There may be genuine misgivings about the technology used for the Umpires’ Decision Referral System, but it still baffles me why India should say no to its use in the Test series against South Africa.
One does understand that there are concerns that the technology used in tracking the ball — its line and height — once it hits the pads may not be foolproof.
Therefore, many players and experts feel that relying on it for a decision does not make sense. Till a sound and convincing method is devised, it is best to leave it to the umpires to judge whether a batsman is out or not.
There are many who also believe that given the plethora of laws which govern the game, many of a very ambiguous nature, the use of UDRS only breaks the flow of the game instead of being of any substantial help.
In any case, if the umpires are nearly 90 per cent right in their decisions, why make use of a technology, which may not remove all doubts.
It is being said that some of the senior Indian players, after their unhappy experience with this system in Sri Lanka —the only time they made use of it in a Test series — are the ones who have pushed the Indian Board into saying no to it.
All these arguments make sense but we must keep in mind that India is now the only Test playing nation that is against its use, while the rest of the countries have accepted it.
They all, obviously, feel that till a better system is evolved, this is the best way forward to minimise umpiring errors, especially when a batsman or a bowler believes he has got a wrong decision.
We in India should also remember that among the entire cricket playing nations we are the ones who have perhaps the most volatile fans and, fuelled by a jingoistic media, we make all umpiring errors that go against us a matter of national outrage.
The Sydney Test against Australia, where umpire Steve Bucknor’s errors of judgment almost threatened the tour is still fresh in the memory.
A Sachin Tendulkar can get on with life even after having received a wrong decision, but his fans in India can’t.
The series in South Africa is one of the most important Test clashes from an Indian and even world perspective and no one would like it to be marred by umpiring controversies.
At stake here is India’s Number One Test ranking, which means nothing unless we beat them on their home turf.
That is why I feel India should, like the rest of the world, have accepted the UDRS.
It may not be the best method, but it does reduce the margin of error, especially when TV replays go on and on making use of the same technology to prove to the viewers that the umpire has made a mistake.
I do understand why some of the senior players are against its use but I see little merit in India going against the tide.