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DRS unacceptable in its current form


Was the Trent Bridge test the first to be categorically decided by DRS? How different would things have been if DRS was not used over the five days? My guess is…dramatically.

Before I go any further let me clarify my above opening gambit. Umpiring errors and the subsequent introduction of technology to intervene are currently a black mark on the game and influencing outcomes due to inferior performance.

What is equally important is the captain’s use of DRS and during this initial Ashes encounter it was plain for all to see that Michael Clarke was poor in most of his reviews and paid the price.

England, in stark contrast, were efficient while reviewing and seem to have a solid system worked out where their most important observer, Matt Prior, is proactive and controls the initial dialogue timeously with the bowler before it is then discussed with the skipper.

It seems simple enough but few teams are consistently benefiting from what is now becoming such an essential aspect of the game.

The technology, which it must be remembered was no more than a television viewer’s visual enhancement tool initially, is simply not good enough either in its operation (Jonathan Trott’s second innings dismissal) or its implementation to be such a definitive assist.

It cannot be relied upon to provide the correct answers consistently and while the game has erred in attempting to make the decision-making process an exact science, clearly a complete rethink is necessary.

As a commentator, I often hope that all is working accurately when it is called for while I am on air. Minimal confidence in a product is far from ideal.

The expense to use technology for the decision-making process is a massive financial burden that is incorrectly currently borne by the broadcasters. Who in their right mind would outlay those astronomical costs with confidence in the current climate?

I have never been in favour of the players becoming involved in the adjudication process and stated my view loudly and clearly way back in 2008. The umpires must fully control that duty and the players must play.

I have also always been against the allowance of only two unsuccessful reviews as it was obvious that at some stage an imperative part of a crucial test would suffer from those restrictions.

We have just seen it with Aleem Dar’s shocking call on Stuart Broad’s nick. A simple solution in that regard is for us all to remember that the DRS system was supposed to prevent the howler.

While I would like to see learned minds who understand the entire DRS process deep in discussion to completely break this whole thing down and thoughtfully rebuild the process, in the meantime permit the television umpire to intervene if a shocker is given in the middle and no reviews are left.

Incidentally, I recently wrote on this website that umpires should also be sanctioned upon making a horrendous error. Don’t hold your breath.

I do not blame Stuart Broad for not walking. He, however, has to live with the various labels that have been unceremoniously rocketed his way.

He will feel embarrassed but will take cognisance in the fact that his stance helped England win a fascinating and crucial test match. He is not wrong in thinking that he might just get away with it such is the existing inferior DRS product.

I would like to think that down the track the technology becomes so precise and reliable that one day those that do stand for ridiculously obvious edges are exposed and subsequently suspended. We are currently a long way off that.

In summary, the Decision Review Process in its current state is a massive blight on the game and too often the headlines reflect this. What a shame it has happened again following the latest titanic clash where test cricket was witnessed at its very best.

An emergency meeting should have been called already by the ICC to convene with the game’s most constructive, in-touch and intellectual custodians to brainstorm a solution for the current debacle.

Again, don’t hold your breath.


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