The face of cricket changed forever with technology

The face of cricket changed forever with technology

The face of cricket changed forever when India toured Sri Lanka for a Test series in the summer of 2008. It was the first time the Decision Review System was used and Virender Shewag was its first victim as he was given out after the umpire’s decision was overturned. India slumped to a 2-1 series defeat and made just one successful review compared to 11 for Sri Lanka during those three Tests. The technology was therefore met with considerable skepticism from the Indian cricketing board and the teething problems were plain for millions of fans to see.

However, DRS is now part and parcel of the game and it is commonplace to see plenty of challenges made throughout matches across all formats. It incorporates Hawkeye ball-tracking technology that plots the trajectory of a delivery to predict whether it would have hit the stumps if had not hit the batsman’s pad, plus TV replays and ultra-edge to detect small snicks with the bat. The infrared hot-spot imaging also shows whether the ball has made any contact with the ball or the bat.

Essentially it should strip out any controversy from a cricket match. It should be welcomed by players, coaches, fans, and bettors that are wagering on cricket at the best sportsbooks on the web because it stops teams from being unfairly robbed via bad decisions. Hawk-Eye can detect where the ball was pitched, the location of impact with the batsman’s leg and the predicted path past him or her. It essentially removes human error from the game and promotes fairness.

However, it has sparked a great deal of controversy over the years and critics remain vocal to this day. West Indies star Joel Garner famously called it a gimmick, top umpire Dickie Bird said it undermines on-field umpires’ authority and many players, from Saeed Ajmal to Shan Masood, have vehemently disagreed with specific decisions made via the technology, arguing that the projections have been incorrect.Just this year, India captain Virat Kohli branded DRS “inconsistent”. It followed his team’s defeat to Australia, which saw Ashton Turner adjudged not out early in his innings, despite the snickometer showing a spike following India’s DRS call. Turner went on to fire Australia to victory. “The DRS call was a surprise, it’s just not consistent at all, it’s becoming a talking point in every game,” he said. “That was a game-changing moment.”

There was DRS controversy in the previous match, as Australia captain felt aggrieved by a decision that went against him. It seems like there is a general agreement about the need for the technology, but passionate disagreements about how it should be used and interpreted. At this summer’s World Cup, Kohli was fined 25% of his match fee for excessive appealing using DRS. He risked a ban for the semi-final for continuing to appeal excessively and argue with the umpire during a match against Bangladesh, although he was eventually cleared to play.

Yet fans pointed out the clear loopholes of the DRS system and issues with reviews being lost due to the call being a close one. It is now more than a decade since India faced Sri Lanka in that match, but DRS is still experiencing teething problems. Many feel that it slows the game down too much and causes too much pressure on the players. Others just want to see a return to the old days, where the umpire’s decision was final. The Australian prime minister has even got involved, accusing the DRS team of “one of the worst cricket umpiring decisions I’ve ever seen” during their tour of England. Whether you like it or not, DRS and the Hawkeye technology it encapsulates has definitely changed cricket forever, but it still might need refining to make it fit for purpose in the future.

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