ON THE BOUNDARY Tony Becca
Tony Greig, the South African all-rounder who represented and captained England, now resides in Australia. In 1976, he promised, much to his regret, to make the West Indies grovel and he has come out attacking, and his attack is aimed at India, the country which he says controls international cricket.
India has always been against the DRS, it is has been against it for the main reason that it is not 100 per cent accurate, especially as far as LBW decisions are concerned, and that and just a few days ago, after tweaking it a bit, the ICC presented it again for the acceptance of its members.
Once again, however, although all the other members welcomed it, India maintained its stance, saying it will never accept it until it becomes totally error free.
The BCCI does not believe that the technology, among other things, is advanced enough, reliable enough, to track the ball on to the stumps after it hit the pad, and I agree with the BCCI.
It also does not agree with the number of times an appeal to the television umpire can be made, and again I agree with India.
The ICC, however, believes the DRS is advanced and reliable enough, placed it before the board once again a few days ago, and once again India rejected it.
Back in 2007 when DRS was first conceived, it was, I believe, designed to be used for line decisions, for edges, and to determine where the ball pitched and where the ball hit the batsman in relation to the stumps.
It was not intended to follow the ball to see if it would have the stumps. That judgement was left to the umpire.
Speaking at the recent Colin Cowdrey Lecture at Lord's recently, however, and delivering the MCC's Spirit of Cricket lecture, Greig lambasted India for its continued self-interest, for its deep concern over the IPL and the making of money over the interests of the game worldwide.
In other words, Greig condemned India for being a part of the game's ruling body while thinking only of itself and regardless of the repercussions.
"The ICC is made up of top-class current and former cricketers and umpires. They make recommendations that they believe are in the best interest of the game, these recommendations are passed to the committees for approval, and then they go to the ICC board," said Greig.
"If India does not like them, however, they are at best modified or thrown out," continued Greig.
In the latest confrontation, the ICC did not even ask for a vote.
If India has that kind of power to influence such decisions, to influence other members to follow them, all praise to them.
The question is, however, what gives India this power, the same power which England and Australia enjoyed in the past?
India controls the bulk of cricket's money today. It controls enough votes in the ICC to block any move by the ICC, and according to Greig, and many others, that is so because many countries survive because of India's money, because of India's rich IPL league, and because of the Champions League which is controlled by India, South Africa, and Australia and which is estimated to earn US$1 billion in 10 years.
India, however, is still a part of the ICC, regardless of how rich it is, it is still a part of cricket, and as such it is still obliged to go with the other members regardless of its like and dislikes.
Although the ICC may be wrong in sticking with sections of the DRS, and even though India may be right in their objection to them, the rule of the majority is what counts.
India has a right to stand up for what it believes in, it has a right to use everything in its power to fight for what it believes in, and it has a right to seek support for what it believes in.
The ICC, however, also has a right to do what it believes in, it also has a right to fight for what it believes in, it also a right to seek support for what it believes in, and as the governing body, as the game's authority, it has an obligation to rule on what it believes is best for the game.
Regardless of which country India helps, and they once promised to help the West Indies, regardless of how much they helped, the ICC cannot and should not allow India to block what the other members want, and it should not allow one country to dictate how the other countries play the game.
The ICC's new CEO, Dave Richardson of South Africa, has said that India won't be forced to change its mind, that "it's never good to take anyone kicking and screaming to do anything", and he may be right.
He also said that he does not think the ICC's decision is negative at all, and that we will be seeing the DRS system used in the majority of series going forward."
Those series in which it will be used will be those in countries which can afford it, that means that some series will be played with the DRS and some without it, and that also means that there will be two different types of Test cricket depending on which country you are in - that in some countries, those with money, some batsmen, for example, will be ruled not out and, for the same thing, in countries without money, batsmen will be judged out.
I wonder, regardless of India's kind gestures to others, and regardless of the justification of their objections, if it were the West Indies, or Pakistan, that had objected to the use of the DRS, what would the ICC's stand have been, and also what would India have done had the ICC ruled that the DRS be universal, that it must be accepted?
As one fan has asked, would India have stopped playing Test cricket, would they have severed all contacts with the ICC, or would the relationship between themselves and Australia and South Africa, their buddies in commerce, have been strained?
I hardly believe so.