Mumbai: Virat Kohli’s Team India is currently taking on England in a five match Test series. The first Test at Rajkot was a draw. In the second Test at Vizag, India got the better of the visitors by 246 runs. The series for the first time is being played with the Decision Review System (DRS) on the Indian soil. The DRS results have been mixed for both the teams and we would find out which team dealt with it better and how it made the system work in its favour.
India and DRS go a long way back. The Men in Blue was the first team, which played under DRS (when it was under trial) in Sri Lanka in 2008. India lost that series 2-1 and there were lots of confusions over India’s usage vis-à-vis its counterparts and the consensus was that there were lots of ambiguities and uncertainties over the system. The Indian team told the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that it wasn’t convinced and BCCI put the system on the back burner.
The 2011 World Cup was played under DRS and India had no choice but to accept it. The DRS drama that unfolded led to more resentments and disapproval of the system. The group match played between England and India at Bengaluru was a tied match but the turning point came when Ian Bell wasn’t adjudged Leg before Wicket (LBW) and India called for a review. The review showed that the ball was hitting the stumps, but Bell got away because he was down the track. India’s captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, was left fuming and didn’t mince his words and the mistrust grew.
In the same World Cup India took on arch rivals Pakistan in the semi-final at Mohali and Sachin Tendulkar was trapped plumb in front off Saeed Ajmal. Those who saw with the naked eye thought it was a straight-forward decision and the umpire, Ian Gould agreed to it, but courtesy DRS, Tendulkar was saved. The Indian team says that technology is not cent percent and it cannot play with a faulty system.
Except India, all the full members were playing under DRS and India didn’t play because it opposed it and got away because of the power it wielded in the International Cricket Council (ICC). But what is it that led to change in perception? From Tendulkar to Dhoni, there were divisions as far as DRS was concerned. Anil Kumble, head coach of India, went to MIT in America and was given a full presentation. Kumble was apprised of the pros and cons of DRS. The problem lies with captains, who use it for tactical decisions and undermine the system.
India has now come on board and has taken baby steps to play with the review system. So far in the series against England, Indians are having a hard time to grasp the concept and have made many blunders. Cheteshwar Pujara, who was closing in on his hundred used it well to overturn the umpire’s decision and went on to reach the three-figure- mark before a home crowd at Rajkot But there’s another side to it. Pujara got a raw deal when he didn’t review a decision, which could have been reversed if the non-striker Murali Vijay had paid little attention to the umpire’s call at Rajkot. The fundamental job of when to use the review lies with the wicket-keeper and the bowler. They are the ones, who have to agree and make a decision in 15 seconds.
To infer on the basis of experience, the Decision Review System is the need of the hour to give the umpires some breather. It now remains to the ICC to show some spine and run the game for all its members and not for a select few.