India accepts modified version of umpire review system

India said on Monday that it had agreed to a modified version of the controversial Umpire Decision Review System (DRS), bringing to an end a damaging row that threatened to tear apart international cricket.

The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) chief executives’ committee unanimously agreed at its Hong Kong conference to make DRS mandatory in all international Tests and one-day matches, India’s cricket authorities announced.

“The BCCI has always expressed its willingness to embrace technology, for the betterment of the game,” said Narayanaswami Srinivasan, the president-elect of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, in a statement posted on its website.

The ground-breaking deal means that India will, for the first time, agree to using the DRS in a Test series when they tour England from July.

But Srinivasan added: “However, the current [Hawkeye] ball-tracking technology, on which the DRS system is based, is not acceptable to the board.

“The BCCI is agreeable to the use of technology in decision-making, which will include infra-red cameras and audio-tracking devices.

“The BCCI’s view was supported at the ongoing ICC CEC meeting in Hong Kong.”

Hot Spot, the “thermal imaging” technology now available and made mandatory in the DRS, will mostly be used for close catches and edges.

But the committee decided that the use of Hawkeye, which tracks the trajectory of the delivery, would continue to depend on agreement between both teams in any match.

LBW decisions will continue to be governed by the on-field umpires.

Significant concession
Under the agreement, teams will be allowed to make one incorrect challenge to an on-field umpire’s decision before all their referrals for that innings are used up. A two-challenge system, broadly accepted by most of cricket’s leading nations, was in use at the recent World Cup in the subcontinent, which India won.

The BCCI had questioned the accuracy of the technology involved in the DRS and Monday’s deal marks a significant concession from the world champions, who have been opposed almost from the moment of the system’s inception in 2009.

India had been adamant they wanted no part of DRS in their four-Test tour of England, and a controversial LBW decision during the rivals’ tied World Cup match, where England’s Ian Bell was given not out even though replays suggested he was in fact LBW, seemed to have hardened their stance.

But Dave Richardson, the ICC’s general manager for cricket, had said following a two-day meeting of the ICC’s cricket committee at Lord’s in May he was confident of changing India’s mind.

India, whose financial clout in world cricket gives them huge bargaining power among the Test-playing nations, have often drawn criticism for what has been seen as their unhealthy influence on the global game.

“Making DRS mandatory is a move that has huge consequences for the game, and we can’t talk enough before implementing it,” said ESPNcricinfo assistant editor Sidharth Monga in an opinion piece on the website.

The mandatory terms and conditions for the DRS have been recommended to the executive board for approval on Tuesday, seen as a formality now that India’s crucial backing has been secured. — AFP


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