How about a ‘DMS’?

It has been wrong from the beginning to bill this as a contest between humans and technology, when in reality it has always been a case of humans using technology and interpreting the evidence it provides. Hawk-Eye can, at best, provide an approximation of the ball’s path, and while being relatively more accurate than human judgement, it is dependent on a number of variables, including overhead conditions, to deliver optimal projections. Hot Spot, while it has improved, can still produce misleading evidence, sometimes because of extreme conditions, but sometimes because of simple human error.

Amidst all the sound, the fury, and the emotion-heavy venting, Sambit Bal’s piece on the DRS comes as a relief. And the part underlined above really goes to the crux of a ‘To DRS or not’ argument that seems to be slipping into a game of ‘gotcha’ by the pro and anti factions.

How about we pretend, just for a moment, that we are sensible? How about we put the cart where it belongs — at the arse-end of the horse?

As Sambit points out, the point of having technology is to use it to eliminate, or at the least minimize, error. So, who makes the error? The on-field umpire. When? At the point of rendering the original decision.

Therefore, when do you really need technology? To aid me in my decision-making — not to second guess my decision after I have made it.

So how about this scenario? You are umpiring at the business end. Anderson bowls, Haddin swishes, keeper and fielder go up in appeal — and you are not sure Haddin got the nick the fielders think he did.

The operative bit here is, you are not sure. And that is when you need technology (Errors — a large part of them — stem from your being forced into a decision without having all the facts at your disposal).

So in this hypothetical scenario, the umpire whose decision is sought phones upstairs and goes, mate, can you check the visuals on this one? I know the keeper took it clean, I think I heard a noise, but I didn’t see an edge. Check?

The third umpire checks the front foot, checks Hot Spot, freezes the frame if necessary at the point of supposed impact to see if there is perceptible daylight between bat and ball, and reports his findings back to the on-field umpire. Who, now armed with as much data as is available, then makes the call yea or nay. And that is that.

Today the use of technology has created a game within a game  (You are playing against the system, you’ve got three throws of the dice, let’s see if you are good enough to put your chips on the table at the right time).

What if we move the debate away from whether or not to use tech, to when to use tech?

What if we replace the Decision Review System with a Decision Making System?

Or does that smack of a solution too simple it of course should never even be considered?

10 thoughts on “How about a ‘DMS’?

  1. Perhaps, the idea was, to muddy the waters? Given BCCI vice-like power sledging – given underworld fixing and humongous monies, the idea perhaps is to detract attention from the the D world by willing a debate on technology and human error and all that the ICC is doing to eliminate fixing- when perhaps this too in its current avatar is about aiding and abetting the current betting eco-sphere?

  2. Pingback: Decision Making System | Random Keystrokes

  3. Even sillier method that I’ve seen no one propose: make the third umpire a real but tech equipped umpire who watches each ball and overturns the field umpire when he sees that he’s made an obvious blooper. What’s the issue with that one? It gets rid of the captain-rolling-the-dice issue, it gets rid of the stubborn on-field umpire issue, and it results in improved decisions. What am I missing?

  4. Prem, you are making an assumption that the umpire was “not sure” if Haddin nicked it or not. What if he was sure that Haddin did not nick it, and the fielders still appeal? Also, umpires may not be sure for not-out verdicts. But typically for an out verdict, they are usually sure. But what if the umpire failed to see an inside edge and gives the batsman LBW.

    The umpire, by virtue of their position behind the bowling crease, is in the best position to make the LBW calls (provided there is no inside edge). So I think LBWs be kept with umpires alone. Any assistance needed to check if the ball pitched in line of leg stump, hit in line etc.. can be provided to the umpire if in doubt.

    For edges, the batsman and fielding team get to be much closer to the action, and hence should have a way to challenge howlers. So a batsman should be able to review catch which he knows he did not edge, or the bowling team be able to review a catch which they know was edged, but the umpire did not spot.

    For LBWs, a batsman should definitely have a way to review out calls if he knew there was an edge. Every other aspect of an LBW decision should be kept only with Umpires as a DMS system as you suggest.

    Lastly, to ensure its not used a tactical tool, DRS should be kept to 1 per innings.

    My 2 cents.

  5. We keep coming back to Bucknor. It was his howler in the 2008 Sydney Test that brought in the drs. And when the 3rd umpire was available for run outs in the very first series in SA in 92, he refused to use it, reprieved Rhodes and India lost the Test and series as a result. As they did with Symonds.

  6. The problem with this approach is that either the umpire may become stubborn enough not to use the tech when it is there or he may use it more often than necessary (like what is happening to the run outs now).

    • So what. If the umpire refuses to use technology, he will take the blame for wrong decision, not the technology. Over a period of time, he will understand when to use it and when not to. On the other hand, if he insists on using it more than necessary, so be it. At least it will reduce the “errors” of the umpire

    • The answer to that is, if you are given tools and you refuse to use them and get things wrong you pay the logical price for it — the sack. Is how it works in any decently run organization.

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