The BCCI finally accepting DRS last week is the most significant development in the sport in recent years, though upstaged for news value by the Supreme Court turning screws further on Indian cricket establishment. This is good news as the International Cricket Council is finally getting the DRS tested by an independent body. Indian team learnt a lesson after vehemently refusing to accept DRS for quite a long time.
Having faced rough weather after not making use of the fool proof system now they face the pinch and that made them to change their earlier decision in opposing DRS. That might be a healthy compromise, for it is the ball-tracking used for lbw decisions that is the system’s least reliable part. The ICC put the cart before the horse by insisting on the DRS without proper testing, while the BCCI refused to accept it since it was not 100 per cent accurate. The Indian board’s uncompromising stand might have led to the first proper testing of the accuracy of the DRS at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. However, Team India lost many series from 2011-2014 due to inept batting, substandard bowling and poor fielding.
BCCI accepted DRS in ICC Tournaments but not in bilateral contests. Teams playing against India also suffered because of the partial approach. This flip-flop approach not only made the situation even more ridiculous, but also caused deep heartburn in other Boards. India as the richest cricketing board in the world dictated terms and succeeded in stopping the review system adopted in series matches involving India. This helped us in many ways as we over appeal and the lop sided crowd support shout in chorus make the matter for the field umpires and the team’s touring India has no say on DRS. In the 2008 series against Sri Lanka we could win back 2 out of the 10 referrals and Sri Lanka turned the tables against us by achieving 80% success in achieving right decisions with the help of DRS. MS Dhoni was not a fan of the DRS technology and the game suffered at the hands of our own whims and fancies. At a time 9 out of 10 cricket playing nations agreed for the decision review, we were the odd man out for strange reasons.
Had we opted for DRS long time back, this would have made the sport more cogent and fair enough to players and more so to the cricket fans. Now we can watch fairer matches involving Team India and the bowlers will strike balance and avoid over appealing and the home success rate of Indian bowlers may also fall down considerably as players can’t cheat with action replays playing the dubious decisions repeatedly. We can watch competitive cricket at home when England tours India.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)