Engineers from the field intelligence unit at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology [MIT] have been commissioned to independently assess the performance of the technologies used as part of the DRS system. The technologies can be classified in two categories - ball-tracking and edge-detection. The engineers are in the process of building an apparatus to assess the performance of each type of technology at the moment and the results so far look promising. It is likely that the edge-detection apparatus will go through its final tests shortly, and the ball-tracking apparatus is more likely to be ready later in the year.
Television, ball-tracking and edge-detection technologies have developed and improved significantly since the DRS was first introduced. New technologies are being developed all the time. One concern about DRS, particularly from the players' and umpires' perspectives, is that the various technologies used for DRS in different series are not standardised. Our long-term aim is to have one officiating system used across all international matches.
The significant majority are in favour of using technology in the decision-making process in international cricket. BCCI is the only Full Member who is currently opposed to the use of DRS in international cricket. The BCCI's opposition is mainly because they believe the technology is still not fool-proof and that decision-making should be left to the umpires, not the players. There are some other members who choose not to use DRS for their home series, but these are for cost reasons.
We are hoping to have the testing apparatus finished in the next few months, and then to schedule testing with the technology providers towards the end of this year. Part of the testing will also involve at-match assessments of the technologies, and there are discussions with one technology provider about the first of these assessments taking place next month. We are hoping to be able to provide a full report to the next ICC Cricket Committee meeting in May next year, at which the Committee can review and determine the optimum process and protocols for the DRS going forward.
This is actually something the ICC has wrestled with ever since I joined the organisation back in 2002 - looking at ways in which additional context can be created around the Future Tours Programme [FTP]. Bearing in mind that all members have different scheduling priorities, it has proven challenging to get consensus. The FTP is determined by bilateral agreements entered into between the Members. The results of matches in each series count towards the ICC Test, ODI and T20I rankings, which provide some context, both in themselves and in relation to qualification for the ICC events.
"What's the use of scheduling a series in the monsoon season? How can you expect to grow the fan base or attract attendances if series are scheduled or changed at the last minute?"
Ideas and concepts such as "less is more", scheduling of more tri-series, creating a brand around the FTP and around individual series, creating a fresh brand for the ODI format itself (World Cup cricket, for example, as Wally Edwards is proposing), creation of Test or ODI World Cup qualifying leagues. These are all ideas that need to be considered and discussed.
Not at this stage, we are just in discussions at the moment. Michael Holding has spoken about a Test league of two divisions. Others have previously suggested a "six and four" teams format. But first the principles and then the detail needs to be debated and agreed.
The debate on leagues is still in the drawing-board phase, but even if leagues were introduced, the rankings would still co-exist. The ICC rankings will always be there. Take international football, for example. They have qualifying leagues for the FIFA World Cup and continental tournaments, separate to the world rankings.
If we are using rankings as the qualification criterion for an event, it will obviously make sense to make the cut-off date as close as possible to the start of the event itself so as to create more relevance to those matches leading up to the event. However, various operational requirements, such as the determination of venues and ticket sales, do require that the participants and the match schedule of the event are determined a reasonable time out from the start of the tournament. Going forward we will make an effort to determine cut-off dates as close as possible to the start of the event.
The main reason behind the decision to move to a ten-team ICC Cricket World Cup was because it was felt that it would provide the best event - the pinnacle, showcase event for the 50-over format. The 10 best ODI teams with all matches providing the highest-quality competitive cricket. It is essentially the same format as the 1992 Cricket World cup, which many say was the best ever World Cup format.
No. The decision on the ICC Cricket World Cup format was made for the reasons mentioned. But it should be viewed in the context of a number of other decisions aimed at growing and developing the game: the decision to increase the number of teams in the ICC WT20 event from 12 to 16 teams; the decision to promote the top two ranked Associate Member teams (Ireland and Afghanistan) to the ODI FTP; the decision to make qualification for the World Cup, the Champions Trophy and the World T20 events based solely on merit, rather than membership status - for example, both Ireland and Afghanistan could qualify directly for the 2019 World Cup by being in the top eight ranked ODI teams at the relevant cut-off date, or if they don't they still have the chance of qualifying through the qualifying event to be held in 2018. The decision to break the glass ceiling of Test cricket by allowing Associate Members the opportunity to qualify to play Test cricket; the decision to target the better performing Associate Members by providing greater financial and other resources.
Ireland have actually made quite good progress in securing fixtures for themselves. ICC is doing what it can to facilitate the scheduling of these matches and this issue will form part of the ongoing discussions on bilateral cricket.
The ICC is concerned that one of its prominent members has not been able to play home series due to reasons beyond its control. But this is a security problem, not a cricket one. The ICC, and indeed those members wishing to send officials or teams to Pakistan, have a duty of care to such persons. This involves assessing the security risk in an objective fashion and then making a decision. If independent security experts advise against sending such teams or officials then it is very difficult for the ICC or members to ignore that advice.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo