Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A Letter from the DRS: Its Not My Fault

Dear readers, I can understand your hatred.

After a century-long tradition of on field umpires dictating play, you the cricket audience have been up in arms about my introduction to the game.  I am the Decision Review System, and I am here to pledge my case.

I have been tasked to improve on the human eye, I understand you make mistakes so I am available to you to make sure horrid umpiring decisions do not dictate our great game.  But instead I have been the subject of condemnation and torrents of abuse.

The simple fact is, I am merely misunderstood. My situation is analogous to building a house whose floor fell through and then blaming the hammer.

So who's fault is it really?

For your "overwhelming" support. Thanks.

Your Idiotic Rules
Who came up with the bright idea of limited referrals? If you are going to impose a limit, at least be realistic and give three or more.  I hear you argue that you don't want the players to waste them on 50/50 calls, but now we've landed the ludicrous situation where everyone including me knows its out except the poor sod on field who muffed it. But is it his fault? Alas no, its mine somehow.

Your Idiotic Captains
A smart captain, Mr Cook, uses me sparingly because of the aforementioned silly referral limits. He removes the howlers and the howlers only, anything that's iffy he goes with the on-field call. And voila, I hand him reviews for the rainy days.

A silly captain, Mr Clarke, uses me any which way he pleases and burns all his team reviews. When the real howler comes along I am no help.  And who's fault is that? Alas, mine somehow.

Shane Watson
The bane of my existence! Stop this blonde idiot from abusing me!

"Blasphemous... review it" © Getty
That goes for you too Mr. Sehwag, I haven't forgotten the World Cup 2011.

The On-field Monkeys
How does any sane human being miss the Stuart Broad edge to slips? Ok so maybe you did Mr Umpire, but here's an idea... use me! If you have caused an abomination that even players are obvious about (Mr. Broad's scarlet red face told a thousand stories), then why not just take it upstairs and let me do the rest? Meanwhile what is the second umpire doing, taking a nap? Again this is my fault? I literally had nothing to do with it.

The Off-field Monkey
Lo and behold you finally had the chance to use me properly. Mr. Khawaja misses it by a grand canyon and he rightfully sends it up to me to do my job, I dutifully show you multiple angles and hot spot to prove absolutely that it is not out, and what do you Mr Dharmasena? You give him! And who's fault is that? I hope dear reader you are beginning to see a pattern.

So how to fix this? 
Its actually quite simple.

  • Tell India to be nicer to me.
  • Give the umpires full control of me, if *they* think its a 50/50 call then send it up to me and I'll take care of it! I know you tried this once and thought I took too long, but for goodness sake its a five day sport.
  • Make umpires accountable. Having a brain explosion might be less common if there was a real penalty apart from the name, shame and forget (other than you Mr. Bucknor, nobody forgot that). 
  • Unlimited referrals. Maybe if you trust your players they will use me properly instead of a Who Wants to be a Millionaire lifeline.

And lastly and most importantly... stop blaming me. Folks I am nothing more than a supplementary tool to the existing umpiring system. I am not the magical solution to all things horrible in umpiring.

It is you that pushes the buttons, handle me with the love and care that I deserve and I shall grant you quality umpiring in return.

Contributed by : Varun Prasad
Varun’s blog : The Cricket Musings

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