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Sunday, 31 July 2011

DRS Irony at Trent Bridge

The momentum kept shifting between England and India on day two of the Trent Bridge test. Another fantastic day of test match cricket.

India got ahead on the back of two good partnerships, anchored by the Wall Rahul Dravid, yet again. Some excellent stroke play by the sublime Laxman and aggressive Yuvraj got India into the drivers seat. Or did it? Stuart Broad had different ideas. He picked 5 Indian wickets for 0 runs, including a hat-trick, to rudely wrap up the Indian innings from a strong position of 267-4 to 288 all out. India missed the opportunity to gain a bigger first innings advantage, now restricted to 67 runs. This may be plenty, provided India bowl a disciplined length on day three. The heavy roller in the morning and the sunny conditions will certainly make batting just that bit easier. Pressure in session one will certainly be on Ishant and Sreesanth to produce the goods for India, and on Strauss and Bell to play out the session without losing a wicket.

The DRS debate hit centre-stage twice on this fascinating test match day. If you are a fan of irony, get a piece of this.

It started with an unmistakable conflict in the results produced by HotSpot and Snicko. Worth noting that HotSpot claims 90-95% accuracy and is mandated for use in the DRS. Yet when Laxman apparently nicked one to Prior off Anderson, HotSpot confirmed he hadn't. Snicko soon confirmed he had. Note thay Snicko is not used in the DRS and is only for the viewing pleasure of TV audiences. Laxman survived and England lost a review. Partial technology use, decision wrong.

India refuses use of HawkEye, arguing the projected path technology is not yet mature. England on the other hand have argued strongly in favour of using this technology and a full DRS. Compromise in the current series, a partial DRS. LBW decisions which mainly use HawkEye projected path technology are not up for DRS reviews.

Later in the day, the wheel turned. Harbhajan nicked one onto his pads from Broad, and was given out LBW, but could not review it. Partial DRS use, decision wrong.

In all the power play and quibbling, the ICC is missing out on some simple home truths. Let's revisit the possibilities.

Should decisions be challenged by players at all or should umpires take all the technology support they need, if they need it, and give their verdict? No challenge, no reviews, just technology supported decisions if and when the onfield and third umpire are in doubt. What's wrong with that?

Is there a case for ICC mandating use of all technology for all decisions in all series?

So we may lose 5 overs in a 90 over test match day. Not the end of the earth, is it? Besides why all the fuss about 90 over days, they could be very thrilling, and fair, even if they were 85 overs.

In case you've not considered this, the commercial breaks on TV caused by "decision breaks" could add millions in advertising revenue. There you go, problem solved. Is the ICC listening?

Catch you soon. Enjoy day three at Trent Bridge.
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