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Time to review system: Cricket, tech not in sync

Some would say it was poetic justice that the winning wicket of the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge wasn't adjudicated by the on-field umpire. Sai Mohan reports.

cricket Updated: Jul 16, 2013 10:55 IST
Sai Mohan
Sai Mohan
Hindustan Times
Ashes Test,DRS system,umpiring errors

Some would say it was poetic justice that the winning wicket of the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge wasn't adjudicated by the on-field umpire. There had to be a bit of gadgetry to end it all, an epic Test that left us, even those pro-DRS, content with an observation that what transpired over five days was telling vindication of India's mistrust of existing dispensations regarding technology.

Despite the misuse, as well as use, of technology, that swung the balance of the match either way on few occasions, there wasn't much moaning from either Alastair Cook or Michael Clarke, with the only regret from latter that he had made such poor use of the system.

Board mouthpiece?
One wonders, if that's because of the stance taken by their respective boards towards DRS. Cook was quick to acknowledge that Australia could have won if England didn't have any referrals left. But what if Australia won? Would he have still defended DRS. Perhaps, yes?

Sense how much the result is starting to hinge on technology?

On the third day, Stuart Broad stood his ground despite getting a thick edge off Ashton Agar. After Aleem Dar shockingly pronounced him not out, the third umpire was powerless to deliver justice as Australia had exhausted their maximum of two referrals. On the second day, a goof-up on the end of TV producers (still showing replays of the previous dismissal) ended up costing Jonathan Trott his wicket. Trott's dismissal, a comedy of errors, propelled Hot Spot's inventor to apologise.

So, when Broad decides to not walk, are the visitors entitled to question him? There's something about Australian batsmen ‘walking'. It doesn't ring a bell. Sure, Adam Gilchrist built such reputation, but what about the rest? Mahendra Singh Dhoni once joked that he walks against everyone except Australia. "It's not about Australians walking. The right decisions must be made. And players are not playing in the right spirit," according to former India captain Bishan Singh Bedi, who feels sorry for men in white coats. "Their self-esteem and ego is hurt every time a decision is overturned by the third umpire," he told HT.

Bedi felt players must be as accountable as umpires. "DRS is supposed to be the slave, not the master. The intentions of a player should be questioned. It's not always the fault of umpires. Players need to do soul-searching. If there is an element of unreliability, they immediately holds the umpire responsible."

"What Broad did was really horrible. But point is everyone is doing it. When will players own up and play fairly? Now that technology has taken over, it still reflects that the human mind is cunning. It always check rules, goes to any extent to get its way."

He added: "We should help umpires, and not corner them. They have a thankless job."

First Published: Jul 16, 2013 00:41 IST