I was going through the Cricinfo website today when I saw that, the upcoming series between Sri Lanka and Australia will not feature the Umpire Decision Review System. The news really got me thinking and after reading about Daryl Harper the ex aussie umpire blasting MS Dhoni for his remarks regarding him ; I decided to take a closer look about both of these stories and the Umpire Decision Review System as a whole and how it has changed our beloved game.
What is UDRS ?
In a gist, the Umpire Decision Review System or simply the UDRS; is a technology that is used to check the umpiring decisions made by on field umpires when officiating a match. It contains a set of technologies including Hawk Eye and Hotspot which simply checks the line of the ball and its impact (though the technology used for these systems are much more complex). To check the line of delivery and its impact, high profile cameras are installed all across the ground to capture every angle of the delivery and the data transmitted from those cameras are used to make the decision .The system is mainly used for lbw's and catches behind the wicket and can agree with the decision made by the on field umpires or can help them to change the decision if they have done a mistake.
Why People Don't Like UDRS ?
Though this technology seems a great idea, it is very costly when it comes to implementation. Hence, most cricket boards doesn't want it since they cannot bear the cost incurred by it.
Another reason why people doesn't like this technology is because it could overturn decisions in very small margins and can make life difficult for batsmen. The classic example for this is the Sri Lanka - India series of 2008 where Indians were blown away by Ajantha Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan with the UDRS helping them to overturn a lot of decisions that was originally called "not out".
Also, players don't know how to use it to good effect and could make wrong decisions. Each team get only 2 or 3 chances to use the system. So, using it incorrectly could harm them big time when they really need to review a decision. The umpires also don't seem to like the system since if most of their decisions get overturned by the UDRS, then they are considered as bad umpires and could loose their reputation , their status or even their job.
So What's all this Fuss About ?
Going back to the two stories I have mentioned earlier, it is clear that the UDRS has bought a lot of problems to the world of cricket.
SLC ( Sri Lanka Cricket ) have decided to drop the UDRS from the aussie series simply because it cannot comprehend the cost that goes into implementing it. Being a board that is at present drowned in debts, I feel its a good move , but deep inside I feel our bowlers would have benefited from the UDRS since they always end up in the wrong side of decisions which are mostly correct when checked with the technology.
The Indian case is far more severe and problematic and it has been the case since the day UDRS was introduced to the game. They have never used the system for any of the bi lateral series they have played so far except for the one against Sri Lanka which they lost and only used it during the World Cup ( which did bought some decisions against them and made them hate the system more). The Indians are using their power and money to keep away the system being implemented to their games and when they get any decisions wrong, they have started blasting and intimidating the on field umpires (ex: Daryl Harper). This is a very pathetic situation for the game and should be something that needs to be fixed by the ICC itself who so far, has kept their mouths shut regarding this whole fiasco.
How can the ICC revive this situation ?
The ICC have already made the decision that the UDRS will be mandatory to all types of international cricket from October 1st 2011.
Personally, I think its a good move but they will need to provide funds to debt driven cricket boards in Sri Lanka , Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. This process will take some time so one can't be so sure that the UDRS will be used for every series after the previously mentioned date.
It is also important to change the players mindset and get them to respect the on field umpires more. A computer cannot always make the correct decisions and the on field umpire presence is required to keep peace between players as well to control the game. If the ICC can get those things right; then there is a good chance that the UDRS and its adoption will be successful.
Technology is great as long as it is implemented correctly and hopefully the ICC , the cricket boards , the umpires and the players will understand it when the UDRS is finally implemented.
The game needs to be played in the proper manner it used to be played and each one mentioned above hopefully will understand it; as we as fans don't want anything bad to happen, to our most loved sport we call "Cricket".
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