Talking Point: Is DRS ruining the Ashes?

Usman Khawaja is the latest cricketer to hit the headlines due to a Decision Review System (DRS) controversy. It’s a system that is not doing what it says on the tin.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland has sought clarification from the International Cricket Council (ICC) over the DRS procedure which resulted in his dismissal in the third Investec Ashes Test at Old Trafford.

Khawaja fell for 1 after being given out caught behind by umpire Tony Hill. The third umpire Kumar Dharmasena failed to reverse the decision despite none of the available technology showing the supposed edge.

Shane Warne. At the WACA gound on 15/10/2006 P...

Shane Warne (credit Wikipedia)

It led the Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, to tweet that it was the worst decision he had ever seen. Shane Warne described the verdict as “absolutely shocking.”

The Ashes series has been littered with such mishaps. Stuart Broad failed to walk despite an obvious edge in the first Test when Australia had no reviews remaining.

Surely it’s time to remember why DRS was introduced

It was to ensure that the correct decisions are made. Take another step forward from there and better, more consistent use of technology is needed and perhaps a few more reviews per side in each innings.

There is nothing less satisfying that seeing an obvious umpiring error when the team on the receiving end has no reviews left to challenge it – a Steve Smith lbw to Jimmy Anderson springs to mind when the England team were left frustrated and Smith progressed to add a significant partnership with Michael Clarke.

Australian’s cricket columnist, Gideon Haigh, said the DRS “had another of those days when it looks like your grandma trying to make a call on a smartphone and accidentally downloading a snuff movie.”

“Khawaja, a young man fighting for his career, was a victim; Steve Smith, ditto, was a beneficiary,” Haigh Continued. “Australia came out ahead, but the game overall was the loser, for cricket’s continuing officiation crisis overshadowed a stoic, battling hundred from Michael Clarke.”

ashes620_2036380bSutherland and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) called upon the ICC to explain the procedures leading to Jonathan Trott being given out lbw via DRS in the first Test at Trent Bridge.

Sutherland’s statement concerning Khawaja said, “Cricket Australia has sought an explanation from the ICC on the dismissal of Usman Khawaja.

“In our view, the on-field decision and referred decision using DRS were both incorrect. CA remains a strong supporter of DRS and believes it is important that cricket continues to improve and build confidence in the DRS.

“We understand and accept that from time to time mistakes can be made, however in this instance, on behalf of the player, the team and all cricket fans, we feel duty bound to seek further explanation as to how this decision was arrived at.”

Australian opening batsman, Chris Rogers, at the other end and party to the review, said, “It was disappointing and another question mark.

“It’s a weird thing because it is people’s careers on the line. You want these decisions to be right.”

That is the crux of the issue.

We all want the decisions to be right.

We want batsman to be out when they are out. We want the batsman saved if he is in.

We want umpires assisted not impeded.

We want bowlers fairly rewarded.

Supporters want a good clean fight.

And most of all we want a game where the talking points are a great cover drive, a wonderful catch or a marvellous piece of reverse swing.

DRS was introduced to achieve all of the above and yet it is causing more controversy that ever before.

“I still think it is important,” added Rogers.” We want technology to make sure these decisions are correct and sometimes it goes for you and sometimes it goes against you.”

“ You just have to take it.”

But can the game take much more?

James Buttler

James Buttler

James has been working as a cricket journalist and broadcaster since 2006.
As the editor of Cricket Badger he is intent on building the website to give quality coverage of the domestic game around the world.
James was the full-time Media Manager at Yorkshire County Cricket Club between 2007 and 2010.
James is a published author and a writer/video contributor to many cricket publications.
He's unsurprisingly a complete cricket badger!
James Buttler

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