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Tony Becca | India's Kohli speaks out, at last

Published:Sunday | October 16, 2016 | 10:13 AMTony Becca
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli (right).

When first I saw Virat Kohli at bat, I thought he had everything to become a really top class batsman.

When next I saw him, on the television screen, I realised he had become one of the best, probably the best batsmen of his time.

Recently, however, I noted that, as the captain of India, he had also developed into a strong, knowledgeable, and confident leader, confident enough to say what he thinks, and especially about the intricacies of the game.

Umpiring, and its decisions, especially whenever a team loses, has long been the talk of cricketers and the ridicule of players for a long time, to the point that the International Cricket Council (ICC) went from two home umpires to sometimes one home umpire, to one home umpire, to two 'neutral' umpires, and finally to two 'neutral' umpires and the

Decision Review System (DRS) which calls for the use of the television in close and 'challenged' situations.

Some of the countries did not fully trust the television to see it right every time but despite that they agreed to its use.

There was, and still is one, however, who refused to use it in any Test match, at home or abroad, in which it is involved. And that team is India, the big, rich, and bad India.

They have, time and time again, rejected the idea of using it, especially for leg before wicket (LBW) decisions, for the simple that they not believe in the path the ball travels, according to the television, after it hits the pad on the way to the stumps.

They also have no confidence in the television's judgement as to the bounce of the ball in relation to it hitting the stumps after hitting the pads.

And their captains, all of them, including the much celebrated Mahendra Singh Dhoni, agreed with India every step of the way, even on those occasions when it appeared that the decision of the umpire on the field went against them.    

Recently, however, during the recent India/New Zealand series in India, Kohli stepped up, stepped out of line, and spoke about the need to further discuss the issue because it obviously is hurting India.

In giving India's strongest view that it will start using the DRS system soon, Kohli said recently, 'we will certainly look to probably introduce it (DRS) in future'.

Kohli may be thinking this way because during his short time as captain India have lost a few matches which the DRS may have saved, and this obviously convinced him of the merits of a review system.

"Having opposed the DRS system, however, to say that the umpires made an error and it is going against us, is not logical," said Kohli.

"These are the things we have discussed. These are the things we have been meeting on because we felt that these areas can be debated, especially where it concerns the ball-tracking and Hawkeye.

"Once DRS is up and running for us as well, then you can sit and think what are the grey areas. We want to definitely think about it," said the Indian captain.

That is well said.

India is a part of the cricket family, and an important at that.

As probably the world's strongest team at the moment, as the home of the richest cricket league in the world, the Indian Premier League, and as the country responsible for some 75 percent of the world's cricket revenue, it is undoubtedly cricket's most valuable member.

It is, to me at least, very strange that India has not fallen in line with the other countries in respect to the use of the DRS.

The DRS has its short-comings, but the problems are nothing that round-table talks cannot solve, or could not solve. India should not have been allowed to get away with doing its own thing when it has been a part of cricket, and a big part at that.

If Kohli's wishes come true, cricket will be the better for it, and so will India.

The DRS is an expensive exercise, and that is the reason why Zimbabwe is the only other country which no longer uses it in Test matches, which are seen as bilateral arrangements.

In ICC-controlled tournaments, such as 50-over tournaments, however, every country, including India, is forced to use DRS, and that is good.

Thanks to Kohli, it appears that every team is now singing from the same hymn book, or intends to do so, and in the interest of good cricket and fair play, that must be good for cricket, at least until the whole DRS situation, and certainly as its concerns LBW decisions, is cleared up the satisfaction of all.