Game is better without DRS

Posted: May 7, 2012 in Cricket

Even the ICC will admit the current situation in international cricket is far from ideal. Some series are played with the Decision Review System (DRS) in place, with all the available technology, some with the DRS but with limited use of technology, while in others there are no reviews at all. However, this imposed give and take in international cricket allows us to watch and evaluate the effects of these different scenarios to the game.

The West Indies tour of India, broadcast under the direction of the BCCI, has no DRS, and minimal use of technology in its television coverage, while Australia’s tour of South Africa is being played with the DRS, using all the technology available.

As for my stand on the DRS, to start with, I was opposed to too musch use of technology. But when technology became an essential part of decision-making, I started to see some benefits and joined the masses who had begun to support the DRS. But now, watching the India-West Indies series, which takes you back to a time when there was limited use of technology, I am beginning to see some benefits in old-fashioned approach of cricket.

Those who tend to be dramatic and believe that one wicket can indeed change the result of the game are looking at it the wrong way. A team never loses a match because of one decision in the game; it’s always more than one event – in fact, a series of events – that result in a team’s defeat. But often, taking our anger out on the umpires after a game is finished seems to become our cricketing culture.

Not supporting DRS has also made the umpire the boss again, as it should be. I also strongly believe that umpiring has improved over the years, and we have to be grateful to TV technology for it. So maybe it’s time to give the umpires the final authority again.

Obviously, there are noticeable advantages of using technology. Having an option of DRS helps keep peace among players in a high-intensity contest, because they feel the best possible attempt has been made to get the right decision. Secondly, the viewers, who drive the cricket market, love a DRS situation. They show great excitement to see the end result. What the DRS also does well is help the batsman to get maximum use of the benefit of doubt principle.

But I don’t like how the DRS gets far too much importance during a match. When a not-out decision gets reviewed and overturned, and the batman starts walking back to the dressing room, the discussion revolves around the DRS rather than how good the ball was or what mistake the batsman made. Cricket should always be about the players, not umpires and video evidence.

We are running out of time on this matter. Very soon the ICC will have to provide uniform playing conditions in international cricket: Either it will be DRS for all or for none. Believe me, it will not be an easy decision for the ICC.

Asim Gul Bhootani

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