Infusion Of Technology Viable In Cricket?

07/01/2015 8:19 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST
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Indian batsman Virat Kohli plays at a ball on day 3 of the fourth cricket Test match against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Series at the Adelaide Oval on January 26, 2012. Today marks Australia Day and India Republic Day respectively. IMAGE STRICTLY RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE-STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE AFP PHOTO/Tony ASHBY (Photo credit should read TONY ASHBY/AFP/Getty Images)

A number of decisions in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar series have once again raised the eyebrows of many experts regarding Board of Cricket Control for India's (BCCI) continued opposition to use the Decision Review System (DRS).

During the first test in Adelaide, cricket was transported back into an era of manual umpiring, thanks to the obstinate refusal of team India to embrace the technology. The result? There were some bizarre manual errors that could have easily been overturned with the use of replays.

David Warner got a life when he was clearly out. Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan was given out after the ball brushed his shoulder. Nathan Lyon was unsuccessful amid a flurry of appeals. There were similar decisions that happened in Brisbane and Melbourne.

However, we only get to see some nasty looks from Indian players when wrongly given out by the standing officials. Rather than being furious at manual errors, if they would have an option of decision review, things would have been different.

After a constant debate over the use of Decision Review System (DRS), two years ago International Cricket Council (ICC) announced that a team's referrals would be topped up to two after 80 overs in an innings in Test cricket. Earlier, teams were only permitted a maximum of two reviews per innings.

One of the biggest talking points of the year 2013 Ashes series between Australia and England was the DRS--its use, its accuracy, its relevance. There had been some bizarre decisions from both on-and off-field umpires in that series that created their own slice of controversy. It moved even the former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd to tweet about it:

Much of the debate has centered on the future of the technology, whether it is a boon or bane for international cricket. However, former International cricket umpire Dr. Satish Gupta feels that though on-field decisions are indispensable to maintain the repute and traditions of cricket, but the infusion of technology is equally necessary for the fairness and perfections in decisions.

"DRS is a good technique in the making", he says, adding, "It is an effective tool to reduce mistakes in international matches."

Uttar Pradesh State team cricketer and former Indian under-19 vice captain, Akshdeep Nath feels that DRS has helped and improved decisions and that it is good to use the technology to get the best opportunities for a fair game with minimum complaints.

In addition to DRS, trials have also been conducted on Snickometer, which, it is hoped, will compliment the Hot Spot technology. Both Snickometer and Hot Spot are used for detecting the faintest of touches between the bat and the ball.

Ever since the introduction of advance technology in assessment way back in 1992, it has been debated and argued; first came the third umpire in 1992 and subsequently in 2009, ICC devised a method of DRS which ran into all sorts of controversies. With manual errors being more contentious, ICC has now further modified DRS, what we have, instead, is a tweak.

However, many debate that the technology is not 100 per cent accurate but using a calculator does not guarantee 100 per cent accuracy either, but it is usually more reliable than mental arithmetic.

Interestingly, other sports are adopting the technologies in bringing more efficacy to their game. Like in football where goal-line technology , which determines that the ball has crossed the goal line with assistance of electronic devices like Hawk-Eye, has been adopted. Tennis has also adopted the DRS with Hawk-Eye technology, to visually track the trajectory of ball and display a record of its most likely path as a moving image.

However, DRS in cricket has suffered a blow in recent times, but it still remains a demonstrably more effective way of arriving at more correct decisions. Regardless of the fact whether BCCI likes it or hates it, it will be in use for the ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in February and March, 2015.

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