One of the most heated topics during the ongoing India-Australia test series has been the usage of DRS or the Umpire Decision Review System. On Day 4, Australian captain Steve Smith caused a huge controversy by turning towards his dressing to get a tip on whether he should take DRS or not which he later called an impulsive step. This left the Indian captain Virat Kohli furious but even, he hasn’t had a happy relationship with technology in this series so far. During the first innings, he asked for a DRS thinking he had edged Josh Hazlewood’s delivery before it hit the pad but since there was no clear evidence, Kohli was given out. So what exactly is DRS? How does it work? How many times can a team take it? Here are the answers of all your questions:
1. The Umpire Decision Review System or UDRS which is now known as DRS was used for the first time in 2008 in an India vs Sri Lanka match. After its successful testing, International Cricket Council (ICC) officially launched it on 24 November 2009 during the first Test match between New Zealand and Pakistan in Dunedin.
Cheteshwar Pujara challenged on-field umpire’s decision was given not-out:
2. Each team is given two unsuccessful chances to challenge umpire’s decision per 80 overs during a Test match. However, in ODI cricket each team gets only one DRS call per innings.
3. There are three main components of DRS:
a. Hawk-Eye: It is a virtual ball tracking technology which is used to take decisions on LBW calls. It tracks the trajectory of the ball after hitting the bat and determines whether it is going to hit the stumps or not.
b. Hot-Spot: It is an infra-red imaging system which is used to find out inside edges in close LBW and caught behind calls.
c. Snickometer: A very important component of DRS, it is used to identify edges by using directional microphones to detect small sounds.
4. This technology was introduced to remove human error from the game. The batting team can use it for reverse an OUT decision while the bowling team can use it to change a NOT OUT call to OUT. To take a DRS, the fielding captain or batsman at the crease has to signal with a ‘T’ using his arms.
Watch the controversy over Steve Smith’s dismissal:
5. After this, the third umpire uses all the three components of this technology to give his final decision. However, he reverses only clearly incorrect decisions and if there is any doubt, third-umpire stays with the on-field umpire’s call.
Ever since ICC introduced the DRS technology, it has had its fair share of criticism. BCCI was the first board to oppose it openly and the West Indian legend Joel Garner went to call it a total ‘gimmick’. Pakistani off-spinner also raised questions over DRS after the losing the semi-final of the 2011 ICC World Cup against India. ICC is consistently trying is best to make this technology more conclusive and one could see a bending of rules in the recent future too.