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UDRS: She loves me, she loves me not


We human beings are full of doubts. We are opinionated and believe that we are right in our own righteous way. We believe that the India’s loss in the first test was less to do with what panned out on the Lord’s turf and but more about what happened even before the Indian team stepped on it. No, our allegiance is not veered towards the lack of preparation school of reasoning chaired by a certain Prof. Shastri. We are referring to a blindfolded BCCI having whale of a time digging its own grave by choosing to live in a state of denial over the issue of UDRS (or simply DRS if you are fond of all that is short and sexy). 

BCCI’s reluctance to DRS stems from a range of concerns, half truths, and blatant denials that this system currently evokes. Science or the human judgement, mixing of human judgement with technology, there seems to be no end to the debate. Like all other debates, this too has multiple dimensions.

There are no absolute rights

As a growing up kid struggling to understand the theory of relativity, I was told a cute but believable story of the blind men and an elephant. It has been used to illustrate a range of truths and fallacies. 

A version of the story says that six blind men were asked to determine what an elephant looked like by feeling different parts of the elephant's body. The blind man who feels a leg says the elephant is like a pillar; the one who feels the tail says the elephant is like a rope; the one who feels the trunk says the elephant is like a tree branch; the one who feels the ear says the elephant is like a hand fan; the one who feels the belly says the elephant is like a wall; and the one who feels the tusk says the elephant is like a solid pipe.

No surprises, none of them are absolutely right but neither are they wrong in their small individual worlds. But humanity can, of course, not move ahead with those small individual sub sets that are a part of larger truth.

So where does BCCI’s reluctance stem from?

Dhoni’s resistance to the ball tracking technology ever since Bell was given not out even when the ball was crashing into the stumps, and Bowden overruled it as he was stuck 2.5 meters ahead of the stumps- a case of mixing of technology with human judgement. ICC was quick to modify this rule.

Some of the technologies like Hawk eye and slow motion cameras are not 100% accurate and may be influenced by human intervention. Hawk Eye cannot take in to account the unpredictable nature of the 5th day speech.

Apparently the cost of implementing DRS in full glory (Hawk Eye, Snicko-meter, Hot Spot, and Slo-Mo cameras) is as high as $60,000 per match. According to the ICC, however, that figure is closer to $5000 per day, with a maximum of $25,000 being spent on DRS per Test.

The system places the burden of making a correct judgment on asking for a referral by placing the limitation on number of reviews to two unsuccessful player review requests per innings. For reasons best known to Indian team, we have always struggled to invoke the review at the right time. 

The grouch

We in India like to believe that we suffer the most at the hands of bad umpiring and luck never quite plays as a 12th man for us. No wonder being Harpered and Bucknored have become the toxic equivalents of being cheated in India, denying us the chance to rightfully emerge as winners in some of the overseas tours. It is surprising then that we chose to deny the very systems that set out to remove the impact of human judgement on the results of the game.

+1 to DRS

The DRS was first implemented in Tests in 2008 when India toured Sri Lanka in a series they lost. The hosts made significantly better use of the system, making 11 successful reviews, while India managed just one. It is worthwhile to note that 29.71% of Swann’s 138 Test wickets have come via lbw decisions, the highest proportion for an off spinner in Test history, obviously aided by an intelligent use of Hawk-Eye technology. It will be worthwhile to note that Sachin Tendulkar was exonerated by a Hawk-Eye decision when he looked plumb in front of the stumps when batting on 28 facing Saeed Ajmal in the Mohali semi final of WC 2011. He survived and rest as they say is history.   

Denial hurts. And then we blame it on destiny.

Despite the clear utility that DRS offers, BCCI has chosen to harbour doubts over its efficacy. This self doubt and denial has played out to our own detriment and the Lord’s test was no exception. When Dravid caught Pieterson at leg slip and looked gone for good on 49, he asked for the referral and the slow motion cameras were inconclusive in proving that he was out. England yet again benefitted from whatever limited technology assistance the two boards have agreed upon to cruise to a memorable double century. Needless to say, India struggled to get the LBWs they so wanted just because they have refused to go for the ball tracking technology in this series.

Sometimes, for the system to favour you, you have to believe that it will work for you, just like it works for others. If you keep deliberating over whether she loves you or she doesn’t, take it from me, you will never quite get her. 



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