Australian coach Justin Langer has floated a simple solution to the Big Bash League’s umpiring quandary.
For several years, cricket fans and players have called for the DRS to be brought into the Australian domestic T20 competition.
Those pleas grew to a deafening volume this week following a pair of shocking umpiring blunders.
On Tuesday evening, Perth Scorchers paceman Andrew Tye was denied a wicket after the umpire missed a blatant outside edge from Sydney Thunder opener Usman Khawaja.
Then at the Gabba on Wednesday, Brisbane Heat batsman Tom Cooper was incorrectly given out LBW despite smacking the ball onto his pads.
Although the DRS would eradicate any threat of umpiring howlers, the cost of implementing the technology at every BBL game is estimated to be around $2 million.
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Speaking to reporters on Thursday morning, Langer sympathised with Cricket Australia’s decision to hold off introducing DRS technology following a financially straining 2020.
“In an ideal world, of course there’d be DRS,” Langer said. “But we also live in a world of huge costs.
“This summer, hopefully the revenue will stay pretty constant, but there’s been huge costs … you’ve got to work out what the priorities are.
“In the perfect world, the DRS is in, yes. But I get the bigger picture of the expense that requires.”
However, Langer suggested the third umpire should be allowed to intervene and overturn an on-field umpire’s blatantly incorrect decision.
“With technology as we have, there’s got to be some common sense,” Langer said.
“I’d love to think that it’s so obvious, with the ear-pieces and technology, the umpires are allowed to change their decision.
“In my view, if a batsman’s walking off, and it is that obvious, there’s no reason that the third umpire surely couldn’t (intervene).
“That’s common sense, everyone sees what they see. It might take away a bit of the angst actually.”
Although Langer’s proposition sounds beneficial in theory, AAP journalist Scott Bailey pointed out on Twitter: “Back in BBL01, third umpires could jump in and overturn calls if they saw a howler on replay. That system (without technology) was shouted out of domestic cricket very fast. But surely if players ask for the reviews instead, that’s an improvement on current situation.”
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Former Australian spin bowler Shane Warne joined the chorus of voices defiantly begging for the DRS to be used in the BBL.
“Enough is enough,” Warne said on Fox Cricket on Wednesday evening. “If we want to take this competition seriously, we’ve got to have DRS. Cricket Australia just have to pay for it. We can’t have these decisions.
“I feel for Tony, he’s just made a mistake, but we’ve seen too much of it. If we want this competition to be up there with the best competitions in the world, I’m sorry, but it’s not fair to us here at Fox, or at Channel 7 the rights’ holders, to pay for DRS. It’s a Cricket Australia competition.
“We feel for these guys, it’s nothing personal against each of the umpires … we know the umpiring position is such a tough job.
“But we just can’t have these decisions and mistakes. It’s human, we’re going to make mistakes, but we need to have DRS.”