India to use DRS for England Tests

The message has finally been received © Getty Images

India have agreed to use DRS for the Test series against England on a “trial basis” “to evaluate the improvements made” in the system. India had played in the first series with umpire reviews, against Sri Lanka in 2008, but this will be their first bilateral series since then with all the components of the DRS – including ball-tracking technology – in place.

One of India’s biggest concerns, the predicted path of the ball, will be addressed by the use of ultra-motion cameras. The manual intervention in determining the point of impact will be minimised by the introduction of Ultra Edge, which according to a BCCI release has been approved by Massachusetts Institute of Technology [MIT]. It will also eliminate the possibility of another touch after the first impact affecting the predicted path or point of impact.

“Earlier, there was a possibility that the operator would have missed a delivery and hence an lbw appeal could have been missed,” the BCCI release said. “Now, Hawkeye has developed the technology to record and save all images so that in case an operator fails to arm the tracking system, the images can be rewound and replayed.”

Since their first experience with the system in its nascent stages, India have been the biggest opponents of technology to help umpires review their decisions. The only times India have used DRS since that 2008 series have been ICC events and one Test series against England in 2011. In that series India agreed on a DRS that didn’t venture into lbw decisions.

India’s sustained refusal to use DRS frustrated the rest of the cricket world because India never articulated their opposition. Their former Test captain, MS Dhoni, would keep coming up with convoluted analogies to suggest India would use DRS only if it was proved to be 100% accurate. Their current coach Anil Kumble, who is also the chief of ICC cricket committee, had made a visit to MIT before he took over his India job to be apprised of the latest development in the technology. During the New Zealand series, the current Test captain, Virat Kohli, said India “definitely wanted to think about DRS”, which was the first concrete and clear departure from their stance.

Twenty days later, on October 19, Geoff Allardice, the ICC general manager, made a presentation in Delhi that was attended by Kumble. Two days later India confirmed their acceptance of the system albeit on a trial basis.

“We are happy to note that Hawkeye has institutionalised all the recommendations made by BCCI, and we confirm that this improved version of DRS will be used on a trial basis during the forthcoming series against England,” the BCCI president Anurag Thakur said. “Based on the performance of the system and the feedback that we will receive, further continuation in forthcoming series will be decided.”

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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