ICC must apply DRS to every Test match: Ian Chappell | columns | Hindustan Times
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ICC must apply DRS to every Test match: Ian Chappell

The ICC should provide the same high-standard technology for all Test matches which employ the DRS.

columns Updated: Oct 29, 2016 20:31 IST
The BCCI had opposed the DRS because the technology was not reliable.
The BCCI had opposed the DRS because the technology was not reliable.(Getty Images)

The BCCI have finally relented and will now trial the Decision Review System (DRS) for the England series. However, at the same time it should’ve insisted on the ICC applying the same laws to all Test matches.

It’s been bad enough that one country refused to use the DRS --- although I agreed with the BCCI’s stand on trust --- but the fact that the same standard of technology isn’t part of the worldwide process is illogical.

The ICC should provide the same high-standard technology for all matches. Having the rich countries utilising the best technology and the poorer nations using minimal equipment means the game is played under different laws in different parts of the world.

The ICC should also control the complete umpiring procedure rather than rely on television to be a part of the process. If the ICC wishes to recoup the cost of controlling the decision-making process they could do so by including it in the sale of television rights.

De-clutter schedule

Cricket administrators are currently looking at ways to add “context” to all three forms of the game. Making every match matter by employing a league-style format would go a long way towards de-cluttering a schedule that is currently as haphazard as India’s road rules.

A realistic and meaningful schedule combined with a DRS that is fair and technologically proficient would be a big step forward in levelling the international cricket playing field.

However, cleaning up the schedule will not be a straightforward task as it means obtaining consensus at the ICC. Until the ICC has an independent board rather than the heads of each cricket-playing country, it will continue to reflect the thoughts of former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating who stated: “Always back self-interest because you know it’s a goer.”

The plan to have a league-type structure in all forms of the game is a sensible idea and would be of great benefit to the version most in need --- Test cricket.

Nevertheless, it’s not feasible to de-clutter the international schedule if the administrators don’t address the elephant in the room; the phenomenon of T20 cricket.

Forced to choose

The inflationary increase in T20 leagues means it’s impossible to not have conflict of interest. Increasingly, players are being forced into a situation where they have to choose between the excellent money on offer from the T20 leagues and representing their country.

The players are the ones who are castigated when they choose the mercenary route but it’s the administrators --- with their obsession for a strong bottom line --- who are forcing them to decide.

A detailed review of international scheduling will bring the administrators to a point where they’ve found decision making easy in recent times --- choosing between money or the best interests of the game. The best interests have continually run a distant last.

That is summed up perfectly in the upcoming situation where Australia finish their last T20 match at home against Sri Lanka the day before they’re due to commence a Test in India.

That means if Australia are to fulfill their stated aim of “doing better in India”, they will have to field a virtual third-tier T20 side against Sri Lanka.

The ideal outcome from this scheduling mess would be for the Australian fans to rebel. If they don’t turn up in large numbers for the T20 games, it would send a strong message to the administrators and make a mockery of the saying: “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

I would love to see a situation where every Test is a qualifying game for an eventual World Test Championship; where each ODI counts for qualification to a prestige tournament every two years and where T20 leagues have ‘a window’ and the winners then compete in a Champions League style competition.

I’d love to see a situation where the DRS, with the very best technology and ICC officials in complete control of the process, is applied to every Test. I just don’t think it’s going to happen in my lifetime.