After Ashes mishaps are India vindicated for not using DRS?

After contentious decisions in this first Ashes test Amit Acharya looks at India's stance on the decision review system.

Since the ICC brought in the decision review system one team have stood firm in opposing this new technology. India have been criticised by many cricket pundits over the last few years for not embracing technology to aid umpires.

The first four days of the Ashes test has highlighted all the flaws with the system. Many pundits have had their say on the matter with no decisive answer. The first point of contention came on day one, the wicket of Chris Rodgers. He was victim of the umpires call rule. This basically means that if the call on an LBW decision is reviewed and the ball is only touching the stumps by a millimetre it will go with the umpire’s original call. This means that two players could receive the exact same ball with the exact same outcome of being hit on the pad, if the umpire were to give one of them out and the other not out, the DRS system could produce a different outcome. Add the fact that the Hawk Eye system which is used is not one hundred per cent accurate to this, makes the system flawed.

The biggest problem of the game came when Jonathan Trott had been given out; his review had been turned down because the people in charge of the technology had been busy showing the ball before. It was later shown that Trott clearly was not out, decisions like this could really cost teams. It has to be accepted that technology can go wrong, but when a player such as Rodgers or Trott are given out to umpires call decisions they should not lose their review. Alec Stewart suggested this exact thing. He believes that where the review is inconclusive the team it went against should not lose their review.

The other issue of contention is the fact that teams only have two reviews per innings. The problem with this is that a team may have two decisions go against them on umpires call and then have a real bad decision where the umpire has made a clear mistake. This could be a situation like what happened with the Stuart Broad decision. Australia had no reviews left and could not appeal a really bad decision. In my opinion this defeats the purpose of having the review system. On the note of bad umpiring, both England and Australia seem to have figured out that they should appeal for anything with these two umpires once the opposition have used up their reviews.

These are the exact reasons why India have refused to use DRS. The system does not necessarily make games fairer. There are a few possible solutions to this problem that the ICC will have to look into. One option is to give each team an extra two reviews upon every new ball in the innings, another could be to take the powers away from players and have a system similar to what they have in rugby where the referee has the power to review their own decisions. They could also look at getting rid of human umpires totally or just simply going back to the old system of no reviews and excepting decisions made by humans. If I had a choice I would go back to the old system which had worked in the past.

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