Some nerves as India step into the unknown
On Monday, one moment from the Australia versus South Africa Test which the India team would have watched intently would have been Usman Khawaja being ruled leg before on 97.
After the batsman asked for the referral, there were repeated action replays on TV. Whether he got an inside edge or not proved an extremely tricky call to make. The decision stayed, but would have left a lot of people confused.
It was an example of how the Decision Review System can be. It’s obvious it takes time to understand and make use of the highly sophisticated technology.
It’s why India cricketers would feel some nerves going into the series against England. In most departments they have the edge over the visitors and are rightly termed favourites, but when it comes to the use of technology in the decision-making process, Virat Kohli and Co are novices compared to Alastair Cook’s men.
Not only are England among the most adept, having used the DRS all along since it was introduced by the International Cricket Council, their judgement and senses would have been honed for the subcontinent with its heavy use in the just-concluded series in Bangladesh.
It’s not just how to use. India will have to quickly learn when to use so that you don’t unnecessarily exhaust your options. They had a disastrous experience the only time they tried it – in the 2008 series in Sri Lanka.
With more experience, teams have grown wiser in key points like which player’s judgement the captain and batsman can rely on, and how much.
There will be some tricks which England will employ.
From what is visible in their games, the non-striker now acts as the umpire for a batsman who is seeking referral. When fielding, the wicketkeeper and slip cordon’s inputs will be vital for the referral.
High-profile as it is, the curiousity over how India use the DRS will have the world audience glued to the first Test at Rajkot from November 9.
Based on its success in this series, the future of the DRS will be decided for the BCCI has agreed only on a trial basis.
But how they changed their stubborn stance in the first place is interesting. There has been a lot of improvement in the technology being used, but it’s coach Anil Kumble who has played a key role in giving BCCI the confidence it will benefit India too.
Among the India players, someone like Ravindra Jadeja could benefit more compared to a bowler who imparts big spin. The DRS aids most in leg-before decisions and the left-arm spinner is one bowler who targets the batsman’s pads with his wicket-to-wicket style.
Following the new change in rule to the ball hitting the stumps, in lay terms, the target increases by an extra stump.
Also, Kumble’s inputs will be crucial. Having become well-versed in the technology used in the DRS due to his role as the ICC’s Cricket Committee chairman, he is in the best position to explain it to his players.
In this battle, India surely start on the backfoot and can expect a lesson or two from Cook and Co’s hawk eyes.
DRS changes in the series
India had an issue with HawkEye ball-tracking system. The improved version will use ultra-motion cameras to predict the path of the ball better.
HawkEye’s Snicko is being replaced by a new Ulta-edge system. It can distinguish sounds caused by bat, pads or clothing more clearly.
Earlier, there was a chance the operator would have missed a delivery. The new technology can record and save all images.
Additional cameras have been installed to provide 100% reliable spin vision for DRS.