In an historical decision, the BCCI allowed the use of DRS in the semi-final and final of the Ranji Trophy 2020. Each team was allotted a total of 4 reviews per innings, two more than what’s allowed at the International level.
The DRS, however, did not use features such as sniko, hot-spot and the ball tracker that are available in International matches but had slow motion camera, pitch map and spin vision to assist the third umpire.
DRS Straight Away Made An Impact
Successful implementation of DRS at domestic level was highly susceptible. However, the novel idea instead turned out to be smooth with great scope for full use in future. The DRS in the knock outs was introduced to prevent howlers, exactly what it did.
It made an immediate impact by helping Saurashtra overturn a decision against Chirag Gandhi, when he was given out for duck in the first semi-final against Gujrat. It helped Saurashtra get an invaluable lead of 52 in the first innings.
In the second semi final, Anustup Majumdar got a reprieve at 12 courtesy the DRS. Majumdar went on to make 41,helping Bengal set a challenging total for Karnataka. DRS turned another decision in favour of Bengal in the form of Ravikumar Smarth who was given LBW at 27.
In the Ranji Trophy finals, Bengal got two decision turned in their favour, the on-field umpire’s decision against Wriddhiman Saha and Sudip Chatterjee at 5 and 47 respectively were turned down by the third umpire. Both went on to score half centuries, helping Bengal get close to Saurashtra’s total of 425. In the same innings, Saurashtra’s too got the benefit of the review when they got Mukesh Kumar out caught at 5.
On contrary to the above instances which were applauded by the viewers and the players, Bengal captain Abhimanyu Easwaran’s dismissal in the first session of the 3rd day in the Finals was criticised for limited use of DRS. Critics felt that the decision could have gone in favour of the batsman had full DRS been used.
There are so many if’s and but’s but had it not been the DRS, who knows the results could have been different.
History of DRS and Controversies
DRS, since its introduction in 2008 has received mixed reaction. While some people were in favour of the use of technology, cricket boards such as the BCCI were against the use of the review system until ICC made it mandatory in 2011.
The review system had a lot of flaws in its initial days. In a controversial moment in February 2011, Ian Bell was given not out by the third umpire even when the ball tracker showed three reds. Later, the ICC explained that the decision was not overturned because of the 2.5 meter rule, triggering a rift between the BCCI and ICC.
Later in 2011, on India’s tour of England, VVS Laxman was given not after hot spot failed to pick up a spot on Laxman’s bat. This led to Nair Hussain accusing Laxman of using vaseline on his bat.
Also, in a shocker of a decision, in 2013 Ashes, Usman Khawaja was given caught behind even when the hotspot failed to pick up a spot on the bat. The decision got massive bashing from the Australian Media.
In an another controversial decision, in the historic day night test between Australia and New Zealand, Nathan Lyon was given not out after edging a sweep to the second slip. There was a clear spot on the bat but was not conclusive enough for the third umpire to overturn a decision.
Since its introduction DRS has seen numerous controversies but has become an integral part in International cricket now. Players and we, as spectators have learned to live with few odd decisions. The focus should be on limiting these odd decisions to as minimum as possible.
Full DRS In The Next Ranji Season
The BCCI in a statement said that they might use full DRS in the next season of the Ranji Trophy. “The season has just ended. We will take a call in due time. We will discuss it at the annual captains and conclave and then take a call,” said Karim.
The statement came after players like Cheteshwar Pujara and Jayadev Unadkat gave their nod to the full use of DRS in domestic cricket. “It is important to have it,” said Pujara. “Sometimes umpires can make an error as they are human beings and it is part of the game. BCCI using DRS in knockout games is a good step but I still feel there is scope for improvement.”
“There is no ball tracking and snickometer at the moment. So, I would like to see that in the big games going forward, especially the semi-finals and finals,” he concluded.