Saturday 3 September 2011

Who will Watch over the Watchmen?

When it comes to cricketing matters, rarely Sachin Tendulkar has set his foot wrong. He among other Indian cricketers has repeatedly expressed their apprehensions over the inconsistency of DRS technology since its inception. Looks like after the dubious decision made by the third umpire Erasmus to overrule the original decision of Rahul Dravid, the debate will go on.
Now, we have a situation where BCCI has finally managed to get the support in the form of Simon Taufel, who incidentally wasn’t pleased with the technology aids present at the on-going Australia – Srilanka Test Series in Srilanka. He has appealed ICC to centralise the DRS system such that, the flaws can be minimised tremendously.
There have been few suggestions for ICC, who being the body supreme to run cricket in the world to form a separate committee which will overlook the development and implementation of the DRS and other related technical aids. This will be a welcome move and the buck will stop at one point. With the current situation, a lot is expected out of broadcasters to come up with DRS system and like the quality of production varies from one broadcaster to the other, the worrying factor is that of different qualities of DRS system. Surely, I can stop this about this topic at the moment as I am sure there will be a huge discussion on this considering Indian cricket is most affected as a result of this inconsistency.
Coming to the match officials, it is paramount that the third umpire, the match referees and the on-field umpires take decisions based on the evidence that is present and not use their logic, mainly when it comes to taking decisions based on technology reviews. What we saw at Durham; there was no evidence to prove Rahul Dravid was out caught behind. There was no deviation and no mark on the hotspot. But the on-field decision of not out was overruled and out went Rahul Dravid. It wasn’t the first time hotspot went cold. So the question arises, do umpires consider hotspot and other technological aids to be valid or do they have apprehensions themselves?
Secondly, it was a bad decision made. Even though snickometer later suggested there might have been a nick, clearly the third umpire did not have any video evidence to give Dravid out. Yes, it could have been a humanly error but are the umpires who watch over the game seriously accountable such that they avoid taking illogical decisions?
Umpires are an important part of the game donning the non-glamorous role, nevertheless very important in deciding the outcome of a cricket game. Any aid available to assist them is a welcome move. At the moment, there seems to be an ideological chaos in the implementation of the technological aids. This is the time ICC takes a pro-active step in taking control over the technology and starts implementing in first-class cricket for all the necessary iterations and experimentations.
ICC must not create a controversy by leaving an open ended boundary with respect to the kind of technologies that can be used. It is time for ICC to make few decisions for rest of the cricketing fraternity to follow and in parallel establish themselves as the principle controller of the game, especially in matters relating to cricket’s logical evolution.
All great things take time and face opposition. But great things simply do not happen over time unless necessary actions are taken periodically and wholeheartedly.

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