WHAT IS DRS?
According to the International Cricket Council (ICC), the DRS is a technology-based process for assisting the match officials with their decision-making. On-field umpires may consult with the third umpire (an Umpire Review) and players may request that the third umpire take another look at a decision made by the on-field umpires (a Player Review).
To make a decision, the DRS relies on ball tracking (to estimate the trajectory of the ball) and snickometer (to see if there is an edge off the bat).
Virat Kohli. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)
THE PROBLEMATIC AREA
While the addition of snickometer technology was seen as a welcome move, it is the ball tracking aspect that has been controversial. Ball tracking traces where the ball pitched, the point of impact of the ball on the pad (for LBW decisions) and then the predicted path towards the stumps.
The human-machine conflict came to the fore because technology cannot make a perfect prediction of how much the ball will actually turn or bounce and whether the ball will go on to hit the stumps or not.
Some umpires said DRS undermines the value of the on-field umpires, players doubted it because of the inconsistency in judging the spin and the bounce.
The Indian cricket board (BCCI) refused to accept DRS initially because the predicted path after the ball hit the pad was not reliable. BCCI added that there was a chance that the operator might make an error while identifying the point of impact of the ball on the pad.
To remove this glitch, Hawk-Eye, the ball-tracking technology provider, created Ultra-Edge, a sound based, edge-detection system that could identify the point of impact more accurately. Hawk-Eye claimed that Ultra-Edge can identify the frame in which the ball hits the pad when there is a sound of the ball hitting the pad or bat.
Satisfied, the BCCI agreed to use the DRS for the home series against England in 2016-17.
MS Dhoni (Photo by Saeed Khan/AFP via Getty Images)
UMPIRE’S CALL CONTINUES TO DIVIDE THE CRICKETING WORLD
Virat Kohli once called it confusing. The umpire’s call has been the subject of much debate and continues to be a polarising aspect of DRS.
WHAT IS UMPIRE’S CALL IN DRS?
As per the existing rule, 50% of the ball should be hitting at least one of the three stumps for the batter to be adjudged LBW on review, in case an umpire’s not out call has been challenged.
Many cricketers and cricket commentators have found this to be a strange rule, considering the ball even slightly brushing the stumps is ideally enough to dislodge the bails, which effectively rules a batter out, according to the MCC rules.
Virat Kohli. (Photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP via Getty Images)
WHY IS UMPIRE’S CALL CONTENTIOUS?
What we see often is an on-field umpire ruling a batter not-out on LBW and then replays showing that the ball would have indeed gone on to hit the stumps. But because the surface area of the ball hitting the stumps is less than 50%, the batter is deemed not out and the on-field umpire’s call stands.
In April last year the ICC Board ruled that the contentious Umpire’s call rule will remain a part of DRS.
Former India captain Anil Kumble, who was the ICC Cricket Committee Chairman at that time had said in a statement – “The principle underpinning DRS was to correct clear errors in the game whilst ensuring the role of the umpire as the decision maker on the field of play was preserved, bearing in mind the element of prediction involved with the technology. Umpire’s Call allows that to happen, which is why it is important it remains.”
The Cricket Committee though approved three changes to DRS and third umpire protocols to be followed.
– For LBW reviews, the height margin of the Wicket Zone will be lifted to the top of the stumps to ensure the same Umpire’s Call margin around the stumps for both height and width.
– A player will be able to ask the umpire whether a genuine attempt has been made to play the ball before deciding to review an LBW decision.
– The 3rd Umpire will check a replay of any short-run that has been called and correct any error prior to the next ball being bowled.” the ICC further said in a release.