Cow Corner

How can the DRS be improved?

Cow Corner

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The debate rages on. The controversial Decision Review System continues to divide opinion, frustrate, confuse, mystify, antagonise and infuriate.

Yet again, the interpretation of the system left many utterly bewildered and disillusioned with coaches again storming into the match referee's office to demand explanations.

Players, coaches and spectators were all left seeking clarification for decisions made with the aid of the DRS, and everyone seems to have their own solution to the problem.

The latest talking point came when Sri Lanka were aggrieved about the dismissal of Tillakaratne Dilshan. Graeme Swann appealed as the batsman pushed forward to a ball that turned with the ball squeezing off the pad to James Anderson at slip with any contact with the bat inconclusive.

Australian umpire Bruce Oxenford gave it out and Dilshan, without even a moment's hesitation, called for a review. After innumerable replays and an interminable delay, Rod Tucker, the third umpire, found no conclusive evidence to overturn the decision.

Given that the original decision was inconclusive in the first case made the whole situation hard to stomach for Dilshan and his coach Graham Ford, who thundered off in search of answers.

To compound Sri Lanka's frustration, Hot Spot is not being used in this series and the doubt caused Ford to march into the match referee's room to demand an explanation. Incidentally, by doing so he followed a route trodden by his England counterpart, Andy Flower, earlier in the Test, showing that the frustration has cut both ways.

DRS apparently exists to overturn obvious umpiring mistakes, rather than to make a decision from scratch with the available video and audio evidence. Given that there was no proof that the decision of an on-field umpire should be overturned, the original call simply had to stand.

If there was an error, it was that of the on-field umpire and DRS merely upheld the status quo. It is really quite simple. But this thought process is considered too facile by many.

England had suffered a similar issue on day one, losing a review when DRS could not be used to prove that Thilan Samaraweera had gloved Steven Finn to short leg.

The feeling of injustice was felt more acutely by the hosts on today, but the point is one that goes beyond bilateral Test series: how are the ICC going to provide more clarity when it comes to referrals?

Cowers has a few suggestions to email over to Haroon Lorgat and the ICC for the sport's authorities to consider as potential improvements for a system in need of further instruction:

1. Use of technology must be mandatory across all international venues. That means you, India.

2. Choices of technology must be consistently applied across all three formats. If Hot Spot is good enough to use, for instance, it cannot be adopted in some series and not others.

3. Clarity must be provided to the players as to what the TV umpire is asked to assess by the on-field umpire.

4. The TV umpire must provide feedback to the players via the on-field umpires as to why a decision is upheld/overturned.

5. Spectators to be better informed as to why decisions are given/not given. Fans see the replays on the screens in grounds, which is a good thing - but if that happens, they also need the explanation at the end.

6. Coaches must be clearly told what margin is necessary for a decision to be overturned.

7. Captains must be made aware exactly how long they have to decide whether to challenge a decision before being timed out.

8. A decision must be made by the authorities as to whether Hot Spot is worth using, reviewed at regular intervals as technology improves.

9. The ICC should have the final say on what technology is adopted for Tests, not a series of individual agreements between teams for bilateral series.

10. Players must be extensively briefed prior to any changes made regarding the use and application of technology.

What was your view of the DRS controversy on day four in Colombo? How do you think the use of technology and the DRS system can be improved?

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Meanwhile, Dilshan (he's never far from the drama is he?) has been fined 10% of his match fee for the confusing and slightly bizarre charge of 'excessive appealing' when not relentlessly bickering with Kevin Pietersen.

Dilshan was bowling at Jonathan Trott on day three when the he sprinted towards the striker's end in celebration after the ball popped to short-leg. There was no bat involved, though, and the appeal was promptly turned down.

Dilshan duly pleaded guilty to a level 1 breach of the ICC code of conduct, relating to clause 2.1.5. That dictates excessive appealing "shall include a) repeated appeal of the same decision/appeal and b) celebrating a dismissal before the decision has been given".

What do you make of the rule, the match referee's interpretation of it and was Dilshan harshly treated?


STAT OF THE DAY: From four innings, Mahela Jayawardene averages 115.00 in this series with 345 runs and counting - he is 55 not out ahead of day five in Colombo.

TWEET OF THE DAY: Cricket must stop pretending to be poor. ICC says it can't afford technology costs, puts onus on home boards who also claim they can't pay. (DPMilGaya)

USER COMMENT OF THE DAY: If all cricket boards were made to accept the same DRS and its accompanying technology then this wouldn't be an issue. Remember India and the lbw DRS last year? There is no consistency and that is the problem. (John C)

SHOT OF THE DAY: So this was where Pietersen's bat ended up at the close of play...

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