The World Cup has become a testing ground for a debatable system, writes Makarand Waingankar
The inconsistent use of the UDRS has caused fresh controversy and invited a lot of criticism. After the India-England match, Mahendra Singh Dhoni criticised the ICC's insistence of using the UDRS.
Former South African wicketkeeper David Richardson, who handles the cricketing affairs, said Dhoni should have known the rules before criticising the system.
The 2.5 metre rule that has exposed the UDRS is not the handiwork of one person in the ICC. Though the BCCI on behalf of the Indian team has been steadfastly opposing the system, the ICC for reasons best known to it is implementing it in international matches not involving India.
Dhoni like many cricketers, officials and some people from the media may not be aware of the process but it was certainly the duty of the representatives of India in the ICC committees to have briefed the nation through the media about certain contentious issues in the playing conditions.
When this columnist sought to know the process, the Head of the Media Relations of the ICC, Colin Gibson, promptly replied that the ICC cricket committee which met in May 2010 in London approved the playing conditions. The meeting was not attended by Kumar Sangakkara and former Australian captain Mark Taylor. However, Gary Kirsten and Ravi Shastri had attended the meeting.
The recommendations of the ICC cricket committee were accepted by the Chief Executives' Committee and then the ICC Executive Board in Singapore in June 2010. All members including the President of the ICC Sharad Pawar and the officials of the BCCI were present.
From the statement that Dhoni made one can deduce that he wasn't made aware of the process by Gary Kirsten and despite such a big controversy Kirsten has chosen to be in the background.
Ironically N. Srinivasan, the BCCI secretary, who shot off an angry letter asking Haroon Lorgat to stop David Richardson from making statements on such sensitive issues, was also present at the ICC Executive Board's meeting that was held in Singapore.
The ICC Cricket Committee consists of cricketers of the stature of Clive Lloyd, Ian Bishop, Ranjan Madugalle and umpire Simon Taufel apart from Gary Kirsten, who is the representative of the full member team coaches, and Ravi Shastri, representative of the media.
Though Kirsten represented all the full members, from India's point of view he was a very important member of the committee. He may have opposed the 2.5 metre rule but it was clear that the team back home had no clue about the rule. The Indian team looked stupid when Bowden didn't change the decision. Imagine the World's No. 1 team playing the World Cup without knowing the playing conditions!
There may be faults with the UDRS but if the 2.5 metre rule had to be introduced then the ICC ought not to have tried it out at a mega event like the World Cup. The umpires are now under tremendous pressure. The World Cup has become a testing laboratory for a debatable system.