Technology was supposed to eradicate complaints about officiating but all it’s doing is driving more people mad.
The Decision Review System (DRS) has already come under fire this series and fed-up cricket fans threw their arms up in despair after another call on day four of India’s convincing win at the MCG showed law-makers have a long way to go to get the process right.
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Off-spinner Ravi Ashwin’s LBW shout against Mitchell Starc was turned down by the on-field umpire but the Indians believed the Aussie quick had been trapped in front, so went upstairs for a review.
Hawkeye showed part of the ball was going to hit the stumps, but not the whole ball, so deemed it still close enough for Starc to be given the benefit of the doubt, and the decision was left as “umpire’s call”.
Had the on-field umpire given Starc out and he reviewed, then he would have been sent packing. But because the official kept his finger down initially, Starc was given a reprieve.
The incident had no bearing on the result — Starc made his way to 14 but ran out of partners when the Aussies were bowled out for 200 in their second innings, and India cruised through the modest run chase to secure a clinical eight-wicket win.
It’s not the accuracy of the technology, but the way DRS is used — with two possible outcomes available depending on the umpire’s original call — that has left a sour taste in many people’s mouths.
“I hate this umpire’s call,” former Australian bowler Brett Lee said on Fox Cricket. “I’m sorry, that is out … look at where it’s hitting, smashing into middle and leg.”
Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar didn’t like DRS during in his playing days and is deadset against “umpire’s call” being used.
“I am not convinced with the DRS rule at all,’’ he said in a podcast. “Why do players go to third umpire — because they are not happy with the on-field umpire’s decision.
“Once you go upstairs the on-field decision should not come into consideration at all.
“It really does not matter if the ball is hitting 10 per cent or 15 per cent of the wicket. It should not matter because when you get bowled, no one talks about it.
“Since we have decided to go ahead with technology let’s back it. In a period of time we will get closer to 100 per cent. At least in everyone’s mind we are clear if the ball is hitting any part of the stump (it is out).’’
Tendulkar added on Twitter: “The DRS system needs to be thoroughly looked into by the @ICC, especially for the ‘Umpires Call’.”
Cricket journalist Melinda Farrell tweeted: “It’s past Christmas but DRS is still handing out gifts to us all.
“The really frustrating thing is that the line for the bails is actually under the bails. That is ridiculous. It’s like two sets of rules within one game.”
Sports journalist Tim Michell wrote: “DRS is having a mare.”
Even AFL star Josh Jenkins was riled up. “Farcical rule the LBW DRS … IF it’s hitting the stumps it’s hitting the stumps. Simple!” he wrote on Twitter.
Iconic cricket commentator Jim Maxwell said: “DRS needs a hearing aid and ophthalmic surgery … joking but chew it out.”
Joe Burns was lucky to survive an LBW shout in his second innings when India reviewed after he was given not out. As in Starc’s case, Hawkeye showed the ball would have hit the stumps but because not enough of it was clipping the timber, the Aussie opener was given a life.
On day one Marnus Labuschagne looked like he’d been trapped plumb in front of his pegs by Ashwin only for DRS to claim the ball was bouncing over the top of the bails — prompting Shane Warne and plenty of others to voice their disbelief at what the technology had come up with.
Speaking to reporters after the loss in Melbourne, Aussie captain Tim Paine lamented the “frustrating” hypocrisy on display with regards to how DRS was used during the Test, filthy he’d been given out caught behind when Indian star Cheteshwar Pujara survived in near-identical circumstances.