India have been reluctant to accept the Decision Review System (DRS) and their aversion to it reflects in their inability to use it to their advantage. Considering that the best of umpires can be prone to errors, it's a massive tool to have. But, its effectiveness lies in your judgment. And, having been successful in just two of their 11 referrals at the ongoing World Cup, MS Dhoni's call on the reviews certainly cannot be rated highly.
In their massive World Cup game against Australia too, the judgment of the Men in Blue was awry as they wasted both their bowling referrals. Ricky Ponting and his team benefitted. In fact, the Australian skipper has to thank India's poor use of referrals for helping him reach his 32nd ODI century.
Ponting, on 98, was caught in front of the wicket by a Harbhajan delivery in the 44th over, but umpire Ian Gould negated the appeal. Replays showed Ponting was plumb but India were helpless as they had already wasted their two chances by then. Ponting escaped. It was the second over of the batting powerplay and Ponting helped add 27 more invaluable runs with David Hussey. It was a crucial period of play as Australia had started the Power Play at 199 for five, and were struggling for momentum. Ponting and Hussey amassed 44 runs without losing a wicket to take their team to 243 for five at the end of the five-over period.
India's call for the first referral was a piece of poor judgment between skipper and 'keeper Dhoni and the bowler Munaf Patel.
It was taken on the second ball of the 28th over against Ponting. It hit the batsman above the knee roll and was clearly too high. Dhoni didn't even appeal and still went with Patel's judgment.
India's second piece of poor judgment was in the 38th over, by R Ashwin, when Cameron White went for the sweep, and the Indians appealed for a catch off the glove. India went for the review, but the ball had come off the forearm.
There is very little to separate between the top teams and every point counts. India will do well to not let go of this massive advantage that technology offers to atone for the human error.
All teams have different captains for each department — bowling, fielding and batting. India might have to look at having someone who specialises in taking a call on the DRS. Of course, it is vital for at least one member, ideally the bowler, to be convinced the verdict will go their way.