West Indies’ coach Ottis Gibson played down the wrong line, to use a cricketing term, for criticising the Decision Review System (DRS) and as expected, copped a 20 per cent fine of his match fee by the International Cricket Council in the recent Australia vs West Indies Test in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
The ICC code of conduct does not allow officials involved in a game to speak their mind on an issue and Gibson touched upon a very sensitive one — the DRS. While ICC match referee Jeff Crowe went by the guidelines and punished Gibson, this does not erase the fact that the review system is flawed in the eyes of several teams and not just India. The BCCI is often ridiculed for their hesitancy to embrace the DRS in series which their team participates in. Now, support is trickling in.
With the DRS not gaining universal acceptance, the game’s rulers must do something to enhance the technology of the system or stop using it. It is quite clear that costs are coming in the way of checking whether the umpire has got it wrong. Hot Spot is not being implemented in the current three-Test series between Australia and West Indies due to a cost issue.
At the end of the day, to use technology that can misfire is wrong. Probably, the time has come for all cricket Boards to decide that the human eye in the game must be used in critical cases.
Sure, there will be complains from teams over certain decisions. The ICC can look into those after the game and rate the umpire accordingly.
Neutral umpires have had a good effect on the game, but without foolproof technology, the ICC cannot claim the same kind of credit for the DRS.
Cricket is batting on a sticky wicket and the game can be a lot fairer.