During the course of the first Test in Kanpur, New Zealand batting coach Craig McMillan spoke about the pressure of playing in front of vociferous crowds in India. But he accepted it as part of the game.
While it is hard on visiting players, imagine what the umpires go through, especially with the India players appealing almost every time the ball hits the pad or goes past the edge.
The appeals, along with the crowd’s raucous behaviour, left the umpires flustered, as was evident from the mistakes they made and the pressure showed on their faces.
A New Zealand team member had pointed out the decisions that went against them in one of the pressers. He didn’t complain but made a passing reference to them when counting the reasons for his team’s failure.
In the first innings, Ross Taylor was given leg before despite the ball going down leg. In the second innings, on the fifth day, BJ Watling looked like he was short-changed.
There were other appeals, however, that did go New Zealand’s way.
A senior umpire told HT that officiating in India is not easy. “On Indian grounds, there is a lot of noise and dust. Besides, the Indians indulge in excessive appealing. This builds pressure on the umpire. Sometimes he can’t hear the edge, often he can’t track the ball. It is tough.”
Such decisions and the ensuing problems bring the focus back on the Decision Review System (DRS).
The BCCI has been one of the staunchest opponents of the system, arguing that smaller boards cannot afford it. The fact remains that some of the recent series using DRS have shown that decision-making has improved.
The debate over the use of DRS had snowballed into an angry exchange on air between Nasser Hussain and Ravi Shastri during India’s tour of England in 2014.
The debate died down, but is likely to raise its head again with the recent questionable decision. The BCCI, though, is unlikely to relent as the benefits the Indians are deriving far outweigh the losses, at least at home.