Time to review DRS in cricket

THE EDITOR: The basics of cricket involve bat, ball and whether or not someone is out. So it should be a no-brainer that every effort should be made to ensure that a batsman is given out when he is out and not-out when he is not out. It’s time to end this foolishness of a batsman continuing to bat after he is dismissed merely because the other team has no reviews left. Similarly for the case of a wrongly given dismissal.

The recent case of Rassie van der Dussen (South Africa) in the Test against England is illustrative. Given out LBW, he belatedly chose to use the DRS (decision review system) just before the time clock ran out. To the naked eye of the umpire, and the commentators, it seemed clearly out.

However, the review showed the ball would have gone over the stumps so he got a reprieve, being ruled not out. On zero at the time, he went on to score 98 in a losing cause. And the eternal question remains.

Why do the cricketing authorities remain so pig-headed (I’m probably being unfair to pigs) in persisting with the blatantly flawed implementation of the DRS? The reviews quota (one for T20s, one for ODIs, and two for Tests) should be scrapped and all too-close-to-call decisions handled by the off-field umpire(s) as a matter of course without anyone having to “ask.”

It is undignified for big men (and women) to spend time wondering: Should we? Should we not? Is it worth it? Can we afford to lose our review so early in the game? That time could be more profitably spent by the third umpire automatically (quickly) doing a review.

Because of the large number of variables involved, LBW decisions are the most error-prone and contentious in cricket. Yet, bizarrely, the rules state “the on-field umpires may not request the third umpire to review an LBW decision (apart from whether the delivery was a no-ball).”

So an umpire cannot freely ask for help when it’s needed the most but a team can force him to ask (and risk losing its precious review) by requesting one? Maybe there’s some good reason why this is so but the logic escapes me.

In any case, shouldn’t all available resources be brought to bear to arrive at the fairest decision at all times? Why should any team/player ever have to rue not calling for a review? A match should be decided by batting, bowling and fielding, not by the “strategic” use/misuse of a review.

It’s way past time to review the “review” system.


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"Time to review DRS in cricket"

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