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DRS... Enough already!

Stop the bus! Another change has been made to DRS and it affects both the test and one-day games. As of October 30th the following tweak that has slipped the attention of many has come into play.

1. An amendment has been made to the LBW protocols. The margin of uncertainty applicable to the point of impact with the pad has been increased so that it is the same as provided for determining the projected point of impact with the stumps.

2. For example, if the centre of the ball is shown to be impacting in line within an area demarcated by a line drawn down the middle of the outer stumps (and the bottom of the bails), then the decision will always be out.

Now that you have read and digested that I bet it is as clear as mud. Right now there is a massive problem with the mechanics of this system.

This whole DRS story is spiraling totally out of control. It is all getting so complex and it badly needs a complete overhaul as soon as possible. The system was originally designed only as an entertainment tool for the viewers as part of the television broadcasts. As some umpires proved inadequate it was awarded further responsibility and introduced to the adjudication process to prevent shockers. Those original days are long gone and now it has taken on a life of its own that many influential people in the game refuse to honour.

The major issue I have with DRS is that all of the implemented procedures have been designed with the protection of the umpire in mind. The above recent change is quite ludicrous and further looks after the on-field decision-makers as the impact zone actually shrinks. It is a good time to be a batsman.

To further emphasise how confused things are getting we are now seeing cricket balls hit the stumps solidly upon review, but for one reason or another being given not out upon review. How can that be right? That just makes a mockery of the game. It used to be the case that the benefit of the doubt went to the batsman but now it quite firmly goes to the umpire. If the built-in margin of error needs to be this large to satisfy, is it worth using at all?

Those who are making these changes are losing sight of the bigger picture. Sports are more successful when they are kept simple. How many people at the games or watching at home totally understand all of the variables that come into play when DRS is implemented? Do we need to simply go back to the original parametres and design a system that only eradicates howlers?

Another hugely contentious point is that although DRS is thoroughly scrutinised in an attempt to reach the correct decision, it is still largely dependant on the umpire's initial decision which relies on spontaneous non-assisted human judgement. Does common sense not demand that whatever the original on-field call, that influence should, when necessary, be discarded?

It is time to rewrite this process and now that Simon Taufel is a non-standing, briefcase-carrying match official who works on all things umpire related, the time is ripe to engage his world to get him on the case to improve this farce.

Hopefully soon it will be ‘Simon Says’.

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