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DRS Under the Microscope
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DRS Under the Microscope

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Between day two and three of the second Ashes test there has been enough action with DRS to start up some discussion.

Starting with Smiths dismissal on day two, you would have to say that is as close as you will see to a dismissal getting over turned without getting overturned. The umpires call on the impact of the ball was justified on the road map by a margin of 2-3 millimetres at the most. I think if he was on 99 there might have been more made of it.

I seem to remember a time, when the DRS was first introduced, that if more than half the ball was outside or inside of the ‘umpires call’ it was overturned. It’s been well publicised that the BCCI are opposed to the DRS in the current form and I think this change to rule might be part of the ongoing negotiation to find the balance.

The second instance was Lyons appeal that was originally turned down to find it pitching and hitting inline and going for half the ball to be hitting leg stump. Once again, in the old system, that decision was overturned.

I’m not complaining about these, it was just unlucky that they were both against Australia. On other days we might get those, or they might be split.

In its essence I’m a massive fan of the DRS. But there has been no shortage of beating on the BCCI for delaying its introduction for all international matches, so I decided to do a bit of research and see if I could find someone more informed than me as to the ins and outs of the for and against for this argument.

Enter this article from way back in 2011 from the assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo.com titled ‘Let’s talk about the DRS’

It goes on to very carefully dissect the argument, the myths and truths of where all parties stands, while accepting you can probably never fully trust what the BCCI say.

The first is that there must be clarity on what technology is used for decision making and what technology was introduced for entertainment.

From what I can tell the grey area is around ball tracking. Ball tracking allows evidence until it starts predicting where the ball goes after hitting the pad. At this stage there is no problem from the BCCI. The problem is the unpredictability from there. Ball tracker only gives an estimate, a calculation of what it thinks will happen, and while personally I feel it looks pretty good 97/100 times, there is an argument that it should be used as a tool to make sure the ball pitches in line and hits inline before the final decision of is it hitting the stumps should go back to the umpire or 3rd umpire to make.

When used in conjunction with Hotspot and RTS (Real Time Snicko) all of the technology would now be evidence based. There is no prediction anywhere.

If a review is called, the umpires throw it up to the 3rd umpire, he checks the front foot, clear evidence. He then checks hotspot, evidence. RTS, evidence. Followed by Ball Tracker, where it confirms that the ball is pitching inline and hitting inline, evidence. If the ball isn’t pitching or hitting in line the decision can be overturned there and then.

The problem only comes when the ball looks like it is going to miss. Does the 3rd umpire get the final call? Or does he pass on the information down and let the on field umpire get the final call? Or does it immediately just go to umpires call because he got all by one aspect right?

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