Glenn Turner has serious doubts about DRS. So much so that he feels it could add another dimension to a game already rocked by allegations of corruption.
Speaking to The Hindu on Monday, the former New Zealand opening great said, “Technology can be manipulated, many think. Are you adding that additional element to the game when so many questions are being asked about match-fixing? Are you taking corruption into the mobile vans monitoring the feeds? What do you think?”
The technically correct Turner made 2,991 runs for New Zealand in 41 Tests at 44.64 in an era when plenty of wickets were green and genuine fast bowlers came thundering in.
Turner, now 63, said, “I think the DRS depends on a lot of things such as the weather, the position of the cameras. I think we jumped into it too early. Umpires also tend to refer straightforward decisions. It hurts their confidence.”
He is bothered by the reports on games being manipulated illegally. “I came to know that the crowds in some of the football games in South America came to the ground knowing the outcome was fixed. They still went to see the match. I hope cricket does not get down to that level.”
While the former New Zealand captain appreciated the Kiwi fightback in the second Test with skipper Brendon McCullum and B-J. Watling excelling, he was critical of the Indian approach. “They did not attack enough. They went into a defensive mould too early. They also dropped catches. If I were to be an Indian supporter, I would be very concerned.”
Turner, whose Test career stretched from 1969 to 1983, rubbished the idea that the modern day pacemen were fitter because of the work they put in at the gym.
“They simply do not bowl as many overs as the seamers of my era did. And if they do so in a couple of matches, they often break down. There are several reasons for it. As a society, we have become softer. The earlier generations were a tougher, hardier lot. ”
Turner came down heavily on two-Test series. “To me, a two-Test series counts for nothing. A series should, at least, consist of three Tests.”
This formidable batsman made a whopping 34,346 runs in 455 first-class matches with 103 centuries. He played some great fast bowlers in his prime. “On his day, Andy Roberts was the quickest and had so much variety. And the tall Joel Garner would hit the splice of the bat regularly. They were testing bowlers.” Turner matched his skills against the famous Indian spin combination too.
“The difference between the present Indian spinners and the likes of Prasanna, Bedi and Venkat was that they offered so few deliveries to hit. They had great control and exploited surfaces.
“The present Indian spinners are less accurate. Some of them look limited. To me, Jadeja seems a one-day bowler.”
Turner said many of the batting statistics of these times have become meaningless. “They are just numbers. So many things are in favour of the batsmen, from the pitch to the rules.”
The Kiwi played the first half of his career without helmet and the second with it. “If you are a top-order batsman you need courage to play fast bowling, with or without the helmet. If you lack guts, you can go home. Helmets today help the batsmen duck more even if the bounce in the pitch is uneven. You could not do that in the non-helmet era, so you kept your eye on the ball.”
Years have rolled on but Turner remains brutally honest.