Saturday, 3 September 2011

DRS inaccurate again!

Rahul Dravid was given out in controversial circumstances in the 1st one dayer between India and England at Chester-le-street today. On a delivery bowled by Stuart Broad, Dravid poked and there was a noise and much noisier appeal by the English team but was turned down by the umpire. Broad asked for the review immediately. What happened afterwards was baffling to say the least.

To review a knick, as obviously hot spot was used first but it did not show any sign of hitting the bat. Everyone thought Dravid had survived. But then the 3rd umpire decided to have a look at the snickometer and well it did catch a sound when the bat was close to the ball. Now 2 technologies were leading to 2 different decisions but sadly(being an Indian fan) the snickometer was trusted more. Now this raises serious questions on DRS and particularly the effectiveness of even hot spot. The rules are not there to tell what the umpire has to do if 2 technologies do not agree on each other's decision. As soon as everyone specified problems with hawkeye and banned it and trusted hot spot to be highly accurate, problems have come up in accuracy of even hot spot. Earlier in the test series between India and England, Laxman was given not out as the hot spot did not detect anything but allegations were made as to may be he had applied vaseline to the bat etc. etc. just because there was a sound and no one was sure where it came from. And then this decision. In the Laxman case, the snickometer would have suggested there was an edge but Laxman denied it and being the gentleman he is, he cannot be mistrusted. Same could be said about Dravid. A clear edge would have made him walk off the field even before the final decision would have been made.

So which technology should be believed. Hot spot or snickometer? To my opinion, I find hot spot much more reliable than snickometer. Snicko catches sound but it is not clear whether the origin of the sound is actually ball hitting the bat or a brush of the batsman's feet or something else. While hot spot has its share of problems too with it being inconclusive on faint edges and the fact that the shiny smooth stickers on the bat might make its job tougher. But on a whole hot spot is definitely more reliable than snickometer. Snicko can add on to the hot spot's prediction but cannot be used in isolation. But what all that comes down to is that the DRS on the whole has been found incapable of correctly correcting decisions. Rahul Dravid's dismissal was bizarre whether he edged it or not and that means DRS still needs vast levels of improvement. The technology is just not up there to review the marginal decisions. Earlier everybody thought that only LBW decisions command controversy and caught behind decisions would not create such stir and reviews would be peaceful. But that has not happened.

Controversy and inaccuracy lead to hawkeye's ban, so would even hot spot be put off the DRS list? But then why should DRS exist at all if all its technologies are banned one by one? It was a lot easier to accept human errors than such technological errors. The DRS debate continues.

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