MCC backs Chappell’s DRS call

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The world cricket committee of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) has backed a call from former Australia captain Ian Chappell for the sport’s authorities to take complete control of the controversial Decision Review System (DRS).

DRS came under fire during England’s dramatic 14-run win against Australia in the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge last week.

England were incensed when third umpire Marais Erasmus, on the field at Lord’s for this week’s second Test, overturned Aleem Dar’s not out lbw verdict against Jonathan Trott, despite not having the full range of DRS replays available to him.

It later emerged that as the host broadcaster was using the side-on Hot Spot replay to look at the dismissal of Joe Root the ball before, it was not available to Erasmus when the Trott decision was referred to him.

Australians were not alone in thinking it wrong a system brought in to overturn the umpiring “howler” or major error was unavailable to the tourists when England’s Stuart Broad was given not out, despite edging the ball to slip, because by then they had used up both their innings reviews.

The MCC panel, made up mainly of eminent former players, insisted DRS was fundamentally sound, with problems in Nottingham down mainly to basic human error, and called for its use across all international matches.

Cricket powerhouse India has long objected to DRS and, consequently, it plays no part in bilateral matches involving the Asian giants.

“It (the decision) was a unanimous view of all members of the World Cricket Committee present at its meeting that the Decision Review System works, and undoubtedly helps the umpires to bring about more correct decisions on the field,” said a MCC statement released after a two-day meeting at Lord’s.

“The committee was unanimous in its opinion that it was the poor implementation of DRS (at Trent Bridge) that led to the controversies, rather than the system itself.

“Human error will always play a part in the game for both players and umpires but the DRS is successful in limiting this.

“With the DRS, more correct decisions are being made and so the committee strongly reiterates its desire to see the universal implementation of the system in international cricket matches.

“A further benefit from universal use would be the ownership of the whole process by ICC rather than by television companies.”

Chappell, in a column for the ESPN Cricinfo website, wrote: “The DRS should always be the sole responsibility of the cricket boards; they should pay for and operate everything that’s required for the decision-making process.

“Adjudication has nothing to do with the television coverage, which is there to provide entertainment for the viewers.

“Hopefully this latest malfunction will convince the cricket boards to take charge of the DRS, and that way every Test will then be played under the same conditions,” he added.

Chappell also argued that the referral system be scrapped, with decisions as to when to call upon DRS being a matter solely for the umpires.

“The arbiters in the middle should be encouraged to make decisions and then, only if the video umpire sees a glaring error, should he intervene,” he said.

“This way the umpiring standards could be raised and only the howlers, and not the 50-50 decisions, would be overturned.”

MCC, which owns Lord’s, stopped running the English first-class game in 1969 but retains worldwide responsibilty for cricket’s rulebook or Laws.

© AFP 2014