India's tussle with DRS

Purnima Malhotra

India’s dubious stance on the controversial Umpire Decision Review System has yet another critic. After former Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi’s latest outburst against India’s ongoing refusal to accept the DRS, England’s Geoffrey Boycott has openly criticized BCCI’s blockage of the new technology for the upcoming Test series in England.

Overwhelmingly supporting the advanced use of technology in the game of cricket, Former England captain Geoffrey Boycott feels that if majority countries welcome DRS, they should make a bold move and together out-vote BCCI’s standpoint on the same. However, Boycott didn’t hesitate to add the fact that most of the boards are frightened to take a stand against India, given BCCI’s financial might.

“If a majority of the ICC countries believe that the DRS is a good improvement for international cricket, they should vote for it and say, ‘Sorry India, you are in a minority.’ It’s supposed to be a democracy around the world, where the majority takes precedence,” Boycott said.

India has refused to use the technology in the upcoming four match Test series against England. BCCI, supporting the plea of its majority players, has fervently opposed the DRS since its inception, stating that the technology, they believe, is not foolproof.

After a hard fought battle to introduce UDRS to the game, the ICC has been since then trying, unsuccessfully though, to settle the controversies and make its use mandatory. Settling the controversial issue through voting tops the ICC’s agenda at the International Cricket Council (ICC) Annual Conference in Hong Kong later this month.

Criticizing other cricket boards for being meek players in the ICC and not offering any resistance to BCCI’s stance, Boycott said, “there is fear to offend, and some countries are totally afraid to offend India. Many countries that play cricket are frightened to death of India’s financial power. You’ve got to understand that before you get to voting on anything at the ICC,” he told the website. He however clarified, “I’m not saying India are putting the pressure on and blackmailing; they don’t. But, underneath, these countries are frightened to speak up.”

The former English opener’s urge to the Test-playing nations to stand-up against India’s denial of using UDRS has again put question marks over the Indian standpoint on the latest innovation in the game of cricket which had fundamentally changed the way the game is monitored in the present times.

BCCI, the world’s richest cricket board, has supported the opinion of its players and vetoed against the mandatory use of DRS stating that the technology is flawed. On the other hand, it is also believed that India’s first experience with the rule change, in Sri Lanka where the Indian team could not effectively use the aid to their advantage, is the reason why the players are resisting it. In a larger context, by not adopting the technology, BCCI is also put a limitation on the hosts, England Cricket team, to benefit from this rule. However, the big concern is that if BCCI, as per its allegations, waits to adopt the technology till it reaches the hundred percent accuracy level, they might soon be left behind.

The BCCI, it seems, have a pretty short-sighted standpoint. UDRS, as proven statistically by the ICC, has improved the decision making process and BCCI, with all due respect to them, cannot be allowed to deprive other countries who favor the system. In making bold statements like these to the media, the unanimous appeal is that the UDRS should be adopted rather than making it an optional convenience for if the ultimate aim is to improve decision making and the technology has facilitated the same, it is rather necessary on ICC’s part to take a stand and make it mandatory.

Edited by Staff Editor


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