DRS Debate: Australia struggle but should teams have such power?

So far in this Ashes series, the Decision Review System (DRS) has been one of the main talking points.

Australia have had no end of problems with using the system already, both when batting and in the field, and it has cost them dearly on several occasions.

Meanwhile, England have used the system more effectively, taking the time to think before referring, rather than acting in optimism or on instinct. As a result, they are in a stronger position for it.

However, should teams have this power in the first place?

When batting, the tourists have often wasted their two referrals in attempting to overturn seemingly clear cut decisions. In the second test at Lords, Shane Watson appealed umpire Erasmus’ LBW decision, a foolhardy choice given it seemed to be clearly out. A waste it may have seemed at the time, but this was to have even further implications later on as Chris Rogers, having being wrongly given out off a wayward Graeme Swann delivery, felt under pressure not to use up his teams final DRS appeal. Watson had an indirect impact on Rogers decision and, it could be argued, contributed to Australia’s subsequent collapse.

Australia were powerless as Broad remained at the crease in the first test.

Australia were powerless as Broad remained at the crease in the first test.

It would be bad enough for Michael Clarke’s side if this pointless appealing was confined to the batting, but no.

In the field, optimistic reviewing has meant that when they really needed them, no reviews remained, most infamously with Stuart Broad’s non-dismissal in the first test at Trent Bridge.

Having used up their reviews, the Aussies were powerless as Broad stood his ground despite clearly edging the ball to First Slip. Whilst it lead to huge debate about Broad’s sportsmanship and also how the umpire could have missed such a clear edge, the fact remains that if Australia had been wiser with their use of DRS, there would have been no problem as they could have easily overturned the umpire.

After that narrow defeat in Nottingham, Clarke himself admitted that he and the rest of his team must ‘concentrate on using our referrals better.’

But should teams have this power at all?

One way to ensure the correct decision is always made would be to take away the review system from test teams and leave it in the hands of the video umpire.

With all the technology such as Hotspot, Hawk-eye and video replays, the video umpire could instantly relay a message to his onfield colleagues to correct their mistakes.

Surely this would eradicate the errors and teams would not have to worry about using up their DRS?

In the wake of all this, the ICC have said that in the future this is a possibility, and that ‘third umpires could overrule errors.” To save teams losing games on such fine margins, it may be advisable to bring it in sooner rather than later.

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