DRS – Trust it or dump it
With the Australian summer of international cricket being wrapped up and India offshore, it is now the time to take an honest look at the controversial Decision Review System (DRS).
Technology has played a huge part in spectators involvement since television broadcasters first toyed with ball tracking cameras, high sensitivity ‘snicko’ microphones and infra-red hotspot cameras, but it was not until a little over six years ago that the ICC made the move to improve the accuracy of umpiring decisions and implemented the DRS. It was no surprise that this came about, especially after the disastrous Indian series in 2008 where some of the greatest howlers to ever befall on a cricket pitch were called.
While providing a strong fall-back system for players to call upon when unhappy with the umpires decision, the very nature of the DRS is flawed. This is due to the ‘umpires call’ decision that so many times has been given to suitably incredulous bowlers after the technology has clearly shown the ball to be hitting the stumps.
An irritating example of this happening was seen in the Ashes last year with batsman Moeen Ali surviving a reviewed call from the DRS after the ball was blatantly hitting the stumps. Why did he survive? It is because if less than half the ball is found to be hitting the stumps after an original “not out” call, the decision is kept due to a lack of faith in the ball tracking technology. This could be interpreted to showing the umpires some confidence in that they are the ones that have the best view of the game, however this is a complete step backwards in the development of the game in my opinion, as the technology was implemented to overrule shoddy decisions from umpires and to place more power into the hands of the players. Attempts to control for slight inaccuracies in the tracking technology only show to the fans that the ICC has a lack in confidence in their own review system and furthermore leads to decisions just as controversial as the ones that brought the DRS to fruition in the first place.
There are solutions to fixing this problem however, such as completely abolishing the ‘umpires call’ facet of the review system. If the ICC are going to stop the game to go to the third umpire and use technology, they should be either trusting it 100% and completely overriding the on-field umpire, or not implementing it into the game at all.