Falling in line

Falling in line

The growing resentment against the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s repeated rejection of the Decision Review System had reached such a point that not even the world’s richest cricket board could ill afford to ignore universal sentiment any longer. The DRS was initially designed as a decision-making aid with the primary task of eliminating obvious mistakes.

In steadfastly refusing to acknowledge its multiple benefits and repeatedly harping on the fact that it wasn’t foolproof, India were selling themselves, as much as the rest of the cricketing world and the spectators, woefully short. Saner counsel has eventually prevailed with the BCCI too toeing the line, though the Indian Board will be perfectly entitled to assert that it has got its way by getting rid of the unpredictable and unproven ball-tracking technology as a mandatory DRS aid.

The chief executives’ committee of the International Cricket Council has instead heeded Sachin Tendulkar’s wisdom and made infra-red cameras and stump microphone technology compulsory elements of the DRS. What all this means is that while several obvious mistakes will be eliminated through the use of Hot-Spot and stumps mikes – Snicko is not a tool the DRS will rely on – leg before calls will continue to remain contentious in the absence of the less-than-perfect ball-tracking technology, which is still work in progress. In bilateral series henceforth, that technology can only be used with the consent of both participating teams.

The BCCI’s assertion in the wake of Monday’s developments in Hong Kong that it has always favoured the use of technology has to be taken with a load of salt. For all its forward thinking, the Indian Board has been the most averse to embrace technology. For more than two years after a disastrous experiment with the DRS in Sri Lanka in mid-2008, the BCCI and the Indian team dismissed it as an overrated and unnecessary facet.

Given the mounting condemnation of their stance, and perhaps driven by the plethora of poor decisions the Indians received in the first Test against the West Indies in Kingston, the Indian Board has finally fallen in line. The world’s number one Test team has a responsibility to the game and the stake-holders, a realisation that has dawned on the players and the BCCI most belatedly.

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