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As I watched the West Indies and Zimbabwe’s World Cup match in Canberra, it was as clear as dogs testicles that the DRS is flawed with the reviews of Gayle and Chakabva’s LBW’s and Brendan Taylor’s caught behind.

 

Before I am accused of being negative, I need to emphasise that Gayle’s knock was an absolute gem of an innings, and I congratulate him as one of crickets greatest entertainers for his record-breaking innings in World Cup Cricket and for his extraordinary partnership record with Marlon Samuels. This post should not be viewed as downplaying or taking away a moment of history by any small means. 

 

Upfront, I am not a big fan of DRS. I am a player, and the view can differ wildly from the field vs the couch. I understand the temptation to include animation and technology in new and exciting ways for the tv viewers - BUT should it be used at the peril of a perfectly good human being who is highly skilled and qualified in their job to confer with their peers to make a decision? Is it now just a matter of time before the Ref is traded in for an electronic whizz-bang gadget or two or three or four - infinitely more precise, less intrusive, more exact than it's human predecessors? 

 

The umpires are part of the game action. They are as pivotal to the outcome of the game as the players and equipment and pitch and audience and coaches etc.. Their decisions and skill are admired and talked about by players and fans around the world.  They are just as important to the game as the players when they cross that white line. 

 

Equally, they are paid to do a job and that is to adjudicate. They sift through the ranks and only the best float to the top, just like the players.  They spend  long hours perfecting and learning their craft, and with good performances under their belt, they are rewarded with the honour of international selection.  An umpire’s quality is in his decision making and knowledge of the game first, and secondly, in his all-round fit within the cricketing culture (personality, credibility, professionalism, reliability, commitment etc…).  If he has all of these credentials, then we have a perfect addition to the entertainment and thrill of our game. If just one exists, then please let it be decision making at least.

 

With DRS, the umpires lose ownership of their craft, having the safety net of players referring a dubious decision if the adjudicator is daydreaming. There was nothing better as a youngster than seeing the umpire under pressure in a tight match, making the correct decision. That human element is gripping.   The DRS was introduced for the howlers that umpires seldom make, not to add pandemonium to an unclear decision that is ultimately ‘given’.  

 

The golden rule used to be …. “when in doubt give the batter not out?”.

 

The LBW’s of Gayle and Chakabva’s were howlers because the technology was inconsistent. To me, both were out, hitting the stumps well below the bails. It bamboozles me that we rely on this technology that can’t get the bounce of the delivery proximately right. I saw the Gayle review and thought to myself, is it the computer tracking the line of the ball or is the technician operating the equipment drawing an estimated calculation of the event? I know that sounds naive but my instinct tells me that it simply does not compute!

 

The Brendan Taylor dismissal had four camera angles frozen at once showing uncertainty of where a slight noise had come from. The one thing that was conclusive, was that the ball came off the forearm. There was so much doubt in the decision as to whether the ball had glanced the bat or glove, that I was questioning the integrity of this great game.

 

If technology is used to enable players to question and try to overturn an umpires decisions with two reviews per innings, then why not have technology make decisions in all cases?

 

Either have the human element or the computer element, not both. I want the human element, I want an umpire to be respected for their skill.  I want them to be accountable for their decisions.  I want the umpire to aspire to be the fairest and best of them all – just like the players do.

In all decisions the referee’s decision is final!  We can respect that. We Respect the Ref.

 

 

Written by the Left Arm Chinamen still complaining about Rudi Koertzen not giving Brian Lara out in a 2003 test match when I had him plum. It was the best ball I ever bowled Rudi!?!

PS:  Still love you mate!

  • DRS
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