MORNING viewers. As you may have gathered, I am usually fairly critical of the BCCI. Their treatment of my profession during the recent England Test series was Stalinesque. Their selection policies appear to have all the long term forethought of a Shane Warne tweet. Their lack of investment in grassroots cricket is matched only by leading Test nations such as Yemen and Turkmenistan, and they are about as transparent as a 10 metre thick concrete wall
Finally, they have the arrogance to suggest that by rejecting the DRS, they are smarter than everyone else in the room. Viewers, I have come to the conclusion that they may have gotten this one right.
Back in my day, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and Genghis Khan was opening up the Silk Road, all faith and respect lay with the umpires. A polite enquiry of “How is that?” was met with an affable “Not Out”, or the raising of the index finger.
In either case, neither the bowler nor batsmen felt aggrieved, the game continued and all looked forward to see what the ladies had prepared for the lunch break. Perhaps a game was won or lost here or there due to a wrong call, but Yin and Yang were always on hand to smooth out the bumps over the longer term.
The game was human, respected uncertainties and irregularities, welcomed the unique character of the umpires and entrusted them to do their best for the game at hand.
It appears to me viewers that the BCCI, in either their wisdom, or more likely in a show of powerful, stubborn and childish defiance, have actually stumbled across this fact and are attempting to protect it.
I challenge anyone to suggest that when a clear catch is taken yet the umpire asks the DRS to confirm whether a no-ball occurred, that this is somehow “good for the game.” How about when the DRS points to 49% of the ball hitting the stumps and subsequently would send the bails flying to the moon, yet apparently that is not enough ball.
What task is the umpire now left with?
He signals fours and sixes. He gets to hold up the new ball every 80 overs. Sometimes he intervenes to tackle a pitch invader. He even gets to flick the bails of the stumps at the end of each session.
Marvellous tradition, that.
However, why call no ball when the DRS does that for you? Why turn down an appeal? Just refer it. The umpire now serves no logical purpose. In fact, the only thing he can do that is not currently ‘challengeable’ is call a wide. Even if he calls “over” early, his partner or that little voice from his earpiece can correct him.
So, I applaud the BCCI in this instance. Stand up to the DRS. It is not good for our game. It is not good for our umpires. It is not good for our culture. It adds no value.
No system is perfect, but one that involves human interpretation within the bounds of a noble sport must be better than one that does not.
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