The Stuart Broad incident has reignited the debate on the Decision Review System (DRS) and exposed the inconsistency and inefficiency in its implementation.
The Aussies, prone to appeal excessively, had exhausted the two incorrect reviews allowed, but this turned out to be a genuine shout. They had every reason to be disappointed with the umpire in particular and displeased with the system in general.
The International Cricket Council decided to embrace technology in order to get rid of the ‘howler’, the blatantly wrong decision. Towards this purpose, the third umpire can be vested with powers to intervene and alter decisions.
This can be done on the fly, as the man with the remote will not need too much time to arrive at a conclusion.
With poor over-rates eating into many captains’ match fees, drawing the rectangle for every appeal will only slow down the game further. Instead, the third umpire can take the initiative and press the button in case he thinks an incident is worth a second look.
The ICC may argue that the on-field umpires, who are unfortunately seen as mere ‘ball-counters’ with the advent of Hawk-Eye and Hot Spot, will lose more sheen by having a ‘third man’ monitoring them all the time.
But then, the focus should be on getting the decision right, not on who gets it right.
There is also a tendency among the players to accept the third eye’s decision without dissent, something that cannot be said of an on-field umpire’s ruling. By involving technology and the third umpire more, not only will the ICC make the DRS far more effective, it will also remove the ‘we were robbed’ feeling prevalent whenever a decision goes against a side.
It’s more than just a game now with so much at stake. A poor decision could end a career and if this happens despite a chance to make amends through technology, it’s definitely time to review the DRS and the way it’s employed.