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Reviewing the Review System

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Hyderabad: At NewsMobile, we do reviews regularly. Movie reviews, match reviews, some of this and some of that reviews. However, well into its 14th match, the World Cup itself deserves a bit of review. Now, we’ve been helping you understand the match proceedings and all, but then why not review THE ‘Review’ itself.

The controversial Decision Review System got accepted into the international cricketing fold after stiff resistance from a number of countries including bigwigs India. That, perhaps, is the biggest talking point of this edition of the World Cup apart from the fact that the minnows are raining blows at the supposedly bigger fish.

DRS, as Decision Review System is better known, is a concept that has been opposed hammer and tongs by a lot of cricket playing nations. Teams not just feel uncomfortable using this system, but are also, at time, like us, confused by how it works. It’s simple. Each team is allowed one unsuccessful review per innings.

It means, if a team has asked for a review and it turns out to be successful, they’ll still have one review left in that innings. DRS uses technology like Hotspot, Hawkeye, Snickometer and so on, to help the TV umpire take a call and convey it to the on field umpire. Therefore, if a batting team wants to contest an “OUT’ decision, or the fielding team wants to contest a ‘NOT OUT’ call by the on-field umpire, they could ask for a review.

There are several questions that we, as thinking and analysing fans of cricket can raise about this system.

DRS and its impact on results

Before we discuss that, we should know how many times has the review system been opted for by the teams. If you’re thinking not many times, then here’s the answer. In 14 matches, the two teams put together could avail 4 unsuccessful reviews. The total number of reviews used so far are 30 out of the 56 available. Of these 9 have been successful and the remaining 21 have been otherwise.

Of the 14 matches, 8 have been won by teams that have used reviews well. For example, in the first match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka, the Kiwis won by 98 runs and they had one successful review as against 1 unsuccessful one by Sri Lanka.

Similarly, in the encounter between South Africa and Zimbabwe, South Africa, which won by 62 runs had one successful and one unsuccessful review as against Zimbabwe, which didn’t go for it. The high-octane match against India and Pakistan saw the Indians getting their review right (even though replays suggest the TV Umpire got it wrong), while Pakistan got theirs wrong. India won by 76 runs.

The Kiwi-Scotland match also saw the Kiwis getting their only review right, while the Scots failed in both of theirs, the match landing in the pocket of hosts New Zealand.

Bangladesh, with one correct review managed to beat Afghanistan by 105 runs, even as the latter didn’t get its review correct/ The Pakistan-WI tie, Afghanistan-Sri Lanka affair and the West Indies-Zimbabwe clash also saw the teams using their review well going on to clinch the match. This goes on to show that when good cricketing skills wed a smart DRS sense, the results will be good.

Who’s the smartest of ‘em all?

Ok, so now that we’ve established that DRS has definitely assisted teams in putting the right foot forward, how many of them have actually done well? The Kiwis used DRS thrice and were successful twice.

The Australians, Pakistanis and the Irish used theirs only once and failed. England missed both its reviews, while Scotland and Zimbabwe missed all its 3. West Indies reviewed 6 times and got three correct, while Bangladesh and India reviewed once and got them their way.

Test of the naked eye

Of all people who oppose DRS, the on field umpires should be the ones leading that bandwagon. Why? It’s because not just do the players challenge their decision, but any mistake is out there in the open and they’re forced to accept their mistake. So, how have the umpires fared till now?

Well, very well, to be honest. I mean, 21 unsuccessful reviews against 9 successful ones itself speaks volumes for the power of the naked eye. Aleem Dar leads the pack with 2 unsuccessful reviews against him.

NJ Llong, who had his decision question 5 times, had to change his decision only twice. SJ Davis had a rather balanced time, with two going against him and two being correct.

Overall, the DRS have proved to be quite a revelation, despite the fact that there have been a couple of times when the verdict has been quite bizarre. Even then, any new system takes time to prove itself and despite so many reservations, this system shouldn’t be written away in such a hurry.

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