England v Australia, 3rd Investec Test, Old Trafford, 1st day

DRS breaking spirits of players and fans

Without the DRS, Usman Khawaja would still have been out, the decision accepted as on-field mistake, but getting it wrong with the assistance of replays cannot be tolerated.

Brydon Coverdale at Old Trafford

August 1, 2013

Comments: 137 | Text size: A | A

Usman Khawaja had to depart when the TV umpire could not find conclusive evidence to overturn a caught behind, England v Australia, 3rd Investec Test, Old Trafford, 1st day, August 1, 2013
Usman Khawaja was less-than-pleased with the DRS verdict of his dismissal © Getty Images

In the third umpire's room at Old Trafford, Kumar Dharmasena got it wrong on Usman Khawaja's dismissal. In a van in the car park, Nigel Llong might have got it right. Llong is the unofficial official at the Manchester Test, trialling a new system that puts replays at his fingertips. While Dharmasena asked Sky Sports producers to cue up video and audio, Llong was sequestered away from the action with a wall of replay screens at his immediate disposal.

If he wanted a side-on view, he could have it. If he wanted a rear angle, he could play that himself. Dharmasena's deliberation took aeons; with quick judgement, Llong's process might have been much shorter, though his decisions carried no weight. "Might" is the key caveat. He might have been quicker, he might have overturned Tony Hill's decision. He might have had audio that synched with a view that showed Khawaja's bat brushing his back leg.

Or he might not. More replays will help with some reviews, but the real answer to the ongoing DRS debacles is better interpretation of what the third umpire already has. Dharmasena saw what every television viewer watching the match around the world saw: nothing on Hot Spot, no apparent deviation. A noise, yes, but isolating the source of sounds is maddeningly difficult.

Hot Spot is not infallible, of course. It can detect edges but not misses, and very faint tickles can fail to show up. The DRS has a built-in benefit of the doubt that goes not to the batsman but to the on-field call. But the combination of absent factors should have led Dharmasena to be guided by the raw vision, which seemed to suggest the ball passed Khawaja's bat untouched. It is possible to see how Dharmasena reached his conclusion, but impossible to accept that this is the best cricket can offer.

It's not the first time, either. At Trent Bridge, Marais Erasmus overturned a not-out lbw decision against Jonathan Trott despite the raw vision seeming to show an inside edge. These mistakes are not the fault of technology but of the men using it. The ICC knows the DRS is leaving players, viewers and administrators bewildered. Cricket Australia even went so far as to seek an explanation from the ICC for Khawaja's dismissal.

So what is the answer? Handing the DRS over exclusively to the umpires might seem like a good idea but it creates a whole new set of issues. Just look at how many obviously legal deliveries Dharmasena asked to be checked in the first two Tests to see if the bowler had overstepped. Imagine if he had the ability to ask the third umpire for help on lbws and edges. There would be more reviews than in Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide.

Umpiring flashpoints

  • Ashton Agar, Trent Bridge: Agar, a 19-year-old debutant, appeared stumped on 6 but third umpire Marais Erasmus ruled in his favour and he went on to make 98 - the highest score by a Test match No 11.
  • Jonathan Trott, Trent Bridge: Trott's second innings golden duck was fraught with controversy. He was given not out by on-field umpire Aleem Dar, but Erasmus, the third umpire, adjudged him lbw even though HotSpot was unavailable because of operational error.
  • Stuart Broad, Trent Bridge: Broad stood his ground after a thick edge against the left-arm spinner, Agar, went off the keeper's gloves to Michael Clarke at slip only for Dar to rule not out. As Australia had used up all their reviews, they had to suffer it.
  • Ian Bell, Lord's: Bell was on 3 when Steven Smith claimed a low catch at gully. The on-field umpires passed the decision onto third umpire Tony Hill and because of the foreshortening caused by a long lens, he controversially ruled in the batsman's favour.
  • Usman Khawaja, Old Trafford: Khawaja reviewed when he was given out for a single by Hill, the on-field umpire, caught behind off Swann. DRS revealed nothing to justify Hill's decision, yet the third umpire, Kumar Dharmasena, deemed the evidence "inconclusive".
  • Steven Smith, Old Trafford: Having survived two England reviews, Smith was plumb lbw on 24 to Broad only for Hill to rule not out. Now it was England's turn to be frustrated, having used both their reviews.

Giving the third umpire carte blanche to step in if he has seen a clear error is also unworkable. That was demonstrated when Cricket Australia trialled such a system during last year's Ryobi Cup. Not only was the overturning of decisions inconsistent but it led to actions from players that, according to the Queensland wicketkeeper Chris Hartley, bordered on dissent.

"Umpires are placed under undue pressure by players who try to persuade them to have a second look," Hartley wrote during the season. "The issue here is obvious. At present, the third umpire is coaxed into reviewing a decision by the players' reaction. Players, as they always have and always will, use gamesmanship. But what is happening at the moment is a case of players hanging around after being dismissed, which is technically bordering on dissent."

Test cricket doesn't need that. Perhaps there is another answer. Pilots fly planes. Air-traffic controllers use technology to help them. Pilots and air-traffic controllers are not interchangeable. Khawaja knows this, for he is a qualified pilot. If his cricket career fails he might fly the Brisbane to Melbourne route one day, but he won't sit in the tower interpreting blips on radar the next.

As Khawaja trudged off on the first afternoon at Old Trafford, shaking his head with disbelief, he probably wasn't thinking of planes or flight paths. But he might have had screens and technology on his mind. He might have been wondering at what kind of garbled radio communication brought his downfall. Of course, TV umpires and on-field officials do not hold people's lives in their hands. But the principle is the same: different jobs using different tools require different experts.

Over the past three weeks, Dharmasena has stood in the middle of a buzzing Trent Bridge and Lord's for nine days, concentrating on 4,471 deliveries. That means inspecting the crease for no-balls, listening for edges, watching for deviation, judging lbw trajectories, counting deliveries. It means doing all of these things in real time and in person. As the third umpire, he is now relying not on his view but that of a camera, and his interpretation of technology.

Training and employing a whole new species of match official, the specialist TV umpire, is an option the ICC must strongly consider. They would be men who do not stand in the middle but understand the technology and its limitations, and can use it to help the on-field umpires. If that doesn't work, there's always Nigel Llong in a van. Perhaps the system he is trialling will improve the DRS.

Of course, scrapping the DRS entirely would also work. There can no longer be any concern about umpires looking silly when they make a mistake that is shown on TV to be incorrect. Even with the assistance of technology they are looking foolish.

More importantly, while the DRS might not be broken, its implementation is breaking the spirits of players and fans. Without the DRS, Khawaja would still have been out, caught Prior bowled Swann. Everyone would have accepted it as an on-field mistake, one of those errors that umpires have made for 135 years. But getting it wrong with the assistance of replays cannot be tolerated.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 16:03 GMT)

DRS is not something new to cricket we are use similar technique to make decision in run out calls. That worked perfectly why not here. Now is the time to train new breed of 3rd umpires in DRS to use it wisely to give decisions.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 13:55 GMT)

I dont think there is anything wrong with technology. Technology is wires and instruments aimed at giving assistance in reaching towards the most accurate decision. Its how that technology is used that should questioned. With the evidence that Kumar dharmasena had at his disposal it was clearly not out and the decision should have been overturned as their was no nick on hot spot and the ball was miles away from Khwaja's bat. How can you persist with the onfield umpire's decision after such clear evidence is mesmerising.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 13:49 GMT)

the simplest solution is to change the concept of review of umpire's call to 3rd umpire decision! just like run outs n stump outs, the 3rd umpire should solely see the evidence n take calll himself & not review the original decison n sendit back to the onfield umpire. it should be a fresh decision without onfield consultations!

Posted by parthaacs on (August 2, 2013, 13:26 GMT)

what is the point of spending millions and still getting the decisions wrong? I would rather save those millions and take the odd bad decisions. Those millions can be spent on improving the infrastructure and giving cheaper tickets to fans to encourage more of them to the grounds

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 13:26 GMT)

its not the technology, it is to eliminate human error... these are the people who are operating it, they are to be blamed.

Posted by naudurivsm on (August 2, 2013, 13:06 GMT)

BCCI and Indians in general have reservations against technology that is not full proof. Why spend money on technology that does not provide the results when we want it.

But in Khwajs case it is neither the technology nor DRS fault It is purely third umpire's fault. They should know what should be the judgement when their detailed review is in-conclusive. But Mr. Dharmasena went off the way in suggesting the on-field umpire that the batsman was out.

I am sure the information that the review was in-conclusive or there was no evidence that there was a knick WAS NOT conveyed to on-field umpires and they happily up-held there original decision.

In this case at least the UMPIRES messed it up. The Blame should be on both On-field and Third Umpires. SAD DAY for Cricket.

Posted by Sigismund on (August 2, 2013, 12:49 GMT)

Further to my earlier comment, Hawkeye seems to have caused almost everyone to completely misunderstand the LBW law. LBW only exists as a mode of dismissal to prevent a stalemate situation, where the batsman could simply stand in front of his stumps. There are fair and unfair ways of using your legs to defend your stumps. A batsman who is thoroughly beaten by the bowler, and would undoubtedly have lost his wicket had his body not got in the way, should be dismissed on appeal by the umpire. Similarly, the pitched-outside-leg condidtion exists to prevent a game-stifling line of attack by bowlers. It was never intended to be a technicality; if projections show that the ball would have clipped the bails or the outside edge of leg stump, then it is NOT a mistake by the umpire to have ruled not out. In fact, to have ruled the batsman out would have been a brave decision, perhaps even a poor one. Again, if everyone realised this misconception about the laws, the whole debate would disappear.

Posted by landl47 on (August 2, 2013, 12:37 GMT)

@heathrf1974: I live in the US. There is no equivalent situation in which technology can be used in baseball. A swing and a miss is the same as a swing and a nick in almost all cases. There is no such thing as LBW, if the pitcher hits the batsman he walks to first base.

The only situation in which technology could be used is when the umpire calls a strike and it is out of the strike zone or vice versa. However, because the game is so biased towards pitchers, if that were an issue almost every call would have to be reviewed and games would take forever.

Where, surprisingly, technology could be used and isn't is in judging whether the runner is in or out at each base. Blown calls are the subject of much debate; cricket has the better system there.

In the NFL the teams are allowed a couple of challenges each half for specific events, so it's much the same as cricket.

Posted by Mutukisna on (August 2, 2013, 10:31 GMT)

To put it simply, the Umpires must be instructed that DRS stands for DECISION REVIEW SYSTEM and NOT Umpire Decision Review System!!! This was the reason for the incorrect decision made by Dharmasena not to overturn Tony Hill's decision on the Khawaja caught behind "dismissal". They should be reviewing the actual decision not the fact that whether there was enough evidence to overturn their colleague's onfield decision!

Posted by Nathan74 on (August 2, 2013, 10:26 GMT)

Are the Indians rights in their reservations about DRS. It increasingly seem so

Posted by atuljain1969 on (August 2, 2013, 10:03 GMT)

I fail to understand why every body is after DRS as if it is a demon. Technology is there to assist human beings in taking a decision and not deciding on its own.

If while using DRS , 3rd umpire or onfield umpire is convinced that DRS is not helping him make any better decision, then original decision should prevail.

The demand of Ian chapell, that Umpires should be in hands of Umpires and not players for referral will creat more problems, because every time a decision is made or not made by the onfield umpire, it will go to 3rd umpire and game will be continously disturbed. Like in tennis no. of referalls should be limited, so that every decision is not referred to DRS.

In effect there will no need for onfield umpire anymore in case every decision goes to DRS.

Posted by JimDavis on (August 2, 2013, 9:59 GMT)

About time someone has raised the subject of specialist TV umpires in a public cricket forum. It's been so bleeding obvious for quite a while now. I'm sure if you ask the current crop of officials, most would rather be out in the middle anyway.

"It is possible to see how Dharmasena reached his conclusion, but impossible to accept that this is the best cricket can offer. " - I like that line, it sums things up perfectly

Posted by sachin_vvsfan on (August 2, 2013, 9:54 GMT)

"Adulteration of technology with human thinking" This is What Dhoni said in that WC 2011 match against Eng when Bell (who himself started walking off) was called back.

DRS may not be 100% correct(no technology is) but the people that use are no better than that and hence the problem

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 9:44 GMT)

Why there is so much cry about DRS now. Australians should be fine with such howlers. When Dravid got out in similar fashion in Sydney, they were fine with it. When symonds didn't walk they were fine with it. When Clarke claimed a catch that was not they were fine with it. There was so much talk about BCCI's bulliness during those events. Now CA is asking explanation from ICC about Khwaja dismissal..is this not double standard?

Posted by Samdanh on (August 2, 2013, 9:40 GMT)

The problem is not with the system. It is with the rules framed around it. It will be better if they did the following reforms: 1. marginal calls on ball hitting top of bails/side of stumps/ outside leg stump-should be given out irrespective of on field decision. 2. marginal calls on ball pitching half on leg stump/point of impact of ball on pad in line with off stump etc should be out if hawk-eye projects ball hitting stumps.3. No evidence on hotspot, no visible deviation despite noise: should go in favour of batsmen. If this if these are followed consistently, DRS will become very useful. Countries like India will never agree until they lose a series or two due to wrong decisions impacting results.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 9:38 GMT)

I think nowdays Umpires have become blind, deaf and dumb..It was so clear on replays that Khwaja was not out.. And 3rd Umpire didn't overturn the decision though there were enough visible and audible evidences to overturn onfield umpires call..It was really pathetic..I think Umpires themselves don't have enough knowledge of the game and making hasty decisions..I beleive nowadays benefit of dobut is going to bowlers..Even in last games stumping decisions were also pathetic. I think umpires have downgraded themselves..I just can believe this..Ashes being such an important test series umpiring should be of top quality..But as I see it has been poorest quality umpiring till date..This entire series umpiring has been a disaster..

Posted by py0alb on (August 2, 2013, 9:28 GMT)

What I didn't realise was that it isn't actually the 3rd umpire who makes the decision to overturn the decision or not. He and the on-field umpire play a game of 20 questions, and then from the clues he has uncovered, the on-field umpire decides whether he wants to stick or twist. When he gets back into the pavilion at lunchtime, he can then find out whether he guessed right or wrong.

Posted by Sultan2007 on (August 2, 2013, 9:21 GMT)

In a run out/stumping review, assistance is generally sought by on field umpires. Hence, the TV umpire is in a position to review it on a "clean slate" basis and he may follow the long standing principle of "benefit to the batsman in event of doubt". In a review of an umpire's on field decision based on a player's challenge, it is the on field umpire's decision itself that is under challenge, therefore there is logic behind "the benefit of doubt going to the on field umpire" if TV replays are inconclusive. Sadly, in the case of Khawaja, the evidence was conclusive. Dharmasena must have been into his 3rd pint! With all the goings on in regard to DRS during this Ashes series, perhaps folks should have the graciousness to at least acknowledge the BCCI's long standing position on DRS. Get the technology and process right: then implement it. Bad technology and/or its incorrect use should never be allowed to impact outcomes. On field umpiring glitches are part of the game historically

Posted by Sarfin on (August 2, 2013, 9:20 GMT)

The only realistic solution is specialized tv umpires. Different things requires different expertise. TV umpiring is becoming equally important as on-field umpiring. You should give proper attention. We have wasted too much time debating whether DRS should be available or not. But the fact is, DRS is there to stay. Avoid unnecessary arguments and do what should be done to improve the use of technology.

Posted by India_boy on (August 2, 2013, 9:15 GMT)

Will Smith in I, Robot : "You know, somehow, I told you so just doesn't quite say it" , reminded of these lines after the DRS fiasco. Even the context is the same...Humans vs Robots!

Posted by Clyde on (August 2, 2013, 9:13 GMT)

It is ludicrous to have someone who is not on the field deciding whether a batsman is out. It is like this mania for focussing on the coach, who also is not on the field. Do we expect spectators to take it? Or are we planning special little stadia for watching replays and booths for watching fielding practice?

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 9:10 GMT)

Flawed technology that slows the game down and does not aid in getting the correct decision.

Give LBW/ catches back to umpires

Umpires only to use DRS on no-ball, run-out decisions

Posted by Devmanus on (August 2, 2013, 9:08 GMT)

"There is no reason for boards to pay the product development costs of a profit making organisation".

well said...

there is no reason for boards to pay the product development costss of a big profit making organisations at the expense of distroying fans faith, distroying players careers, distroying pure fun of cricket, distroying faith in onfield umpires... either make decisions with on field umpires and accept it or make decisions independently with validated and proven technology (which is still not available...).

Posted by uglyhunK on (August 2, 2013, 9:07 GMT)

If the hot spot so good, as some claim here, then it should indicate on the fly that there is no bat involved. It cannot, because there are cases where the ball brushed the edge and still hotspot could not detect. Neither the technology is comprehensive to let the umpire make a correct decision nor the rules, which are confusing at best.

Posted by Paul_JT on (August 2, 2013, 9:01 GMT)

Agree with the article that it is the role of the third umpire; their training, number of screens available and even specialists, that needs further consideration.

Another change would be to reduce the number of reviews to one, but not lost if Umpire's Call. Too often teams use a review tactically. It should only be used when the players have a high degree of confidence it will be overturned.

Other than Real Time Snicko, I don't believe more technology is the answer, merely better use by us humans!

Posted by brusselslion on (August 2, 2013, 8:51 GMT)

@Kapil Choudhary on (August 1, 2013, 21:02 GMT): Great post. Says it all.

@Belltower on (August 2, 2013, 0:40 GMT): You have my deepest sympathy. I didn't realise how anti-Australian the rest of the world was. The UN ought to look into this; it can't be right!

Posted by one-eyed-but-keepinitreal on (August 2, 2013, 8:51 GMT)

@Moutarde, sorry that is rubbish, there was a clear gap between bat and ball and that is clear evidence.

Posted by vswami on (August 2, 2013, 8:41 GMT)

@TheBigBoodha If you want to introduce technology at the highest level, test it at junior levels where it can cause less harm, iron out the kinks, prove to the world that it works and then introduce it in international test matches. Dont mess up test matches that people fly half way around the world to see, destroy careers of players, umpires and destroy cricket as a spectacle between two sets of world class cricket players. Test matches are not the environment and test players are not the guinea pigs to do product development and testing. BCCI has concistently objected not only to the accuracy of the technology itself but on variety of processes that accompany it which are poorly thought out and executed. There is no reason for boards to pay the product development costs of a profit making organisation.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 8:32 GMT)

It's a "Pandora's box"! Or, is it a malignant genie who refuse to go back to the bottle? As of now, either analogy won't be out of place. Give technology a "holiday" for a year.

Let the creators work on it further; and then bring it back. Meanwhile it is not a bad idea to conduct "Workshop" for ALL ICC panelled umpires, on (1) the correct use of technology, (2) development of a unanimously accepted protocol, when an appeal for review is made, and (3) decide who the final arbiter will be if there is disagreement among the officials.

Posted by Devmanus on (August 2, 2013, 8:21 GMT)

...and the sad part of it is that, we all are discussing these DRS issues now rather than enjoying the performance of the players...the real fun of cricket is vanishing due to necessary/unnesessary technology issues...we see only anger/dissappointment/frustrations in all comments

Posted by Devmanus on (August 2, 2013, 8:17 GMT)

someone said: "It is not the DRS technology that is at fault, but it is operator error". so let us know how to correct this operator error? please dont say now that its not your job to do that...

Posted by Devmanus on (August 2, 2013, 8:15 GMT)

@ PFEL- If you dont get the logic then please explain the logic of all ashes doubtful DRS decisions to the players on the other (wrong) side and convince them.. if they are fully convinced then please explain it to cricinfo readers...

Posted by ramli on (August 2, 2013, 8:14 GMT)

PFEL ... the logic is simple ... if game after game, glaring errors are made with technological aid, then the so-called technology is not working ... that is all ... then, why use it at all? If you still feel that it is the interpretation of technology is wrong by the so-called carefully chosen competent umpires, then put in place proper people and then introduce technology ... having an imperfect technology that cannot say yes or no and still relying on human interpretation is self-defeating DRS purpose itself

Posted by disco_bob on (August 2, 2013, 8:06 GMT)

The current problems are completely and totally brought upon by the original concerns about DRS, and that was that it would erode the authority of the umpires. With this in mind instead of common sense usage based on the current realities, artificial rules are being formed with the original intent of 'not eroding the umpires... er, authority? egos? self esteem? whatever it is, it ain't gonna work.

Rules change to reflect the times, hence bodyline changed the rules. Even orthodox religious rules get updated to reflect current technology. For heaven's sake surely we can accept that the umpires now have technology that was undreamed of by our original primate ancestors.

Back the technology to the millimetre. If a machine has bias then it's the same for everyone. If the technology says the ball is hitting the wicket then it's not a matter of 'how much ball'. Convert the real time footage and the line to graphics and let the computer decide if it hit or not.

Posted by milepost on (August 2, 2013, 8:04 GMT)

Brydon has it right here. I'd be happy to go back to the non-DRS times myself. However, we would be forever stuck in an in-between, a 'what if' we had DRS - much like when the commentators say 'well India if you had agreed to the DRS blah blah blah'..... Scrap it right now. Brydon is spot on when he says howlers with the use of technology are unacceptable. I've been following the social chat about the test series and most of it has been about the umpiring and DRS. Is that what the ICC and the boards want this series remembered for? I'm finding watching this series extremely frustrating rather than captivating or exciting. I don't think fans of either team would mind accepting fair decisions so we could focus on the cricket instead.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 7:51 GMT)

Don't say I didn't say so, because long ago I said it would only shift the borders of decision making and wouldn't stop the whining. The whining never stops, no matter what you do. Let's stop all nonsense and try to enjoy the cricket again.

Posted by Amit_13 on (August 2, 2013, 7:33 GMT)

Part 2:

Going from 90% accuracy to 95% accuracy with technology is a bit pointless. You'd still only get a first class distinction with honours!

Also 90% accurate does not mean one in 10 wickets is incorrectly given. It means umpires get most borderline decisions right and feel empowered to trust their eye. Numerically, it is still one in 10 wickets between 90 and 95. I have played enough to know that any part of the ball hitting the stumps knocks the bails off about a million times more often than it doesn't.

Human error is one umpire getting it wrong in real time in front of 30,000 screaming fans. Designing rules to protect the wrong decision is official stupidity! Dharmasena did it by the book! People have mentioned player's careers on the line but the umpires have their neck on the line too. We only have about 4 of them anyway! Why would one take up a profession of continuous scrutiny without the power to make a decision and a terminal decline in respect?

Posted by Amit_13 on (August 2, 2013, 7:19 GMT)

Does no one think that DRS is an invented problem? The officials in any sport are part of the drama that unfolds. Goal line technology in football and hawk eye in tennis are both used for clear cut decision making. There isn't an element of 'if the outside tenth of the ball lands on the line, its still a correct shot in tennis and a goal in footie.' There are "NO interpretations of the technology". Clear example in cricket being run outs and no balls.

There is still a cry for foul, offside and handball all decided ONLY by the officials and their word is final. And players grumble but respect the call.

I saw the worst sight in cricket recently and do not wish to see it again. An Ashes test, one of the best fightbacks ever, brought to an end by DRS when even the bowler didn't think there was an edge. Those 14 runs would have changed this cricket year and possibly Ashes history forever.

Players are loosing faith but umpires are loosing respect!!!

Posted by Mundrathy on (August 2, 2013, 7:16 GMT)

Guyz, BCCI opposing DRS seems to be right, its not that the decisions would have been different in the above mentioned scenarios, but the interpretation, protocols to be followed, are not defined properly, So I request the authorities to come up with certain set of rules for DRS so that these kind of issues does not come up again and again, Also I doubt how dependable is the Technology available right now.

Posted by GiantScrub on (August 2, 2013, 7:12 GMT)

The BCCI is still as painfully wrong as Dharmasena was blind with regards to DRS on this one. At least Dharmasena has the excuse that it was apparently his first day as TV umpire.

I wish the ICC would prioritize the development of a system that could accurately call front-foot no-balls in real time, similar to the beeper tech in tennis a few years back. It's not like umpires ever bother to call no-balls in test cricket unless you've overstepped by several inches, and it would free up the umpire's attention to concentrate on the end of the pitch that people actually care about. Currently umpires have about 1/2 to 2/3 of a second to refocus on the batsman after the release point, and if they could instead spend the runup focusing on the batsman and stumps it would be much easier to make the right calls.

Posted by Gupta.Ankur on (August 2, 2013, 6:55 GMT)

Looks the world is finally noticing something which the indians knew 5 years back.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 6:42 GMT)

What about Agar's decision in the second test being overturned?

Posted by PFEL on (August 2, 2013, 6:37 GMT)

Why do people keep claiming that BCCI was right to ignore DRS? It makes no sense. Without DRS the decision would still be wrong, and even more decisions would be wrong. I don't get the logic here.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 6:32 GMT)

Let's see what would have happened without DRS: Ashton Agar => Not out. Benefit of doubt Jonathan Trott => Not out Broad => Not out. Usman Khawaja => Out. So only Jonathan Trott decision was different with DRS. Every other wrong decision would have stayed as it is without DRS. Now in every single one of the above decision, DRS would have corrected the decision if the third umpire had not made an error. It is not the DRS technology that is at fault, but it is operator error. It is like saying that cell phones are not good as people can't figure out how to use them to make a phone call.

Posted by one-eyed-but-keepinitreal on (August 2, 2013, 6:18 GMT)

@Sagay-Ed, what those people with a nationalistic disregard for the DRS can't seem to understand is that with the DRS technology available to the third umpire the original decision should have been overturned. The problem was not with the DRS but with the human interpretation of what was unequivocal information.

Posted by ooper_cut on (August 2, 2013, 6:07 GMT)

Thats 1-0 to BCCI. :):):)

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 6:04 GMT)

Again, cannot believe that people are blaming DRS for the error and stupidity of the umpires. Why does Coverdale not talk about all the bad decisions that have been corrected because of DRS??

And to everybody saying India is right, no, India is not and we do not owe them any apology because the system is fine! India are just being bullies because they know that no umpire would dare decide against them after Bucknor's fate in 2008. Remember that anybody? There was no DRS back then!

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (August 2, 2013, 6:02 GMT)

India's attitude to DRS is head in the sand, Luddite stuff. The prime issue is not to do with the technology, but the people using it - and the protocols. Protocols can be refined easily enough, and people trained better.

Pray tell, how does the BCCI believe that we can work on - and improve - the system unless it is used in games - and learn from trial and error? We all know why the BCCI opposes DRS, and it has nothing to to do with the issues we are seeing here, nor are they interested in what is good for the future of the game. It's all a game of power and control for them.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 6:01 GMT)

As an Indian I feel proud. What the Australians see now, we saw it coming ages ago. Grow up guys, BCCI ain't the bully. At least sometimes!

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 5:53 GMT)

HOW TO OPERATE DRS: 1. Look at evidence 2. Ignore it 3. Take a long time to give impression you checked it 4. Give wrong decision

Posted by Sagay-Ed on (August 2, 2013, 5:43 GMT)

"Without the DRS, Khawaja would still have been out, caught Prior bowled Swann. Everyone would have accepted it as an on-field mistake, one of those errors that umpires have made for 135 years. But getting it wrong with the assistance of replays cannot be tolerated." - 100% correct. Well said. But the DRS supporters does not seem to understand this point.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 5:42 GMT)

hmmm...strange how everyone is now going against DRS and its usage since a the mighty ashes are involved. but these are the same things that BCCI has been saying for years. we never said that technology is bad, or that it shouldnt come in the game. all we said was whats written in this article - there shouldnt be blatant mistakes n goof ups after paying a small fortune for hotspot n the likes. this is the ashes, between two countries with fairly rich boards. imagine if this was zim vs bangladesh (no disrespect!) and they had paid $50,000 per match for hotspot, only to have as many ridiculous decisions as we have seen in this series...how do you think they would feel? so, all the compulsive BCCI bashers, please realize that the system is still majorly flawed. even if its jst the training of personnel...but a flaw is a flaw...and that too for such an expensive investment. think from a business perspective, i dnt think we r getting the returns on investment yet...far from it!

Posted by Siva_Bala75 on (August 2, 2013, 5:36 GMT)

It is clearly more difficult to be a third umpire than being on-field!

Posted by kunderan on (August 2, 2013, 5:33 GMT)

When Indian players raised doubts about the accuracy of DRS (this was ages ago) and insisted that the technology needed to be improved, then it was BCCI being a bully and using their financial clout. Of course, when it happens to the only two teams that matter, then the DRS is criticised every day without anyone wondering why, since it's a very natural thing to do! The antagonism towards India blinded most people's views about DRS and few even bothered to read what Tendulkar and Dhoni were saying about DRS!

It hurts when it happens to you doesn't it? I wonder how things would be if England had lost the first two matches instead of the other way?

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 5:22 GMT)

The article is correct in saying "..They would be men who do not stand in the middle but understand the technology and its limitations,..". The TV umpiring is different from on-filed umpiring. On-field umpiring requires different kind of specialization where as a TV umpire should have understanding of technology. An umpire should be trained and pass test for understanding DRS system before taking charge of TV umpire.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 5:22 GMT)

When India opposed DRS, everybody were angry at them and some of us laughed at them. Now we may understand their case better.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 5:13 GMT)

Actually the DRS should be used only and only if the on field umpires want it; it should not be used when the players on field want it. The way the DRS exists as on date, the on field umpires are under tremendous pressure. If the DRS is made an ally of the umpires on an unlimited basis, it will help the umpires take proper decisions and not make them look stupid. The third umpire in this case should be a person who understands technology and not necessary an umpire who also operates on the field in the next match.

Posted by grug76 on (August 2, 2013, 5:05 GMT)

The clear problem with DRS is the way in which it is being used... It was intended to overturn "howlers" yet from watching a lot of cricket since the DRS was introduced, I estimate around 90% of reviews are for marginal calls that could easily go either way... The other interesting thing to note is that Brad Haddin's dismissal in First Test is pretty much the only DRS decision in this series which has seen an incorrect umpiring decision overturned... most other DRS decisions have either been wrong or been "umpire's call" meaning the DRS has been pretty much useless... Yesterday the umpires made two incorrect decisions - Khawaja's and Steve Smith's LBW against Stuart Broad - neither were overturned... what is the point of the DRS??? Let's just go back to the umpire's making decisions and accepting them

Posted by Cricket_theBestGame on (August 2, 2013, 4:47 GMT)

you hit nail on the head. spot on !

"Without the DRS, Khawaja would still have been out, caught Prior bowled Swann. Everyone would have accepted it as an on-field mistake, one of those errors that umpires have made for 135 years. But getting it wrong with the assistance of replays cannot be tolerated. "

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 4:34 GMT)

Its not the DRS that is questionable but the TV umpires.The TV umpires are supposed to correct errors by the on-field umpires but what is realy happening is that the TV umpires just compounding the errors of the on- field umpires. This is not acceptable.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 4:31 GMT)

The DRS lobby now owes the entire cricket world and especially India a grovelling apology.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 4:05 GMT)

The TV umpire is supposed correct wrong decisions by the on- field umpires but it appears the TV umpires just compound the errors of the on- field umpires.The DRS is becoming a big joke.

Posted by landl47 on (August 2, 2013, 4:01 GMT)

I must admit, although I am a great supporter of using whatever technology is available to get the best possible accuracy in decisions, the 'umpire's call' part of the decision-making process is very frustrating. Swann had an appeal against Michael Clarke turned down on the 'umpire's call' ruling even though Clarke was right back on his stumps and very nearly half of the ball would have hit the wicket. I'm not whingeing about the decision, that's fair enough. However, losing a review over a call so close it needed a microscope to determine it was not out seems very harsh, especially since if Hill had ruled it 'out' and Clarke had referred it the decision would have been upheld. Incidentally, in the latter situation I would be equally critical of Australia losing a review.

A small adjustment to the rules would make it fairer for the players: if any decision is so close that it's the umpire's call as to which way it is decided, the reviewing team shall not lose a review.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 4:01 GMT)

Quite simply the third umpire got it wrong!

Posted by satishchandar on (August 2, 2013, 3:59 GMT)

Come on ICC.. Stop pressurising the boards to use the expensive technologies and pay more attention in regularising on how the decision should be made by the umpires.. Why are there so much inconsistencies in the decision making process? And, please allow a void review in case of "Umpires call" or for the marginal decisions.. If the review for a close decision will be overturned ONLY on howler, let the review be termed as used up ONLY for faulty one and not a ambiguous one.. ICC doesn't seem to have giving a damn to the teams concerns, BCCI'c concern or concern of common public on the inefficiency of the DRS and its inconsistent usage by the so called elite panel umpires.. Time for ICC to stand up..

Posted by SugarFoot on (August 2, 2013, 3:58 GMT)

@Kapil Choudhary - " If you are going to use DRS, then back it fully. Once a review is called, the third umpire should give an out/not out verdict IRRESPECTIVE of the on-field decision"

Exactly mate - well said.

I think Tony Hill will be looking for a new job after this series and Dharmasena might be looking over his shoulder as well. It has not be the best series for the umpires.

Posted by suriaero on (August 2, 2013, 3:55 GMT)

Hawk eye gives LBW, if the prediction is above the tolerance limits of the technology then give it in favor of the batsman irrespective of the on field call. With catches if there is no conclusive evidence, call it as a dead ball and continue. Don't remove the referral call from team. Even if the team has consumed all its reviews, they should be able to go for the review with 25 run penalty. Don't give Unlimited referral calls. Run penalty will be crucial in some cases and teams will think twice before they take it. We are referring whether the batsman is out or not. Not referring to 3rd umpire whether the umpire has taken a correct decision or not. So, On-field call does not have any meaning attached to it. It should be scrapped for efficient functioning of DRS.This will solve most of the issues.

Posted by 5wickethaul on (August 2, 2013, 3:55 GMT)

This series is something a big Challenge for the Players, supporting staff as well as for the Umpires I must say. As the new technologies are coming into the role, on field and off filed umpires are making number of mistakes. Umpires were not making such a silly mistakes when they had to make the decision on their own when the technology was not there. "The Sharp" David Shepherd, "Slow Death "Rudi Koertzen, "Thinking Brain" Steve Bucknor and "The Legend" Dickie Bird are among those who used the technology less and made the decision on their own fater using cricketing brain. Trott, Bell, Ashton are among those players who got something wrong in the series. Yesterday I saw one of the worst umpiring decision I have ever seen Usman Khawaja, baal was nowhere near the Bat and thn Smith..Clear Edge but Hotspot was not showing anything. Still there are some loopholes need to overcome.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 3:52 GMT)

Umpires should not be allowed to interpret the DRS system themselves, as interpretation of each umpires may be different among others. Hence ICC should set a standard for interpretation of DRS and all umpires should interpret the outcomes of the technologies based on such standard. It would meet consistency over the decision making.

Posted by VerbosityAbridged on (August 2, 2013, 3:43 GMT)

According to the laws of the game, can the fielding captain call a batsman back after he has been ruled out via DRS?

Posted by LesB4 on (August 2, 2013, 3:38 GMT)

As taken from the rules of cricket, benefit of the doubt should go to the batsmen.

LAW 27 (APPEALS) 6. Consultation by umpires

Each umpire shall answer appeals on matters within his own jurisdiction. If an umpire is doubtful about any point that the other umpire may have been in a better position to see, he shall consult the latter on this point of fact and shall then give the decision. If, after consultation, there is still doubt remaining, the decision shall be Not out.

........... Not real hard is it !!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 3:25 GMT)

its still better than emerson and hair by a longshot ..

Posted by crick_sucks on (August 2, 2013, 3:25 GMT)

Now more common sense is prevailing on the ROCW and see Indian POV to be the sensible one. If you want DRS then, 1) Give it equal status as the umpires, not to be used as an assistant. 2) Take it out of the players hands. Just like 3rd umpire, players can appeal for a run out but not ask for the 3rd umpire review directly. Let the umpire make the call. Once the on field umpire makes the call for review, he has to accept the DRS call. 3) The more serious matter, we must accept tracking the ball trajectory technology is not mature enough. So leave this out from DRS. With the above points considered I feel there will be more common ground between BCCI and ROCW and DRS might be universally accepted in the future.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 3:20 GMT)

Do not blame it on the system as much as its interpretation. DRS may need some fine tuning, but it is still the better alternative to an Umpire's howler cutting short a young Cricketer's career. LAGE RAHO!

Posted by svenkat02 on (August 2, 2013, 2:35 GMT)

Leave the DRS in the hands of the players and you have them using it badly. Leaving the DRS in the hands of the umpires brings a whole set of issues. Then what is the final verdict - JUST GET RID OF THE DRS!!! This is why the BCCI has been opposing it (of course based on the opinions of influential players like Sachin and Dhoni). And the BCCI is right!!

Posted by Andross on (August 2, 2013, 2:35 GMT)

Good article by Brydon Coverdale, a little sparse in the piloting department since most commercial pilots use as much technology as the Air traffic controllers do, but it covers the key points of the current DRS problems. I'd like to here more about this system that Nigel Llong is trialling, it sounds as if it could be just what DRS needs, leaving aside the Khawaja episode. But there is still the question of just how do you stop umpires remaining with the onfield umpires when it comes to those little edges, as one of the people who commented yesterday said, by definition there cannot be any evidence if the batsman misses it. How they deal with this needs to be closely looked at before the next Ashes series in Australia.

Posted by ram5160 on (August 2, 2013, 2:33 GMT)

There is no provision for OVER-RULING IN THE DRS. This was made clear by Kartikeya Date in the Cordon blog : /http://www.espncricinfo.com/blogs/content/story/654847.html. Also you have missed the dismissals of Hughes & Agar at Lord's where the Hotspot did not show anything so the umpires had to go on sound. Considering the inconsistencies in Hotspot, it would be best not to use it without snicko. The other controversial thing is first England & now Aus putting pressure on the umpires by going to the ICC for clarifications. This should be viewed as dissent. Unfortunately, the ICC has set a precedent by apologizing for an umpiring error to England. This is a dangerous road to walk down.

Posted by AllInFairNess on (August 2, 2013, 2:32 GMT)

Not sure whether is in place for DRS, when review is asked start with the notion NOT OUT and make decision. Rubbish of on-field call and decision cannot be overturned and then what a heck you have DRS.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (August 2, 2013, 2:32 GMT)

It maybe a good idea to see what they use in baseball in the US. If they do not use technology then it may be the way to go. Because people are not using the technology right or are using technology that is too inaccurate.

Posted by Rowayton on (August 2, 2013, 2:27 GMT)

I agree with Kapil's view that the third umpire should make a new decision rather than reviewing the onfield one, but what do we do about LBWs? How much do we trust the ball track prediction technology, and what is out? I remain comfortable with the half-ball thing, but others may disagree.

Posted by AjaySridharan on (August 2, 2013, 2:22 GMT)

I also think that on-field umpires should be docked rating points/match earnings or some other form of penalty if more than an x number of on-field decisions are overturned by the Third Umpire. This will ensure that they don't take the easy way out and review everything upstairs

Posted by AjaySridharan on (August 2, 2013, 2:20 GMT)

I agree with Kapil Choudhary. When the verdict of a lower court is challenged in the Supreme Court, the matter does not go back to the lower court. Supreme Court's verdict is final and binding. Similarly, when the matter has been referred upstairs, Third Umpire's decision should be final. I also very much like the author's suggestion of having TV umpires as a specialist position and not rotate on-field umpires for that role.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 2:18 GMT)

My question is after seeing no HOT SPOT and air between bat and ball why did Kumar Dharmasena have doubts? This is pure incompetence. In real life incompetence has consequences unlike in the life of an ICC umpire

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 2:16 GMT)

I totally agree with Brydon's last paragraph...Without the DRS, Khawaja would still have been out, caught Prior bowled Swann. Everyone would have accepted it as an on-field mistake, one of those errors that umpires have made for 135 years. But getting it wrong with the assistance of replays cannot be tolerated. How did this happen?

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 2:13 GMT)

The BCCI was being condemned strongly in Australia for not agreeing to the DRS whenever played.

I hasten to add that their stand dismayed me, too.

Perhaps, (even inadvertently!) they have been borne out?

I would love to know what all those who condemned the BCCI for being a pariah on this issue, think now?

I am chastened, of course.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 2:10 GMT)

DRS is not something new to cricket we are use similar technique to make decision in run out calls. That worked perfectly why not here. Now is the time to train new breed of 3rd umpires in DRS to use it wisely to give decisions.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 2:00 GMT)

The technology is fantastic. The problem is cricket's excessive respect for the on-field umpires. The way to use it is to say to the third umpire, "It's your call, it DOESN"T MATTER what the umpire said. If you think option A is 51% likely, implement option A even if the umpire said B." This nonsense about only overruling the umpire if the third umpire is 100% sure is madness. Yet Trott had no hot spot, and the decision was overruled. But a different TV umpire wants to be 101% sure so Khawaja suffered. Smith has already been out three times, the first time plumb lbw to Swann with no doubt at all but the nervous Nellie we have as the third umpire just does nothing again. Further, snicko is also an extremely useful technology. All of them: hawkeye, snick, no-ball replay and hotspot should be used, perhaps in an AUTOMATED fashion like in tennis, with three maximum unsuccessful challenges per innings per team. There should be no doubt benefit for the batsman; this isn't a criminal trial.

Posted by terryzarsov on (August 2, 2013, 1:55 GMT)

The DRS was not at fault in Khawaja's dismissal - it is staggering to think that Dharmasena (supposedly cricket's top umpire) could not come to the correct conclusion from the ample evidence available. People are calling for changes to the DRS after every test - how about a bit of accountability from the umpires whose incompetence is at the heart of all these controversies? Surely it's time to let English and Australian umpires, who represent 8 of the 12 members of the elite panel, preside over the ashes.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 1:44 GMT)

Even better still, WHY did the English players appeal for caught behind if it was so obvious he didn't hit it?

Posted by valvolux on (August 2, 2013, 1:44 GMT)

If the benefit of the doubt in drs goes with the umpires call on nicks....how come tony hill himself over turned 2 decisons in the last test where the on field umpire gave it not out....yet hot spot showed nothing, there was no deviation, perhaps a noise but nothing conclusive...and he gave them out? How could 1 out of 3 be ok to over turn in the last test, yet in this test 3 out of 3 wasnt? Its either blatant favortism for england, or these umpires have absolutely no idea. It would be easier to swallow as an aussie if there was some sort of consistency. The incompetence is astounding. Why dont they issue the 3rd umps those sky sports radios that boof is constantly wearing so that they can get the opinion of others....seriously icc...no one will find out, will save you a lot of face if a few ex english captains and aussie spinners agree with you.

Posted by johnsenden2011 on (August 2, 2013, 1:43 GMT)

Can we please add Ashton Agar's dismissal in the second innings of the Lord's test. Same as Khawaja's, was definitely enough evidence to over turn the apparent nick. (Note that Tony Hill is involved in nearly every single one of the umpiring errors)

Posted by dafter on (August 2, 2013, 1:35 GMT)

faith in the DRS has all but gone. it is not stopping "Howlers", how many umpires or referees officiate in a test match? all of them in the current match have failed (and not for the first time in the current series) they need to be brought in for questioning . the scope of the error in the Khawaja dismissal is such a blunder that integrity of the decision makers is at stake for at least for crickets sake.

Posted by Jimmers on (August 2, 2013, 1:34 GMT)

Hate to take the BCCI line, but I'd like to see DRS scrapped totally. The controversy, the deflation of drama for people in the ground, the ruining of reputations by previously respected umpires, the gamesmanship it's bringing in.. all for a 3% improvement in decisions. Just dump it and get back to enjoying the cricket. Clarke scored a brilliant 100 today, but all we're talking about is the wretched DRS. Still.

Posted by Webba84 on (August 2, 2013, 1:28 GMT)

@Kapil, Totally Agree. Its this attempt to support the on field umpire which is causing the problems. The whole point of DRS is based on the idea that the on field umpire might be wrong, decisions made using it should be based purely on whether or not the batsman is out.

Posted by DRSFodder on (August 2, 2013, 1:27 GMT)

I was listening to the first day on the radio, so haven't seen the Khawaja decision yet. Regarding Trott's dismissal at Trent Bridge, the ball was ait was adjudged (correctly in my opinion) to have reached the pad before hitting the inside edge of the bat and the original decision upheld.

As a side note regarding the Chris Rogers 'lbw' at Lords, which wasn't reviewed, I used to joke as a kid about getting batsmen out bbw (balls before wicket), but never actually expected to see such a dismissal in professional cricket - let alone in such a bizarre manner. If an umpire can send a batsmen walking, then ask him to wait to check a no-ball (which I disagree with - if you think it's a no-ball call it, otherwise don't call it), surely DRS can be set up such that a third umpire can fairly quickly radio down and call the batsmen back for _obvious_ errors. If players 'know' that the right decision will be made (first call or on review), they'll (eventually) stop with the antics.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 1:08 GMT)

the way technology has been implemented has been awful for a number of years. I think we should go back to simply accepting the on field decision, and discuss the mistakes later. Every cricketer will tell you they have had their share of bad decisions. But quickly forget the lucky decisions where they have gone on to make a hundred or picked up a couple of bonus wickets. It always balances out over time. DRS just deflates and destroys the tension and drama of the big moments.

Posted by canterbury1990 on (August 2, 2013, 0:57 GMT)

The DRS is fine, but its implementation has been appalling in some instances in this Ashes series. Some of the "howlers" given by the on-field umpires reiterate the necessity of the DRS, but the DRS system also relies on successful application of the system by the umpires, and unfortunately that hasn't happened. Usman Khawaja's case should have been a perfect exhibition of an effective DRS system, but unfortunately improper implementation of the DRS prevented that.

Posted by paku11 on (August 2, 2013, 0:44 GMT)

once again a reminder why india is not willing to use DRS. as much as everyone hates India for its cricket financial health, they are right on the money with this one. i will be keen to hear the eng and aussie reactions the next time india says no to the DRS when they play india.

Posted by PeterLaunnie on (August 2, 2013, 0:43 GMT)

Looks like the Indians were right all along....

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 0:41 GMT)

Should be a split screen with head-on and side-on shots so Umpire can see where bat and ball are when they pass each other.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 0:40 GMT)

Why are there not 2 third umpires? Surely this would help to head off ridiculous decisions like the one perpetrated at Old Trafford?

Posted by Belltower on (August 2, 2013, 0:40 GMT)

Smith was not plumb. , it may have hit him outside off that is why the umpire gave it not out, with a benefit of review it hit him in line Agar in my opinion had part of his foot behind the line. Forgot to conveniently mention the Agar one in the last test where Agar clearly misses it gos upstairs and it is upheld. Replays showed he missed it. There have a been a few howlers in this series and surprise they have all gone against australia, like in 2005, where with the DRS being used australia would have won the series, or maybe not with the incompetence of the 3rd umpires. Jonathan trott is the only clear decision to go against england in the whole series so far all the other calls have been 50/50, which funnily enough is not what the DRS system is for. Cook should have recalled Khawaja the replay showed his bat hit his back pad and he missed the ball by over 6 inches. england must have known that and did nothing. The length of their appeals are also concerning, even unsporting

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (August 2, 2013, 0:22 GMT)

Sadly it was not the DRS that went wrong but umpiring errors. Khawaja should have been bought back to bat.

Posted by   on (August 2, 2013, 0:17 GMT)

This is the exact reason why India is opposing DRS..We lost a series in SL in 2008 because of DRS and Dravid/Tendulkar/Laxman were given out on so many times and that's why Sachin has opposed it tooth and nail..Lets accept Umpire's mistake..

Posted by Interzod on (August 2, 2013, 0:14 GMT)

OK. So it seems not to be working for its purpose. How about this; the 3rd umpire has a limited amount of time (30 secs, 1 min?) and if he can't deduce in that time that the original decision is obviously poor then it goes with the on-field umpire.

Posted by PFEL on (August 2, 2013, 0:05 GMT)

The DRS is there to overturn howlers. The Khawaja decision was a howler. Big fail from the 3rd umpire.

Posted by mansel on (August 2, 2013, 0:04 GMT)

A farcical DRS decision such as this should be redeemed with the player being allowed to return at the fall of the next wicket. Only then would there be any fairness in the result.

Posted by   on (August 1, 2013, 23:49 GMT)

I think the idea of specialists in DRS is the answer. It makes perfect sense.

Posted by   on (August 1, 2013, 23:49 GMT)

@Kapil; completely agree. With all this 'umpires call' malarky, we have seen Usman Khawaja given out caught to a ball he didnt hit, meanwhile Steve Smith was given not out LBW on review to a ball that would have taken leg stump out of the ground. Let's get rid of this 'umpires call' and 'having to be 100% sure to overturn the decision' and just trust the technology. People say Hawk-Eye is inaccurate, I can tell you now, its far more accurate than a human predicting where a ball is going to go.

Posted by tamperbay on (August 1, 2013, 23:27 GMT)

If the ICC explains to CA that the Khawaja decision was because the 3rd umpire accidentally pressed the wrong button, Khawaja should be allowed to come in to bat tomorrow at the fall of the next wicket

Posted by dmat on (August 1, 2013, 23:26 GMT)

Brydon and Kapil, I think you are both right. It is disappointing for Usman who is struggling to establish himself as a test cricketer. With no DRS, you accept those decisions - it happens. But with a multi million dollar organisation such as the ICC running this technology and getting it wrong on a decision that everyone knew was wrong, it is just incompetence on the part of the ICC. They need to sort this out or we will lose players and fans. I have been a supporter of DRS but it's use is failing our sport and I think it should be removed.

Posted by Karnain on (August 1, 2013, 23:25 GMT)

How can you say there is not enough conclusive evidence to over turn the on field umpire decision when hot spot showed nothing on it. Wasn't that conclusive enough?

Posted by   on (August 1, 2013, 23:19 GMT)

It's not the DRS that's at fault, it's the umpires interpretation of the procedure following the call to refer a decision. It was as Aakash Chopra tweeted: "DRS was introduced to eradicate the human howlers...humans are out to prove that no technology can eliminate human errors." He's dead right. It also works both ways. There needs to be subtle changes in what's available and what the procedure should be.

It's also very touch-and-go when you have to have impartial umpires for such a high profile test series, especially when 8 of the 12 on the Elite panel are English (4) and Australian (4). If the DRS is to be used properly, the only impartial umpire that's needed is the third umpire to utilise the technology. An Ashes series demands the best, and the four that are impartial are having a terrible season, and sadly, this Ashes series may just be known as the DRS Ashes regardless of the overall result.

Posted by android_user on (August 1, 2013, 23:15 GMT)

It would have been easy to get carried away and write a jingoistic article, given the blatant injustice in the khwaja dismissal. Hence my hats off to the author for coming up with a balanced and a non-scathing article on the deficiencies of DRS. We just hope to read more such articles - DRS maybe breaking the spirit of players and fans, but classy journalism like this will always lift the mood of an average fan. Well done Mr. Coverdale!

Posted by tamperbay on (August 1, 2013, 23:12 GMT)

People who say we should get rid of the DRS are crazy! And people who criticize it without offering alternatives don't help. Having the DRS gets more decisions right that before. Full stop! You just have to look at some of the footage of pre DRS games to see why - bowling teams over-appealing, and many blatantly incorrect decisions being made by the on-field umpire. The genius part of the DRS system at the moment is that the limited reviews are put in the hands of the players. If THEY get it wrong, they have no one else to blame but themselves. The use of the current technology just needs to be improved. 1 - the teams shouldn't lose their review entitlements for umpires call decisions; 2 - the 3rd umpire needs to perform better, or be better trained.

Posted by V-Man_ on (August 1, 2013, 23:07 GMT)

I hope now people can see why India refuses to use the DRS. The technology itself needs much improvement and usage of DRS needs to changed. Players shouldn't be able to call for DRS. Only umpires should be able to do this and there should be no limit on of its usage.

Posted by Moutarde on (August 1, 2013, 23:01 GMT)

Sorry, that's rubbish. There has to be clear evidence to show the on-field umpire was wrong and there was none.

Posted by one-eyed-but-keepinitreal on (August 1, 2013, 22:59 GMT)

Only a post modernist would have deemed the Khawaja decision inconclusive.

Posted by Cricket_Froth on (August 1, 2013, 22:57 GMT)

There's no question that the third umpire, Kumar Dharmasena, completely stuffed this one up. He had access to compelling evidence and his job was to overturn the field umpire's horrendous decision. He failed. In what circumstances is human error least acceptable? With or without DRS humans will make mistakes. We can accept that. We have to. We've all copped a howler, benefited from one, or witnessed one from the stands or the couch. But, the circumstances of this dismissal are unforgivable. DRS was designed to reduce the instance of howlers, not introduce new ones. Accountability is required and answers are needed. India refuse to play with DRS, perhaps they're feeling pretty vindicated right about now.

Posted by H_Z_O on (August 1, 2013, 22:57 GMT)

I think there's been way too much talk about the lack of Hotspot and the presence of a noise. The crucial piece of evidence was the video footage.

From front-on, there was, to my eyes, a gap as the ball spun past the edge.

From behind, it was even clearer, as you can see the bat brush the pad (which then explains the noise) and you clearly see the bat go "inside" the ball, as it spins past the edge.

In fact, speaking of the aeons Dharmasena took, the longer he took, the more I had a nasty feeling he was going to uphold the decision. I could tell in minutes. And I'm not an umpire. I'm an England fan, with every reason to be biased.

The problem is, we've got umpires interpreting the data, knowing what one of their colleagues has already decided. That's why I wasn't in favour of having the umpires review, as the really bad ones are often the ones they're most "sure" about. Having the Third Umpire sequestered, making their decision in isolation, sounds like it may be the answer.

Posted by one-eyed-but-keepinitreal on (August 1, 2013, 22:56 GMT)

Instead of "seemed to suggest" which creates an unjustifiable element of doubt I would suggest that the term "clearly stated" would have better preceeded the sentence "the ball passed Khawaja's bat untouched" as the gap between bat and ball should have been evident to any reasonable judge with reasonable eyesight. The problem with the Khawaja decision is not one of interpretation or the workings of the DRS technology but lays squarely on the third umpire. It was an obvious howler that should have been overturned.

Posted by D-Ascendant on (August 1, 2013, 22:56 GMT)

Agree with Kapil. This nonsense about one umpire trying to protect the other umpire's dignity is going too far.

Posted by funkybluesman on (August 1, 2013, 22:35 GMT)

"The DRS has a built-in benefit of the doubt that goes not to the batsman but to the on-field call."

This is the big problem with just this type of decision. You can't see a positive sign of something not happening (ie an edge), you can only see a lack of any evidence of it happening and evidence of other things that could possibly fool you into thinking it was an edge (like bat hitting pad, which was seen).

Therefore, a batsman not hitting the ball is always going to come out as having no evidence and the onfield decision not overturned. Which is crazy. In the case of edges like this they have to go with having to prove a nick with the technology to uphold the decision. If you can't definitely see an edge then it has to be overturned. Anything else is completely unacceptable.

The same thing happened to Warner last Aussie summer, given out and that upheld despite no evidence of an edge being found. This has to stop.

Posted by Nutcutlet on (August 1, 2013, 22:34 GMT)

It is easy to point the finger at the umpires & whilst they have made many well documented howlers in this Ashes series in particular that every Joe & Josie on their sofas at home have been able to spot within the instant, it is not they who should ultimately to take the flak; it is the ICC that: (a) trained them to elite status, before (b) sanctioning their elite status; (c) failed to realise that utilising only four of the 12-strong panel to perform all the umpiring requirements in a major series was asking for burn-out & concurrent increasing incompetence; (d) in respect of (c), not asking the ECB & CA whether it would be acceptable to have English & Australian umpires for this series. The neutral umpiring issue is to do with sensitivites connected with cricket in the sub-continent, not - in this day & age - with cricket played in Eng, Oz, SA & NZ & between those countries. This may not be palatable to some; it is nonetheless the fact of the case. The ICC is short on common sense.

Posted by Chris_Howard on (August 1, 2013, 22:21 GMT)

@Kapil. Agreed.

And if they must persist with the "umpire's call", then immediately after this Test, not after some ICC meeting, they must change the rules so an "umpire's call" doesn't cost the team their review. If they had that already, Broad would have been able to be ruled out in the 2nd Test, and Smith in this one.

It's a a double punishment. Not only do you get a bad DRS decision, like Khawaja got, but then the team lose their review as well. That is seriously wrong.

Posted by richcricketguru on (August 1, 2013, 22:06 GMT)

The standard of the umpiring is the problem - the umpire "howler" is just far too common to leave all decisions to the umpires in test cricket. In addition, the umpires can't even get it correct with the use of technology - this just shows how poor their decision making skills actually are. Hiding the technology outcome so the umpires "confidence" is not affected is absolutely ridiculous. The game is not about the umpires - it is about making sure the players (batsman, bowlers) get the most accurate decision - their careers are at stake. A good umpire (still THE major source of error) combined with the sensible use of technology is the solution. Blaming the DRS or suggesting that it is another "DRS howler" is just incorrect logic. Get good umpires (decision makers), implement sensible DRS rules and we will have a much needed workable solution.

Posted by   on (August 1, 2013, 21:58 GMT)

This is ridiculous, trying to paint it as though both sides have been as hard done by when clearly they have not. The mythical 'inside edge' from Trott that produced no noise whatsoever nor no hotspot happened was indicated by a 'deviation' that showed up before the ball even reached his bat. He got jaffaed. Khawaja is absolutely ridiculous, the worst decision I have ever seen and the worst I hope I ever see. There wasn't a single frame of the shot where you couldn't see air between bat and ball. If that isn't conclusive, then conclusive evidence is just a myth, clearly.

Posted by PanGlupek on (August 1, 2013, 21:53 GMT)

I've been a big fan of DRS, and have never understood the objections, but this series, I'm starting to change my mind.

I have no problem with the technology, but the protocols the 3rd umpire has to follow are wrong. I'd prefer to see a system slightly similar to rugby's, where an umpire asks the tv umpire a direct question, such as, "I gave that LBW not out because I think he might have nicked it - please check that", or, "I think that was bat hitting pad", and the 3rd umpire is allowed to have a conversation with him, like, "No, Marais, it wasn't bat hitting pad, but the noise does come a long time after it past him, it can't have been bat on ball, decision stands".

It's still right in some situations to stick with the "umpire's call" policy, probably with marginal LBW calls, or if there is only a small amount of doubt that the on-field umpire got it right.

Worth mentioning Khawaja would have been out anyway though, even without DRS (though that's what DRS is there for).

Posted by mrmonty on (August 1, 2013, 21:52 GMT)

"The DRS has a built-in benefit of the doubt that goes not to the batsman but to the on-field call."

Because the ICC would rather cut careers of players short than make the umpires uncomfortable momentarily.

Posted by hycIass on (August 1, 2013, 21:50 GMT)

Alot of folks are blaming the DRS for Khawaja's error but in this instance it was the third umpire's fault. Khawaja should not have been given out and it cost the talented left hander a big innings which is not acceptable as Dharamasina had all the technology available to him. ICC needs to look at this carefully and use this out as an example to make positive change.

Posted by shot274 on (August 1, 2013, 21:40 GMT)

Completely agree with Kapil Choudhary. The bottom line is that there were 2 howlers today. DRS upheld one and there were no reviews left to overturn the second.So the way we are using it at present it is not necessarily preventing howlers anyway.

Posted by chitti_cricket on (August 1, 2013, 21:28 GMT)

I think we get rid of DRS, leave with on field Umpire's decisions, Some times they may go wrong, but leave with them, as we have been doing through out the history of the game.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (August 1, 2013, 21:24 GMT)

Kapil good point mate, but my issue is this. The umpire had all the evidence needed to overturn Khawaja's decision, the most obvious thing that it was clearly missing the bat then how did the third umpire miss it. I understand if there was any doubt but in Khawaja's case there was no doubt that he didn't hit the ball and it cost the classy left hander a valuable knock on a good batting wicket.

Posted by   on (August 1, 2013, 21:02 GMT)

"The DRS has a built-in benefit of the doubt that goes not to the batsman but to the on-field call."

Therein lies the crux of the problem which the cricket world is not ready to accept. As long as you use technology "ONLY to overturn howlers", such issues will always arise. If you are going to use DRS, then back it fully. Once a review is called, the third umpire should give an out/not out verdict IRRESPECTIVE of the on-field decision. If the third umpire is not sure, then, as happens with run-outs and close catches, the benefit of the doubt goes to the batsman.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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