Umpiring decisions can always be debatable in cricket, but hang on! Even the calls made by the Decision Review System (DRS) can be dubious like it happened during the second T20 match between India and New Zealand in Auckland on Friday. Once again, the DRS has come under hammer after New Zealand batsman Daryl Mitchell was given out in a controversial LBW dismissal. While the snickometer (audio) failed to show any involvement of the bat, hotspot clearly suggested the ball kisses the bat. The decision triggered a debate on the spirit of the game. Experts, analysts and umpires have lashed out at the Third Umpire’s contentious decision whilst calling for superior umpiring practises.
DRS under cricket laws
Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra tweeted, “And to make it worse. NZ have lost the review too. EPIC?? (sic),”. Not just him, cricket analyst and commentator Harsha Bhogle wrote on Twitter, “Once the DRS messed it up there was no solution other than asking the batsman to leave. The 3rd umpire has preferred snicko over hot spot. We haven’t heard the last of this (sic).” While the cricketing rules say that if there’s no concrete evidence to declare a batsman out, then the batsman should be given the benefit of doubt. However, DRS system, introduced by ICC doesn’t fall under the laws of Cricket. Cricket administrator and former Third Umpire M.R. Singh states that the practise of ‘on-field umpire call stays’ had to be eliminated. He further adds that the Third Umpire should also be brought under the common rules of cricket and should be empowered to take decisions independently. “If the Third umpire doesn’t get enough evidence to overturn the on-field umpire’s decision, then he automatically sticks to the decision made by the on-field umpire. That’s what happened with New Zealand batsman Daryl Mitchell,” says M.R. Singh, adding, “But this is a wrong practise. The Third Umpire should be empowered with taking decisions independently and should take decisions based on what he sees and not be influenced by the on-field umpire’s call.”
Umpires need more time
Umpire Marcus Couto couldn’t have agreed more. Admitting that the third Umpire committed a mistake, he adds that the umpire should have take more time and better camera angles. “Yes, unfortunately it was a mistake and he (Daryl Mitchell) should have been given ‘not out’ as the replay suggests. Perhaps he should have taken more time and better camera angles to give the decision. But these things do happen and third umpires too make mistakes. The only way forward is not to repeat them,” shares Marcus.
Not a technology fan
Interestingly, former cricketer Sreesanth says that he’s s not a big fan of technology. He further adds that it has its own pros and cons. “Technology is introduced to minimise the human errors. But if the third empire gets it wrong, it is up to the administrators and ICC to look into the DRS system. Sometimes umpiring decisions affect a player’s morale, but that's the game, you take everything,” explains Sreesanth.
BCCI stands vindicated
Former BCCI’s General Manager (game development) Ratnakar Shetty takes the opportunity to recall why BCCI has opposed the introduction of DRS. He further clarifies that DRS is not foolproof and BCCI stands vindicated. “We opposed DRS because whatever technology is introduced into the game should be transparent and authentic. However, ICC claims that the performance of Umpires have gone up to 98 per cent from 95 per cent after the introduction of DRS. But we introspect every time whenever controversial decisions are taken,” says Ratnakar Shetty.