One blames the sharpness of an old, rusty knife only when he receives a nasty cut. Call it to be selfish if you desire, but the average human being bursts out from the cocoon of ignorance and cautious reluctance only when he has been affected.
As umpire Nigel Llong cut short Sachin Tendulkar’s hopes of scoring a century in his penultimate Test match, hundreds of Indians suddenly raised a hue and cry over BCCI’s decision of disregarding the Decision Review System. Strangely enough, these were the same people who had sided with the Board and had been reluctant towards the DRS for so long.
As the side-on displays lit up the television screens, viewers across the country suffered an impulsive sting of emotions as they watched the probable extrapolation of the ball’s trajectory clearly missing the stumps. Once again, the legend had been denied of scripting history.
Had it been restricted to Tendulkar only, the recent hullabaloo may not have gained the impetus as it, actually, has. Another crowd favorite Virat Kohli was the victim of an identically contentious decision while Marlon Samuels, in his second innings, was visibly disconcerted with his dismissal. Replays rendered validation to his disappointment since more than two stumps were visible when the cherry brushed his pads.
As if that wasn’t adequate, Mohammed Shami missed out on registering a 10-wicket haul in his debut Test when his LBW appeal against Veerasammy Permaul was turned down before Mahendra Singh Dhoni, ultimately, ran the latter out in the same delivery.
As a cricketer, one cannot be blamed for feeling deprived by such umpiring mistakes. Had India lost the match, courtesy such errors, the websites and media houses would have launched a Crusade against the Nigel Llongs. However, at the end of the day, the question that plagues the subconscious is: who is responsible – the umpires or the BCCI?
Human errors are a part and parcel of the game for the players and the umpires alike. It is of significance to note that umpires on the cricket field are dispossessed of replays and have only a fraction of a second to make his decision. With Test cricket being labeled as the ultimate form of the game, umpiring flaws, albeit normal, are strict impediments.
It is almost cruel to expect immaculate and flawless decisions from the on-field umpires with the inadequacy of technological assistance. Besides the practical complexities, the continuous shuffle from series to series, with and without DRS makes it difficult for the umpires to adjust to the varying demands of their job.
While the availability of the option of consulting the third umpire regarding the probabilities of the ball hitting the stumps would have certainly relieved Llong of the undue pressure, it would have also augured well for the accuracy of the format that is rumored to deprive the viewers of enough excitement.
Notwithstanding all the issues and technical glitches of the DRS, which have been highlighted time and again by the BCCI as well as some former cricketers, it has been proved to assist the umpires in more occasions than one. While its inability to decide on 50-50 instances has come under the scanner, its certainty in correcting howlers has been unanimously approved.
At least that would have helped Llong make some minor checks and avoid blunders that were considered sufficient to infuriate the crowd present inside the stadium.
Having taken into account all its pros and cons, one still cannot justify BCCI’s aversion towards modern technology. With the regular evolution of cricket, technology, too, is undergoing massive advancements and innovations like Hot Spot and Snick-o-meter are all meant to reduce the ambiguity and indecisiveness that tarnish the perfection of the sport.
With BCCI enjoying the muscle power in international cricket, it is not astonishing when commentators in a match involving India meticulously avoid the topic of technology in spite of irresistible temptations from video replays.
BCCI’s stronghold in the affairs of international cricket is palpable when a reputed team of commentators, whose aptitude in discussing technology is evident in a number of other series, turn their back towards the same.
It is unfathomable, leave alone irrational, how a Board has restrained commentators and analysts from exercising their freedom of speech in cricket matches. While the Indian palate is desperately missing out on the relishing discussions similar to the Ashes, the cricketers continue to be denied of fairness and justice inside the 22 yards.
The other nations, having welcomed technology along with its fair share of shortcomings, are certain to be benefited with its usage at some point of time. On the other hand, BCCI’s obstinacy may ultimately lead to a stage where the quest of that extra bit of precision and unfeasible flawlessness would pronounce complete isolation for Indian cricket in the international arena.