During the 2nd Test match between India and Australia at Bangalore, DRS or the Decision Review System was one of the most talked about issues and for both right as well as wrong reasons. The controversy began in India’s second innings when Virat Kohli was given LBW off Josh Hazlewood’s bowling but the Indian captain was sure that he had edged the ball. So, he went for the DRS but due to lack of any clear evidence, the third-umpire asked to stay with on-field umpire’s call. At that point, most cricketing fans and experts started raising fingers on flaws of this technology. However, the very next day when Pujara was given LBW and opted to challenge it, the decision had to be reversed. Now, suddenly there were talks about how this technology helped India save the game.
The drama didn’t end here as Shaun Marsh walked off in confusion despite Steve Smith asking him to take the DRS while Australian captain himself looked at the dressing room for a signal on whether to take it or not. As much as one try to believe that technology is helping in removing human error from the game, he cannot run away from the fact that it is killing the fun at the same time. There is pressure on the non-strikers to take the right calls, criticism for the umpires and suddenly, all our discussions have shifted from strategies and achievements to the execution of DRS.
Watch Virat Kohli’s controversial LBW decision:
Cricket becomes thrilling because of its non-stop action but what is happening now is that umpires have become so conscious about giving a wrong decision that almost every time a batsman is out, they go to the third umpire to check for a no-ball. It happens for the run-out shouts as well and it is very frustrating to watch because if you have to give all the decisions by watching on television, better remove the on-field umpires because they are getting turned into wrestling referees who are there just to stop on-field clashes.
During the recently concluded ODI series between New Zealand and South Africa, Kiwi captain Kane Williamson was given LBW and after consulting with the other batsman Martin Guptill, he decided to walk off. Three overs later, Guptill was given out as well when he batting on 62 but he took the DRS, the decision was reversed and he went to win the match for his side by scoring 180+ runs alone. If he didn’t have that review maybe New Zealand had lost the match but as a batsman, taking DRS is also becoming a part of your strategy which shouldn’t be the case.
Cheteshwar Pujara survived thanks to DRS:
Moreover, it is creating a gap between players. In the Pune Test, KL Rahul and Murali Vijay were criticised for burning both reviews within first 6 overs. The argument given was that they didn’t leave reviews for players like Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane who are probably more important batsmen for the team. But, how do you decide that? In the second Test, Kohli failed but it was KL Rahul who went on to score two half-centuries. So, why is it that one player should be entitled to use the DRS while other is under pressure!
There is no harm in using technology for the betterment of the game but only to an extent where it doesn’t kill the thrill, excitement and unpredictability of the game. Unfortunately, this is what is happening now. I would like to conclude by quoting the great Sachin Tendulkar, if you actually want to improve the game, “give authority to the third umpire to intervene and correct the decisions, if they are incorrect. The idea about DRS is to get correct decisions, then we should be able to do that.”