Sunday MiD DAY spoke to experts on the merits and demerits of technology
DOES DRS stand for 'Dravid Removal System'? Rahul Dravid was yet again a victim of technological flaws in the Umpire Decision Review System during the first ODI against England at Chester-le-Street on Saturday. He was initially given not out by umpire Billy Doctrove as Stuart Broad appealed for a catch behind. A few minutes later, even Hot Spot wasn't convinced.
Stuart Broad (left) celebrates after taking the wicket of Rahul Dravid
at Chester-le-Street on Saturday. Pic/AFP
With snickometer (the other tool available to the broadcaster but not valid in adjudication) not accessible at once, third umpire Marais Erasmus relied on the faint sound echoing from the stump microphone to overturn Doctrove's decision. The strong Indian contingent in Durham was shattered!
Later, snickometer was convinced Dravid had nicked the ball. In theory, Dravid was a victim of gut feeling more than technological conviction. And that perhaps caused Ravi Shastri to attack the system on air, yet again. The former skipper pointed out that it is for this reason BCCI didn't support DRS.
Hot Spot predictable
Asad Rauf, a member of ICC's Elite Panel of Umpires, who attended a seminar of referees and umpires to improve DRS in Dubai last week, conceded that Hot Spot had 'become predictable' but that ICC was confident of 'polishing the product'. "We had a very interactive conference (in Dubai). The views of all referees and umpires were considered. We talked about other forms of evidence that can be looked at (besides snickometer and Hot Spot). One of things we spoke about was that the time factor was not essential to give good decisions. It's okay to deliberate the call as long as we get right decisions.
"One of the problems (we umpires) have spotted in Hot Spot is that it's become predictable and unable to detect straight deflections. The side-on deflections (and bouncing ball deflections) have been more easily evident in infra-red cameras," Rauf told SUNDAY MiD DAY from Pakistan.
With regards to Dravid's decision, Rauf said the third umpire made the right call. "If you look at Dravid's decision, there was a definite deflection but Hot Spot did not show it. That's why an umpire needs more tools at his disposal before arriving at a decision. Some of those tools may not necessarily be available to television audience. In the end, snickometer showed that the right decision was made, so it's unfair to attack the umpire," added Rauf. "ICC don't want to see any controversies," he concluded.
Mike Procter, a former ICC match referee, said it was important to seek advice from TV commentators to better the product. "If you go down to the history of it, the players are the ones who wanted DRS before administrators, viewers or umpires. Let's not forget that. ICC is trying its best to assemble the best possible product. Few years back, I felt Hawk-Eye and Hot Spot were used in big matches without being properly tested. Now, it's a lot better.
Time for a survey
"One of my suggestions to ICC is to take advice from current players and TV commentators. Advice of former players is necessary too, but commentators have seen the evolution of DRS. They are aware of its flaws and advantages. Instead of having seminars of just referees and umpires, ICC should invite commentators.
"They should do a survey -- if players feel DRS is not foolproof, then ICC must go back to the drawing board. If players are convinced, there's no reason why DRS shouldn't continue with minor tweaks here and there," he added.
RAVI Shastri left no stone unturned in dismissing the DRS following Rahul Dravid's decision on Saturday.
Shastri, a strong critic of the system, who coined the phrase, "Hot-Spot gone cold", echoed his views on air: "If technology is not conclusive, as it has been proven time and again on this tour, there's no use of having DRS. It's time to get rid of it. I stand by my personal views on this and it has been proven right today."
Shastri had earlier lashed out (on air) at Nasser Hussain after the latter criticised India for opposing DRS in a newspaper column.
Dravid's DRS woes continue...
>> In the third Test, he was ruled caught behind off James Anderson in India's second innings when his bat had struck his shoelace and he hadn't edged the ball. However, he didn't ask for a referral.
>> In the fourth Test, he was given out caught behind in India's second innings. He was ruled not out by the umpire but given out after referral by England though snickometer showed that there was no contact between bat and ball.