Tony Becca, Contributor
Cricket, like almost every sport, has changed over the years, and in every case, and although it usually takes so long to come into effect, the change is usually for the better.
The umpire's decision is vital in cricket, and in an effort to get the correct decision, cricket has joined sports like baseball, basketball, American football, and tennis in leaning on technology.
Unlike those sports where the governing bodies rule on matters affecting their sport, however, cricket has no such power, or does not wield such power.
When the ICC talks, especially on matters relating to the basic principles of the game, no one listens, at least no one who matters, and certainly not one like India.
For years, cricket has been struggling to get rid of home-town decisions by umpires and to cut out poor decisions by umpires.
To make it easier for umpires, cricket has finally come up with the use of technology, with the DRS (Decision Review System), and despite its record of getting things just below 100 per cent right, India is against it.
India is the only country standing firm against the review system, and they are standing firm because they have no confidence in the ball tracking system for leg before wicket decisions and in hot spot for edges.
They believe that the system cannot consistently get it right.
The ICC, however, after India's consistent rejection of the system, recently again tested the two systems through the use of experts, and found again, rightly or wrongly, that in both cases the results were 100 per cent accurate.
Unfortunately, the results of those tests were not tabled at the ICC meeting in Kuala Lumpur in June, India did not see them, and the ICC has agreed since then to send a delegation to India to go through it with them.
I agree with India where it concerns the leg before wicket decisions, and whether India will accept this latest finding is left to be seen.
Certainly, however, if making better decisions is the purpose of the DRS, if that is also the aim of the ICC and of everyone in cricket, then the use of the DRS, perfect or not, is much better than no DRS at all.
While I agree with the use of the DRS regardless of its accuracy at this point, my quarrel with the ICC and the use of the DRS include the use of the ball-tracking system and the number of calls a player is allowed in an innings.
On top of that, the use of the system must be mandatory.
Early in its life, the DRS system stated that it would only be used for leg before wicket decisions to determine where the ball pitched in relation to the stumps, where the ball hit the batsman in relation to the stumps, and whether or not the ball hit the bat because the law says a batsman cannot be out if the ball pitches outside the line of the leg-stump, if the ball hits the batsman outside the line of the off-stump when he offers a stroke, or if the ball hit the bat.
That is how it should be. It should be to protect a batsman from being given out when he should not have been given out according to the law.
Whether the ball would hit the wicket or not should depend on the judgement of the umpire according to the law, and until technology is reliable enough so that it can be depended on to be right all the time that is how it should be.
I do not believe that technology can say to a degree of certainty how high a ball will bounce or how much it will turn on different pitches to rule a batsman out or not out.
I prefer to make that mistake through human failings.
As far as the limitation on the number of calls to the umpire are concerned, I fully understand the reason for it.
I know that you simply cannot allow every batsman, for example, to seek the intervention of the third umpire whenever he is given out, or every bowler to call on the umpire every time he loses an appeal as that would drag out the game.
Every move the umpire makes a decision, out or not out, he would be questioned by one side or the other.
Correct a mistake
It just does not seem right, however, for a number one batsman to get a chance to score a century and a number 11 batsman, who could go on to win the match, does not get a chance to do so, a similar chance, because an umpire is not then allowed to correct a mistake, again.
The DRS should be a part of the game, thus making a decision the same around the world, as often and as much as possible.
That is why the DRS should be mandatory, and why it also should be paid for by the ICC.
The ICC should be responsible for the presence of technology and the extra umpire or umpires just as they should be responsible for the on the field umpires.
For consistency, for fair play, for the best results, for the integrity of every Test match, and for the value of every performance, it should not be left to those who can afford it.
One more thing: for better governance and for preventing players from openly questioning umpires in future, I do not believe the players should question the umpires, not even two times.
I believe that the standing umpire should be the one to ask the television umpire for help. It should not be the batsman or the captain of the fielding team.
I also believe that the television umpire should help the standing umpire without being asked to do so.
In other words, the standing umpire makes his decision, gives his verdict, and the television umpire corrects it, if necessary. Either that or the standing umpire can ask for help from the television umpire, as he does now when, after a batsman is out, he checks for a no-ball while the batsman is standing around.
The DRS just does not seem right, especially the tracking of the ball and that on two occasions a batsman, or a captain, is allowed to question an umpire's decision and at other times he cannot, or he should not do so.