Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
Sachin Tendulkar says he supports the use of technology in international cricket as long as a uniform referral system is implemented across the world. The DRS has been a controversial topic when it comes to India considering the BCCI has adamantly refused to use it in bilateral series.
Tendulkar has said in the past that he supported the referral system as long as both Hot Spot and Snickometer were used in tandem. But N Srinivasan, the ICC chairman and the suspended BCCI president, had told ESPNCricinfo last year that India's position on the DRS had always remained consistent, and called it a "faulty" system. "If India plays, DRS is not there, and if two other teams play and they want a faulty system, why should I stop it?" Srinivasan had said in the interview in October 2013.
But Tendulkar said the technology need not be perfect as long as the ICC could "standardise" its implementation. "I don't know right now what BCCI's stance is. From an individual point of view I can definitely say that we can't have bits and pieces in different, different parts of the world," Tendulkar said in London on Friday. "One part of the world is using Snickometer. The other part of the world is Hot Spot. Somewhere else we are using something else. It's got to be standardised."
Incidentally, most of India's senior players, barring the captain MS Dhoni, have supported the DRS despite its inconsistent nature. Currently DRS is used only when there is a bilateral agreement between boards. Srinivasan has been stubborn in his resistance, saying resorting to referrals was just a gamble. "There are a lot of things wrong, apart from the technology - even the two referrals, the one referral in an ODI, how does it help? So there's that luck element, and this was my position and it remains."
Tendulkar recognised that technology could never be perfect, but stressed it needed to be consistent. "Why should we settle for only 50% result? Why not get as close to 100%? It is impossible to get 100% right. There will be some errors here and there. It really does not matter if Zimbawe and Bangladesh are playing or England and Australia are playing. An international match is an international match. It is unfair on lesser teams who do not have the full package. We can definitely use technology as long as it is standardised."
Tendulkar expressed those views at the UK launch of his autobiography: Playing It My Way, at Lord's in the company of former England captain Nasser Hussain. Always viewed as reluctant to make his thoughts public, Tendulkar has become more forthright, particularly over the past week during which he has spoken openly about his differences within India's dressing room with former coaches and team-mates.
Asked to rate the favourites for next year's World Cup Tendulkar had a ready response. "I can't pinpoint one team, but there are a few competitive teams. I would like to name Australia, South Africa. New Zealand is a dark horse. India. These are my four semi-finalists." Prompted to talk about England's chances, Tendulkar said Alastair Cook's team was not the strongest. "I don't think so, sorry. Anything is possible in sport. But going by current form I don't think England would be that competitive."
Tendulkar was more positive about India's chances. "India can surprise a lot of guys. And also I believe the spinners will come into play. People only talk about the pitches being conducive for fast bowlers but because of the size of the grounds I think spinners will come into play."
Tendulkar agreed with the view that playing County cricket would help India's players become more competitive overseas. He agreed with Hussain that the experience would aid in their own development and growth not only as players but also as individuals. "Most definitely. I remember Zaheer Khan was having a lot of injuries [in 2006]. There was a period when he was away from cricket for a while. That is when I told him: "Zaheer, for you there is no off-season. Whenever the monsoons are on in India you go to England and play. You will be transformed as a cricketer." That is what he did. I thought county cricket was instrumental in transforming Zaheer as a bowler."
Tendulkar spoke about his own experience in 1992 at Yorkshire, where he became the first overseas player to represent the county. "It was a turning point in my career because it not just taught me more about the conditions but also taught me a lot as a person. To be able to travel around on my own in England at the age of 19 was an experience; not many 19-year-olds get to do that. I thoroughly enjoyed my stint at Yorkshire. Right from the president of the county to the groundsman were all supportive and welcoming. I can never forget that experience - the warmth and reception I got."