The Decision Review System (DRS) has been one of the most divisive innovations in cricket’s chequered history. Having enjoyed a trial run in the India vs Sri Lanka series in 2008, the system was officially given the nod the next year when New Zealand locked horns with Pakistan.
Ever since its introduction, there have been several occasions where said system has either not arrived at the right decision or has courted controversy with regards to its usage.
Today, we are concerned with the former as the contentious decision to send Daryl Mitchell packing in the second T20I of the ongoing India-New Zealand series again ignited an already raging debate.
After being struck on the pad, Mitchell opted for the review on consultation with his partner. Replays showed a clear mark on ‘Hot Spot’ yet the original decision of ‘out’ was upheld due to a ‘lack of evidence’.
The fact that ‘Snicko’ didn’t display a spike also contributed to the umpire finalising his decision.
Thus, nearly a decade after its debut, the jury is still out on the suitability of the DRS and the baggage of inevitable errors that comes along with it.
Hence, the time is right to take a trip down memory lane and re-live some other dubious decisions the DRS has come up with in the past decade.
Here is a look at a few of them:
#3. Hanuma Vihari (Australia vs India, 4th Test at Sydney, 2019)
The incident happened as recently as a month ago when India and Australia were embroiled in a tightly-contested series.
On the second day of play at the SCG, Hanuma Vihari appeared to offer a simple catch to Marnus Labuschagne at short-leg off Nathan Lyon’s bowling. The on-field umpire, Ian Gould thought so too and ruled in favour of the bowler.
Vihari though, felt that neither he nor his gloves had made contact with the ball before it lobbed to the fielder. Thus, he immediately signalled for a review.
On inspection, it was found that there was indeed a spike on ‘Snicko’ and Marais Erasmus upheld the decision. Yet, on further introspection, it was found that the spike had come after the ball had passed the bat.
Commentators who were on-air too found it difficult to justify the third umpire’s decision but it was too late to overturn the decision.
The officiating in the above instance left a lot to be desired and definitely makes the cut for being one of ‘those’ DRS howlers.
#2. Virat Kohli (England vs India, 4th Test at Southampton, 2018)
The Test series between India and England in 2018 was tantalizingly poised at 2-1 in the latter’s favour heading into Southampton. And the outcome of the series was very nearly decided by an average umpiring decision.
Batting alongside Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli survived a vociferous LBW appeal off Moeen Ali. England weren’t satisfied with the verdict and decided to go upstairs.
Replays showed that there was certainly a spike on ‘Snicko’. However, the movement was the bat hitting the pad rather than the former hitting the ball.
The third umpire, Joel Wilson decided to rule in favour of the batsman despite the ball crashing into leg-stump according to Hawk-Eye.
Yet again, the deviation on Snicko was misinterpreted by the umpire to arrive at a wrong decision.
Though the decision didn’t end up costing England, it surely was another one of those decisions where the DRS and its usage went slightly haywire.
#1. Nathan Lyon (Australia vs New Zealand, 3rd Test at Adelaide, 2015)
Australia came into the third Test at Adelaide holding a 1-0 lead. The Test was a day-night affair and had everyone on their toes throughout.
However, in Australia’s first innings, there was a moment of controversy which would arguably go down as the biggest DRS glitch of all time.
Lyon seemed to have edged a sweep onto his shoulder before the ball was pouched by a New Zealand fielder. The batsman himself thought he had nicked it yet the two men who mattered, namely S Ravi (on-field umpire) and Nigel Llong (3rd umpire) thought otherwise.
After New Zealand asked for a review, the Hot Spot showed a clear impression on the bat. Llong then proceeded to watch a host of other angles including the Snicko, which showed no spike.
To cap off the worst sequence of five minutes in recent memory, Llong was provided with a different replay altogether when checking through Hawk Eye.
Eventually, Llong advised Ravi to uphold his on-field decision as he felt the mark on the bat could’ve come from anywhere.
Yet, without the pad in close proximity, the only thing the bat could’ve hit was either the ball or probably a little wasp buzzing around.
Whatever went down on the day in question, it was definitely the worst use of the DRS by quite a margin.
And the Daryl Mitchell decision today just brought those infamous images flooding back.