suspended for one game because it is cheating, forget what has gone on in the past and make a fresh start.

Posted by bford1921 on (July 16, 2013, 11:22 GMT)

The system is fine as it is. Clarke gambled and lost, as a result of this when the howler came along there was nothing to be done. The umpire's call is also reasonable, without DRS these would be out or not out in line with the on field umpire anyway, and there would be no issue. Time to move on, there are more correct decisions being made in games with DRS than those without, that is good enough for me. DRS has improved decsion making significantly, what better reason is there for using i?.

Posted by Mark_Hurst on (July 16, 2013, 11:16 GMT)

There is absoutley nothing wring with DRS as it is. DRS provides the correct decision when all technology is available. (trott decision is a one off that wont happen again we hope) The reviews need to stay with the team and kept at 2 per innings. DRS is not for the marginal LBW decision and rightly these marginal decisions stay with the umpire. DRS is to remove the howler which it 100% does unless you waste your reviews like Australia did. THis whole DRS topic is only being trawled over (again) because England used it far better than Australid did.

Posted by PutMarshyOn on (July 16, 2013, 11:15 GMT)

Perhaps allow the umpire to directly ask a batsman whether he has hit the ball in the cases the umpire is not sure. If he denies it, is given not out then is found to have hit the ball then the team is deducted the runs added while that player is at the crease, and/or the player is suspended.

Posted by indianpunter on (July 16, 2013, 11:15 GMT)

My 4 cents, and i have said it several times on this forum; 1. Take away the predictive path. We are still unsure as to how this was validated. The umpire is the better judge of the bounce and pace of a 5th day wicket when compared to a day 1 wicket than hawk eye. Use the hawk eye only till point of impact. 2. I dont agree with handing the DRS calls to the umpires ( as Chappell suggested). That will prolong the game interminably. 3. There has to be a ceiling on the reviews; maybe 3. But it gets refreshed for every new ball ( every 80 overs you get 3 reviews) 4. A team does not lose a review for umpire's call.

Posted by Leggie on (July 16, 2013, 11:10 GMT)

Putting the onus back on the batsman will not work. Batsmen edge or glove *because* they're beaten by the ball - which in turn makes them not realize what went right or what went wrong. It will be safe to consider that "batsman might know it" and not "batsman *will* know it". All these discussions on DRS have gained momentum because of Broad not walking and Trott's lbw wrongly given. One was an umpring error and the other a manual error. Both are human errors and as long we have humans playing cricket, there will be these errors - whatever the rules may be. Having said that though.., I would like to see one change to the DRS implementation. In a review of a 50-50 decision, where the umpires verdict stays, the "challenging team" gets to keep their review and not lose it. This combined with technology improvements is what we need. There is no need to hand it over completely to the umpire or leave it to the batsman. We just need to make minor changes & move on.

Posted by bucks032 on (July 16, 2013, 11:10 GMT)

I have a really easy solution... How about if the ball is just clipping the stumps on LBW reviews then it is given out. You don't have to hit the middle of the stumps to be bowled so why do you for an lbw?

Posted by satishchandar on (July 16, 2013, 11:09 GMT)

My views.. Stick with the 2 reviews but frame a clean deadlines on how the umpires should give the decision.. All the umpires should follow same set of rules.. Now lets look at the other options available.. 1. Every decision reviewed - Takes hell lots of time to complete a game.. 2. Umpires go upstairs to review when not sure.. How can the umpire differentiate between sure and not sure.. What if the sure decision made by umpire is flawed for one team and key batsman is saved for the opponent due to the review.. Again will result in more conflicts..

As far as i see, the review should be made by the batsman as he is the one who should be the first one to know whether he nicked or not.. Let the risk be with the batsman.. And the same with the bowler/fielding team as they should understand to use the review ONLY when they are clear that it is worth it.. You don't give too many lifelines to anyone.. Even if they lose one in hope, the next one MUST be used for howler tactically..

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 11:05 GMT)

I think there should be unlimited DRS referral system. But the first 2 will be free to use nd the rest if is unsuccessful should reward the batting team with 5 or decent amount of runs which will make the feolding captain think twice before asking for DRS

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 11:04 GMT)

The rate at which 'howlers' are being made by umpires, it's better to have unlimited challenges

Posted by Inspector_Clouseau on (July 16, 2013, 11:01 GMT)

@ras, I agree with you. I think ppl are over-complicating things by giving reviews to on-field umpires as well. No one from the field should review anything except the umpires for run outs, ball carry and such just the way they do right now. Employ extra analysts to work with the 3rd ump to review every decision as the play goes on. It is their job to spot a mistake and press for overturning.

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 10:53 GMT)

Except for run out and stumping decisions there shouldn't be any umpire reviews. And DRS system is only to avoid howlers, if players cant get it right its their mistake. The current system is good and doesn't require any modification .

Posted by cozens on (July 16, 2013, 10:47 GMT)

Its like eveything, people (teams) need time to practice using something new. Austrailia have just played India, where DRS was not used, so they are out of practice. Come the return series in Austrailia this year they will be back up to speed and I am sure that you will see both teams using the DRS in the way it was meant.

Posted by Alexk400 on (July 16, 2013, 10:39 GMT)

Why don't you people read my comments?. I think DRS implementation is flawed. Everything should stay with umpire except howlers should be addressed by 3rd umpire. My view is this 3rd umpire may not be alert all the time. So i believe people with vested interest appeal. But appealing is used as a strategy to gain advantage instead of getting decision correct. So basically teams can have buzzer to request 3rd umpire to have look. The stumps can glow red when 3rd umpire start reviewing so spectators also aware. Better than translating to field umpire and he is stopping the game. Both can be done simultaneously. Instad of appeal just buzzer which request 3rd umpire take a look to see if there is possibility of mistake. :) This buzzer effect only 3rd umpire and one will know how many times its requested. I think Appeal system is flawed because limitation of appeal and delaying game too much if you allow too many appeal. DRS can be easily fixed , we need competent smart people

Posted by gavbergin on (July 16, 2013, 10:33 GMT)

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the decisions given or not by DRS, I find it completely ruins the flow of the game. What was a fantastic first Test was ended with a distinct feeling of anti-climax when the winning wicket taken was reviewed. Just as with the earlier review of Siddle's hattrick ball, the natural drama of the moment was destroyed by the pause for the technology's final decision. The fairest way would be to go back to the Umpire's decision being final. P.S. The reason so many found Broad's standing of his ground so objectionable is his similarity in so many ways to a Premier League footballer. The attitude he displays every time he has an unsuccessful appeal, or is given out, is so distasteful. I believe this is the cause of the uproar on friday.

Posted by lthornte on (July 16, 2013, 10:21 GMT)

@Scritty it's pretty harsh to compare the Agar and Broad dismissals and to say they balanced out, Agar's was borderline 'mm' in it i don't think you could conclusively say that it was out, and at that point in time were any English supporters complaining afterwards? Broad's on the other hand was obviously out and everyone knew it, it was at a crucial part of the innings for both teams and that non decision has had the most lasting effects post match then any other of the contentious decisions

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (July 16, 2013, 10:20 GMT)

Posted by Kiran C Nalawade on (July 16, 2013, 8:32 GMT)

Keep everything about the DRS as it is. Just make sure that No review is lost if it there is an "Umpire's Call".

Totally Agree with Kiran. DRS should stay and I think it adds to the game by making it more intriguing for the fans and most importantly - we all hate blatant poor decisions and it eradicates howlers.

Posted by ras on (July 16, 2013, 10:17 GMT)

Rather than giving reviews to on-filed umpires, give TV umpire the right to interfere any decision which he thinks is wrong. ICC can also appoint a group of assistants to the TV umpire. These people will review each and every ball and immediately halt play by a buzzer or something ,if they find any anomaly in the decision. So nobody is burdened in taking the call, on-field umps or the players. These assistants can be assigned one task each, like one will constantly check no-balls, other will see hot-spot, one more will see hawk-eye & so on.

Posted by nzcricket174 on (July 16, 2013, 10:12 GMT)

They should make it a coach's review. The coach can press a button which will alert the 3rd umpire they want a review.

Posted by py0alb on (July 16, 2013, 10:11 GMT)

the Trott decision was human error, which really isn't the fault of the system. Hopefully it will prove a one-off.

The Broad non-dismissal was the fault of Clarke for abusing the system. He got everything he deserved. Again, the system was fully vindicated.

Posted by Firenze317 on (July 16, 2013, 10:03 GMT)

Completely agree with the author's stance on Broad. I ALSO agree with his other stance that for things to change, batsmen need to be held to the same moral codes as bowlers and fielders. Just ignore DRS for a moment and hold all players equally accountable! It's idealistic, but why not?!

Posted by EnglishCricket on (July 16, 2013, 10:01 GMT)

I don't understand the fuss. DRS should only be used for howlers. Australia have only themselves to blame for misusing it. They wasted their silly reviews before the Broad saga and had they kept it instead of wasting it early on then not only we wouldn't be in this mess but Australia would've gotten the win they wanted. But it just shows how much of a difference 1 review can make for a particular team.

Posted by Capitalist on (July 16, 2013, 9:26 GMT)

Chuck the DRS out, its animation for kids. Go India

Posted by scritty on (July 16, 2013, 9:20 GMT)

Broad was given not out and had already scored most of his runs (37 out of 65). Agar was on 6 and scored another 92 when wrongly given not out for a clear stumping. Without that partnership there would have been no 5th day - and not much of a 4th. England would have had likely a much larger margin of victory. Trott was given out for a total travesty of the rules where the 3rd umpire overturned the principles of DRS use for some inexplicable reason and Root was also not out. Yet all we hear about is how poor old Australia were robbed because of Broad. How one sided is this nonsense. In India Cooke ws given out wrongly FIVE TIMES 3 in tests 2 in ODI;s 4 of them as clear as a day. Our most consistent batsman robbed of his wicket over and over again. England have had far the worse of decisions both DRS and none DRS matches in the last 12 months.

Posted by Green_and_Gold on (July 16, 2013, 9:05 GMT)

We want correct decisions being made. In the broad example we could see quite quickly and without doubt that he hit the ball but the current system allows the game to continue. I like the concept of technology helping to get decisions correct but it needs work. The 3rd umpire should be able to step in if there is quick evidence that the on field umpire made a mistake. This should be available for the whole match and it wouldnt be a referral system but just good communications between the men making decisions.

Posted by Romanticstud on (July 16, 2013, 9:04 GMT)

I was told honesty is the best policy ... If you edge the ball you should walk ... If you drop a catch you should indicate it ... If you catch the ball after the bounce likewise ... In the past I have seen batsmen stand their ground after edging it and the umpire has stood still just for the batsman to score a mountain of runs that should never have been ... @akash_23 I agree with you except that a sportsman should by and large let the umpire's decision be and walk off ... It is just like a soccer game where a guy was clearly on-side and the linesman's flag gets put up, for a goal to be disallowed, when clearly there was a mistake ... Umpires are also human ...

Posted by ooper_cut on (July 16, 2013, 8:50 GMT)

The only fair recourse I see would be to involve and empower the 3rd umpire more. When the on field umpire has made a howler, 3rd Ump should be given the power to overturn the decision on his own after watching replays, hotspot, hawkeye etc. He could signal his intention of a review by conveying it to the on field umpire over the wireless.

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 8:50 GMT)

A good article. The effectiveness of DRS can be improved in many ways as has been highlighted by the author. One thing that can be done immediately is bringing in consistency. For a ball clipping the leg stump, one can be adjudged out or not out based on the umpire's call, which might seem unfair since for the same thing one batsman is getting a different deal from the other. What can be done is as Glenn McGrath tweeted (if I am not wrong): give it out only if more than 50% of the ball is hitting the wickets irresepective of the umpire's call.

Posted by applethief on (July 16, 2013, 8:44 GMT)

Why aren't umpires using the review system to their advantage? It's high time to dispense with the convention of giving the benefit of the doubt to the batsman. If an umpire's not sure, give the call against the side with more reviews. If he's made a howler, a DRS review will show it. The umpires will have more egg on their faces, but at least more correct decisions will be reached. And it won't be long before administrators see that the umpires have unofficially taken control of the DRS this way, and eventually legislate for them to have full ownership, as they should have had in the first place for all edges

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 8:32 GMT)

Keep everything about the DRS as it is. Just make sure that No review is lost if it there is an "Umpire's Call".

Posted by akhilhp on (July 16, 2013, 7:36 GMT)

I think this article is echoing my thoughts. Very nicely put forward the points to be considered by ICC.

Posted by grahamr on (July 16, 2013, 7:32 GMT)

DRS is an inescapable part of the modern game, but don't forget that honesty is one of its defining aspects. Whether it's called morality, ethics, perhaps "the spirit of the game", the inherent honesty of all players is one of the cornerstones of the sport. There's even a saying in the English language "That's not cricket", meaning that somebody is behaving in an unsporting manner.

Professionalism can never be equated with dishonesty - and it doesn't either mean "winning at all costs". It actually means the opposite. International cricketers are paid to represent their sport and their countries, they are role models for many people (not only youngsters). Watched by millions, high stakes, they could resort to the theatrics that are commonplace in professional football - or they could hold themselves to the standards set by players like Sachin Tendulkar. Integrity is more important than winning (or making 100 centuries). More Tendulkar, less Maradonna!

Posted by RaadQ on (July 16, 2013, 7:06 GMT)

How about this: provide ONE review per inning per side, for the purposes of eliminating howlers, not to sneak a wicket in like clarke's case. If the review is left towards the end of an innings, the captains should use it tactically by all means (like Cook did against Haddin). This will force captains like Clarke who try to use the DRS as a tool to improve the team's performance rather than to overturn howlers to use it for the purpose it is built. If you DONT use it properly, you dont deserve it. This will also reduce the time wasted on these "chance" reviews. If umpires are reviewing every single decision, that will just KILL TEST CRICKET MORE!

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 6:56 GMT)

Dear Mr. Sambit Bal. I usually like your pieces. But this is both typical and unrealistic. You're talking about one lost moment at the end of the match. Honestly has a price. It risks losing sheer aggression and competitiveness. I don't like that trade off.

As for DRS, the problem is people expect it to be perfect. It can only improve the situation, not solve it altogether. Its a fact - unless we are ready to accept outrageously slow over rates, there will always be wrong decisions. DRS is the best compromise we have at the moment.

Posted by shantiratnamaj on (July 16, 2013, 6:29 GMT)

I think the DRS concept is wrong - currently if u make 2 Successful DRS reviews you get another 2 reviews FOC - actually it shd be the other way around - to improve the game a team shd get a" minimum of 2 benefits" out of DRS - AND why don't UMPIRES use DRS? They shd be given 15 seconds to think further on their original decision and call for DRS!

Posted by peter.suen on (July 16, 2013, 6:28 GMT)

It's ridiculous to condemn Broad. Most people don't walk when they've edged, and instead choose to wait for umpire's decision.

I disagree people saying you need more reviews. I think you should only get 1 review but you don't lose any for an "umpire's call".

Difference between LBW and an edge is there is nothing predictive about an edge. Audio + Hotspot should be enough to determine if a player has edged it. (or hit the pad/ground etc). A thin edge may not show up, but that is more the shortcoming of the technology. Haddin's dismissal, while not a howler, is correctly reversed as there are substantial evidence that there was an edge.

Sambit's concept is good, but will have implementation difficulties.

@hulk777, I think 5 run penalty is too small. I would happily waste 3 or 4 if it gets me 1 decision reversed.

By the way, why can't we hear what 3rd umpire is saying to on-field umpire? Be good to hear his train of thoughts. I think we can hear it with NRL.

Posted by Akash_23 on (July 16, 2013, 6:20 GMT)

Demanding Honesty?? Tell me about this scenario: 'The batting team has no reviews left, the batsman is given out, but he knows very well that he is not out.' Can he be honest and refuse to leave the crease due to the umpire's mistake? The answer is obvious.. NO. There you would say he should have respected the umpire's decision and walked. Here you say he should be honest and walk. This is clear ambiguity. Moreover, honesty becomes a subjective term in case of very close calls, where sometimes even the batsman doesn't know wheter he is guilty or not.

Posted by santoshjohnsamuel on (July 16, 2013, 6:01 GMT)

Much as i do not like the fact that there is far too much reliance on technology to sort out on-field issues, i realise one can't be too hard-nosed about it. I'm okay with Hotspot and DRS, except for LBW decisions, which should be the umpire's prerogative; however, a batsman should be allowed to ask for a review if he believes there is an inside edge. As for Board's non-walking: from a spectator's and cricket lover's point of view, it's inexcusable, no matter the argument that the Aussies would have done the same or that this is a professional game. So too is the practice of blind-sided fieldsmen appealing for LBWs and bowlers and wicketkeepers appealing for catches that aren't.

Posted by Cricket_Fan_And_Analyst on (July 16, 2013, 5:49 GMT)

In fact , I would suggest the reverse. Don't penalize the fielder if they appeal on a bump catch. There is an umpire, leg umpire , third umpire and DRS - let them decide. The problem with Sambit's solution is that a line can't be drawn - how do you define if a batsman knows if has edged or not. Now you can bring the same argument for bowler and wicket keeper appealing for a leg before. Most of the times bowlers know that it's not out - the ball was going down the leg or hit the batsman outside off . Still they appeal . How different is that from a fielder taking appealing for a catch that has touched ground ? Why different moral codes ?

Posted by atypeofmagic on (July 16, 2013, 5:47 GMT)

@hulk777: For my money, that's probably the best suggestion on DRS I have heard yet.

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 5:40 GMT)

There is a bit confusion whenever the decision goes with umpire call. Suppose ball hit the batsman outside the off stumps and then according to hawk eye if the ball just kisses the stumps, then review will go with on field Umpire call. So how could a batsman be out and not out on the same ball. Look the case Shane Watson in the second innings. He took the review and was given out. Had on field umpire given him not out and Cook had taken the review then Shane would have been benefitted because in that case review goes with umpire's call..

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 5:38 GMT)

In tennis, the two players who are playing on court trust each other so much that they ask the other,most of the times to decide whether to challenge a line call or not.Why can't that be possible in CRICKET.If the batsman knows that he has nicked it and the catch is clean,he must walk.But if the batsman,just like a fielder who is expected to inform the umpire when he is doubtful of the catch,didn't pick a nick, he must must inform the umpire that he is doubtful of it,in that case the umpire will go to the TV umpire for the use of technology to decide the fate of the batsman(by not using DRS reviews,but just like how runout decisions are consulted with the TV umpire).In that way a doubtful decision will be handled by the on-field umpire in consultation with third umpire without using up DRS reviews and the wrong decisions made by the on-field umpires can be handled by the DRS reviews available to the players.Moral policing should be applied not only to fielders but also to the batsmen.

Posted by Smithie on (July 16, 2013, 5:23 GMT)

A plan to improve cricket:

1- all decision making technology for ALL ICC internationals become the direct responsibility of the ICC Elite Umpiring panel

2- by ensuring the BCCI complies with 1 above the scope opens for the commercial sponsorship rights to the technology being sold by the ICC and hence assist its financing ie The Emirates ( or Etihad) Review System

3- Third Umpire has unlimited rights to review on field decisions

4- Marginal reviews using Umpire's Call do not result in loss of review if incorrect.

With these parameters cricket will be greatly improved and the objective of maximising correct umpiring decisions will result.

Posted by Wacco on (July 16, 2013, 5:12 GMT)

Sambit, your expectation is too much. In this era of match fixing, you demand honesty in decision making…god bless you! You cannot hide blatant incompetency. The umpire was not just good enough. Why you think the replays in tennis, NFL (US), etc works fine and people move-on with the decisions? Competant game-handler and technology make a sport worth watching!

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 5:08 GMT)

clark must refine himself 1st. because whole world knows wat he did during india vs australia tour. they were losing anyway, kumble was bowling and clark was caught behind in slip directly though he stood at his place and didnt move. thank god that umpire gave him out because DRS wasn't there at that time. in the same series, in a inning, steve bucknor gave not out to symonds three consecutive times. again same series and clark took a clear catch in slip but he rolled over and the same time the ball touched the gournd. umpire was in doubt but ponting ordered umpire to give batsman out so did umpire. it was the most controversial test series after ashes series in australia a long time ago. well australia should learn 1st and then talk about morality and spirit of game 1st.

Posted by Draconarius on (July 16, 2013, 5:07 GMT)

The problem with Chappel's suggestion is that you've got to define "howler" for it to work. LBWs are easy enough; if there's a green or red light anywhere, reverse the decision. But what about edges? Does the hotspot have to be of a certain size? Does the sound have to be a given number of decibels? Does there need to be a given distance between bat and ball? So again we'll have ambiguity. As has been said, leaving it in control of the umpires to refer when they are unsure will mean that there will be times they're convinced, but are still wrong. Any way you do this will allow the occasional howler to sneak through, it's just a matter of minimizing them and the damage to the flow of the game. All things considered, I think that either the umpires in the middle should have control, and should be taught to be unafraid of using it, or the players should retain control BUT they shouldn't lose a review based on an Umpire's Call LBW. If the tech isn't sure, you can't expect the player to be.

Posted by Moseley76 on (July 16, 2013, 4:37 GMT)

Seriously Sambit: "Jonathan Trott was adjudged leg-before, when he shouldn't have been". Didn't you see the results from Snicko? Nothing registered until the ball hit his pad. Regardless of whether the side camera was available or not, this fact appears to have been ignored. Trott didn't touch the ball and the correct decision was made. Trott is just having a pout because he got an absolute jaffer first up.

Posted by venkatesh018 on (July 16, 2013, 4:37 GMT)

There should be min. 3 reviews. Also, a team using a review shouldn't lose the review if the decision is very close and goes according to the Umpire's call. This will solve most of the ills currently shackling DRS.

Posted by prasanna1157 on (July 16, 2013, 4:27 GMT)

Ian Chappell hasn't said that the on-field umpires should ask for reviews. He has said that the umpires should make decisions by themselves, and then only if it's a howler the 3rd umpire should intervene and reverse it. I don't know how people can quote a brilliant suggestion wrongly.

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 4:11 GMT)

There are arguments for and against DRS as Sambit quite rightly points out. The only defining and concrete message from that is that no system ia going to be perfect. What is important then is how the system is used since regardless of how it is setup... the technology is still the same... which means regardless who is calling for its use it should still deliver a largely correct verdict. This is a case of the user and their proficiency of use. Australia have used the system poorly time and time again, whilst numerous opposition teams (such as Eng in the same match) have been more careful and measured in its use yielding more decisions overturned. Had Clarke been more restrained and used the reviews for what they were intended we would not be having this debate. My point is whatever system is in place its the users responsibility to use it the best way.

Posted by rangaram on (July 16, 2013, 4:06 GMT)

IMHO Based on all the discussions I believe Broad should be suspended because what he did is against spirit of the game. He knew he has edged. On a LBW or marginal nicks can be exception. I think this will reduce the need for excessive use of DRS.

Posted by   on (July 16, 2013, 4:01 GMT)

As Ian Chappell mentioned in his column, the DRS should be with the umpire. This along with the existing 2 reviews with the teams. If the umpire is not sure, I am still not sure why he wouldn't consult the 3rd ump. After all, wasting 5 minutes is better than a howler affecting the match result. In case of dubious decisions when the teams have lost all the reviews, let the teams make a plea to the umpire. If the umpire is 100%sure, the decision stands. If not, the teams ask him to refer. If the umpire is proved incorrect, let him get a fine/or a increment in his mistake counter. If he makes 3 mistakes, he gets a monetary fine/ban. It is time to make everyone answerable. You cannot let howlers determine the outcome of the game. This is perhaps one reason why Sachin and MSD arent in favor of DRS right now.

Posted by hulk777 on (July 16, 2013, 3:22 GMT)

I think having only 2 DRS review is not good. Instead have 2 free reviews, afterwards the team is penalized 5 runs for every review they lose, by that way teams will still use it carefully and they are always given a chance to review.

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

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