Trust Ravi Shastri to tell it like it is. “It’s (Decision Review System) there to take the howler out of cricket, but all it’s done is at times when it doesn’t work it creates so much bloody confusion that it’s not funny,” is what the former India captain turned commentator said on the contentious DRS in yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald.
Although Shastri’s comment comes close on the heels of former ICC elite panel umpire Daryl Harper’s critical view of the DRS in MiD DAY (July 22), he has been a non-supporter of the technology long before it started competing as a talking point with Australia’s meek surrender in the ongoing Ashes series.
Shastri, it can be recalled, had an on-air verbal duel with Nasser Hussain during the Nottingham Test of the 2011 India vs England series and has not shied away from expressing himself on the fact that the technology used to adjudicate dismissals is not perfect. “For a while I thought I was speaking French,” he told MiD DAY yesterday.
Shastri’s practicality of the DRS at ICC meetings (he is part of the apex body’s Cricket Committee as the media representative) has centred around the now well established fact that the technology falls short and that two referrals are far too less. Shastri has stressed before that this is a 22-player sport and there is a need for multiple referrals.
On the argument of this scenario slowing down the game, he felt that in any case, the game is slowed down through insufficient technology using up time for decisions. The point about the restriction on referrals being unfair to middle order batsmen is not lost on Shastri, who felt if a side’s top order includes some big names, they would thrive on the two referrals first. Fair point on an unfair occurrence!
In tennis, players are allowed three referrals per set and one more in a tie-break.
That BCCI is always targeted and referred to as the game’s big bullies has brought out the aggressive side of the erstwhile all-rounder. In response to all the cynicism over the Indian Premier League, Shastri once said in these columns: “If someone gets a stomach upset it is because of the IPL.” But coming back to the DRS and its foibles, Shastri, who likes the words ‘get up, stand up; stand up for your rights’ of Bob Marley, sure stands vindicated.