Technology in cricket has become more and more prominent. So much so that it seems it comes into play far too often.
So where to draw the line on technology, in particular the Decision Review System (DRS). A hot topic not just in the recent test series against South Africa, but has also demanded controversy ever since it was introduced.
If you break down into its essential elements – the no-ball check, hot spot, hawk-eye and sometimes snicko – all your pieces are there. For the most part, the system works well. However, there has been a string of controversies and issues surrounding the DRS use.
Fans say it takes too long to review any decision to go upstairs to the third umpire to possibly have the umpire’s call reversed. I agree. The different pieces of technology used to check for a faint edge, or whether the foot was on the line for a stumping, take up precious game time and chews into the scheduled overs for the day.
Recent concerns have rested more on the umpires. The Australia-South Africa series highlighted just how heavily no-ball calls were being referred after every dismissal. Now, I’m all for having a system that can eliminate the uncertainty when calling some dismissals, but right now, the DRS is nowhere near up to scratch.
The constant check of bowler’s feet to see if they were over the line at every dismissal is a bit of a farce. Calling a no ball is difficult at the best of times – the concentration of an umpire must switch from the bowler delivering at the crease to the batter at the other end in a fraction of a second. Regardless, this ‘want’ of trying to keep the game ‘fair’ has gone a level too far on the subject of no-balls. History books will not detail that some dismissals were off a no-ball and not called. However, if footage were to be shown of those dismissals (I can hark back to the dismissal of Shane Warne when he was on 99) it will show the bowler’s foot over the line.
I have nothing against the DRS. I do, though, think it needs some serious changes. Starting with the time it takes to check a referral. Once the ball has been ruled as legitimate, the review should quickly move on to the next stage. Conclusive evidence is key here, and if not enough is “provided” to allow the third umpire to overturn the field umpire’s call (if the decision is not out), it should stay that way. Time is consumed, and less overs are bowled.
Overall, the DRS system can help when the answer is seemingly obvious but is not adjudged correctly. It does, however, become infuriating when the batsman decides to review in desperation to stay in.
So, yes to the DRS, but no to the amount of time it takes and controversy it generates. Ironing out the kinks is going to take while unfortunately.