December 28, 2011

Horse 1262 - DRS and Absolute Impartiality?

Rahul Dravid was bowled off a no-ball, given out and proceeded to walk off, except that the South African umpire Marais Eramus told him not to go and referred the decision to the video umpire Paul Reiffel. Reiffel duly noted that Peter Siddle has overstepped the mark, and the man they call "The Wall" was still not out at the end of the day's play.

Under normal circumstances letting a batsman play on because they were genuinely not out is fair and reasonable but given that both Shaun Marsh (given out for a duck) and Test debutant Ed Cowan who fell at 68 and was well on his way to making a Century on debut, were both given caught behind despite not actually making contact with the ball, I begin to smell a rat.
Why is it that an Indian batsman was allowed to continue, but two Australian batsman were denied the use of the same technology?

Personally I don't really like the ability of players in any sport to challenge the decision of the officials.
Law 5 of the Laws of the Game of football used to read that the referee among other things was the sole arbiter of the match and curiously the sole arbiter of time. Did that make him a Time Lord?.. and have access to time travel?
Law 3 of Cricket states that Before the match, two umpires shall be appointed, one for each end, to control the game as required by the Laws, with absolute impartiality.
It's that last thing which I've found particularly grating about the decision to let Rahul Dravid stay at the crease. I can understand the Board of Control for Cricket in India's stance that the DRS shouldn't be used but then don't particularly like that same stance when if they should be stading up for the principle, why have they not even made a peep about it when they've benefitted from it?

At the 2011 ICC World Cup, India were on both ends of decisions referred through the DRS:
When Ian Bell survived a DRS review for an LBW decision going on to make another 52 runs, the Indian captain MS Dhoni was livid; calling the DRS "an adulteration of human decision and technology"

Yet when Sachin Tendulkar had a decision reversed against Pakistan also at the same tournament the BCCI made no official noise whatsoever.

I mean fair dos if the two captains have agreed to either use or not use the DRS before the match, but if one side benefits from its use but the other side is denied its use then the absolute impartiality of the umpires is surely compromised.
Furthermore if the BCCI wants to take a stand against the system, then should that stand be consistent, rather than only disagreeing with decisions that go against them? It is totally understandable given human nature that we have a rather selfishly and corrupted view of justice, but there's still something wrong about a set of circumstances which causes a batsman to be out when he clearly wasn't (and denying him a Test Century on debut) and another batsman to be not out also when he clearly wasn't because of the country which he happens to come from*.

*Oh yes India, this is pointed at you. The BCCI have had all sorts of power disputes with the ICC and this is just one of them.

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