It’s too early to say so, but here’s hoping that Sachin Tendulkar’s LBW by Shane Shillingford today ends the chain of events that began five years ago.
On the 2008 tour of Sri Lanka, India’s introduction to the Decision Review System went horribly wrong. Anil Kumble’s side felt they had been robbed of a few wickets. Statistics tell their own story. Sri Lanka, smart and calculative with their reviews, got it right 11 times out of 27. India, bordering on the impulsive, got 20 wrong out of 21. And thus were sown the seeds of their discontent towards the system. (See the review—and Tendulkar's stern reaction to it—in the video above.)
In a way, India’s opposition to DRS stems from Tendulkar and Kumble. He has held strong views about unreliable ball-tracking technologies and has favoured HotSpot. But later, even HotSpot was proven faulty.
“I am not against DRS, but I feel it will be more effective with the support of the Snickometer and Hot Spot technology,” Tendulkar had said in 2011. “This will give more consistent results.”
Beyond technological problems are the complexities of the DRS laws and their haphazard application. But the BCCI’s somewhat whimsical resistance to DRS would have never taken shape had Tendulkar and Kumble not spoken out against it.
Tendulkar benefitted from a massively important review in the 2011 World Cup semifinal. Some say that HawkEye got it completely wrong. What it did was help India leap closer to the biggest prize in this sport.
MS Dhoni has toed the company line on the subject. But his frustrations have often shown in games without DRS. There was one match involving India where he made the review signal to mock a poor call by umpire Billy Bowden.
So was Tendulkar out today? At worst, the ball would have missed the top of the stumps by a few inches. At best, it would have clipped the bails. But this HawkEye replay (the yellow trajectory) suggests that Tendulkar would have probably played a longer innings today had India not been opposed to DRS. What a pity this incident had to take the gloss off his farewell series.