Back in the early 90’s, the game of cricket was presented to be viewed through the eyes of technology. It became a revelation immediately, but still twisted and twirled the minds of certain people who prefer the old-fashioned way the game was being played for decades. Slowly, but surely it began to gain trust & momentum through the cricket lovers across the globe even though it still does not sail fluently. It all started with the run outs being referred to the 3rd umpire and today presents itself with a debatable DRS.
Technology has always been under scrutiny and subjected to consistent meddling by various broadcasters for the sake of better viewing and reducing errors in umpiring dismissals. A significant change after the 3rd umpire run out system has to be the DRS simply because the DRS combined a decade of technological advancements in cricket into a single package. When such an achievement has been accomplished it is necessary to introspect whether the system needs further gratification in its implementation or the need of the system itself.
The flaws of current DRS system are exhaustive by the nature of its implementation. The constraint for the teams to stick with a limited number of reviews is like using the DRS system with chance and not with any assurance. What follows with this flaw is another issue that a team will be denied a review even though it won the review on its initial claim of dismissal, but failed on other counts. Kallis dismissal during the Pakistan tour of South Africa was a significant example where he was adjudged LBW after being reviewed for a catch. The decision was fair, but South Africa still lost a review. DRS is supposed to be a package of number of technological advancements over a decade, but still prefers not to consider SNICKO meter as a reference. “Umpire’s Call” in DRS is a contradicting issue where the decision can be out or not out based on the umpire’s original decision and not based on the accuracy of hawk-eye. Another issue which has kept the DRS critics on their toes is when the technology fails at certain decisions like the hot spot turning cold. With such a DRS in place, even the 3rd umpire hands are tied to go with technology and not with the naked eye.
DRS is a revolutionary change in the game of cricket and certainly its presence helps towards decision making. Escape is not a solution and it applies to those who prefer to live with error prone decisions considering them as a part & parcel of the game. There is a chance to make this beautiful sport a better place for both the batsman and bowlers, but then why live with something less deserving and having to regret after the replays.
Let the DRS system be clinched away from the hands of the players. The on-field umpires have their task cut out to give decisions and the 3rd umpire controls the DRS before a final call is made. There will be no concern for the 3rd umpire in case of outright clean catches, bowled other than doubts in the mind of on-field umpire that the bowler has over stepped. In other situations involving a feathery edge or lbw decisions, bring the 3rd umpire call into perspective after the on field umpires have given a decision. Let the hot spot, hawk eye,snicko, slow motion replays as well as real time replay be considered. If the decision is not out, by the time the players to get back to the respective positions, the 3rd umpire can confirm it. Similarly, when the batsman in given out, by the time he even leaves the field, the 3rd umpire can confirm it. In case of the technology failing like at times when the hot spot turn cold, the naked eye’s perspective should overrule the decision shown by technology and both the teams should accept it.
Obviously with this system put into place, the split second emotions and sentiments are missed out. If the time delay is a concern, then it has to be taken as a necessary evil just like those silly run-out decisions where the on-field umpires more often than not go to the 3rd umpire. The margin of error being reduced should be of higher priority than the time being taken to implement it. Atleast this way, the spirit of cricket will be talked about on the basis of players breaking the law and not on the basis of players trying to find loop holes in the laws of cricket.
No matter how good the technology is optimized, the flaws still remain hidden to us unless and until someone exploits it. Even with the above modified DRS system being implemented, there will be a decision which can contradict the way it was implemented. But are we going to stagnate the DRS by looking into the future of how it is going to fail or is it better to modify the way it is today and continue optimizing it. DRS is need for a drastic overhaul, but today it looks like the ICC wants us to fall in order of the current DRS and live with its flaws.