Former Australian cricketers Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne offered drastically different views on the effectiveness of the Decision Review System (DRS) after the controversial dismissal of Australian skipper Steven Smith during the ongoing Test against South Africa at Perth.
Advancing down the pitch against debutant Keshav Maharaj, Smith was adjudged leg before wicket by on-field umpire Aleem Dar after being rapped on the pads by the left-arm spinner. Despite being a fair distance down the crease, Smith found himself back in the pavilion after his decision to review the original call was turned down due to the fact that the umpired had initially ruled against him.
Poor decision, says Warne
A furious Smith had no option but to leave the field of play and spin legend Warne sided with the 27-year-old claiming that there was no way that the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps.
"To me, this is a bad decision," Warne said while commentating on Channel Nine’s Wide World of Sports. "I can't believe that's out. It sets a bad precedent for me for the rest of the game that a batsman can run out of their crease on a low pitch and be given out."
Warne also called for the DRS to be simplified by removing the role played by the on-field umpires once the decision has been taken to review the original call.
"It should be very simple. We know (ball tracking) isn't 100% accurate. Let's say if more than 40% of the ball is hitting the stumps, you're out. If it's less than 40%, you're not out. Irrelevant of what the on-field decision was. The DRS system is there to get the right decision. There is an argument that (this delivery) is hitting the stumps and it should be out. But for me, I'd make it this simple: the on-field decision should be taken out of the equation,” Warne said.
Ponting and Swann beg to differ
Warne’s former skipper Ricky Ponting, however, had an altogether different take on the incident as he felt that Dar had made a superb call and that the DRS backed it up.
"I actually put my hands up with a gap of about a foot, saying 'that’s going go over by a foot’ but it turns out it was actually a magnificent decision, it was just clipping the stump and that’s all it needs to do," Ponting said.
Former England spinner Graeme Swann also pitched in the debate dismissing Warne’s views on the DRS and claimed that onus was now on the batsman to adjust their game in accordance with the latest technology that is set to stay for a long time with long-time detractors’ BCCI also giving its nod recently.
“It's a brave decision from the umpire but can you see why it was given when the evidence proves it would have hit the stumps,” Swann said. “It’s the game moving forward and batsmen will have to adapt and accept that their stumps are now a bigger target because of DRS. "It only takes two per cent of a ball to knock off a bail off, so why do you need 50% or more to get an lbw?”