With DRS making its long-awaited Test debut on Indian soil, there was plenty of umpiring drama during the opening Test between India and England at the SCA Stadium in Rajkot. Understandably, the hosts were not quite acquainted with the intricacies involved in the system.
Eager to avoid erroneous decisions like Cheteshwar Pujara’s case in the second innings, former skipper Sachin Tendulkar has called for third umpires to intervene even if they have not been asked to.
The 43-year old pondered, “See after Pujara's decision (in Rajkot), few questions were raised and people spoke about whether the decision should (have been given). Even if the batsman doesn't ask and umpire has given out and in the replay, it shows that, you know, it had pitched down the leg, I feel it won't be a bad idea for the third umpire to intervene there because eventually, DRS is all about getting decisions right.”
He elaborated, “And consistently right (to a possible extent). So, you got to find ways to get decisions right and they should be working as a team - all three umpires (including) the on-field umpires and the third umpire. The whole system was introduced for consistency in taking decisions and if we can get that, then we would have achieved our goal.”
At a time when India were trying to negotiate the last few hours of the match without exposing their lower order, Pujara was adjudged leg-before by Kumar Dharmasena to an Adil Rashid delivery which pitched considerably outside the leg stump. However, the Saurashtra batsman opted not to review the decision even as non-striker Murali Vijay turned his back in disappointment.
Pujara’s hesitancy was all the more surprising as he had sent a contentious call upstairs while batting on 86 during the first innings. The presence of DRS played its part in helping him reach three figures in front of his home crowd. Even though his second innings dismissal did not cost India a lot, a review could have prevented their lower order from having to bat out the remaining overs in the drawn Test.
When asked if DRS should be adopted on a permanent basis, Tendulkar believed, “If BCCI have studied well and they are convinced with this (changes in DRS), then why not. I think it's a positive step. The whole thing was about having consistency everywhere in the world because I noticed that one change - snickometer in one part of the world and the other part of the world was Hotspot.”
“There was no uniformity. When you play Test cricket, there are certain things (which) need to be standardised everywhere in the world and when DRS is actually now as good as part of (or) norm of cricket, then it should be standardised everywhere in the world. So whichever match you are playing, one should not be asking okay what will be happening – is snickometer available or Hotspot available, it should be standardised.”