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15 seconds is too long to decide on a review

Why this rule needs to be fine-tuned.

Reviews need to speed up so as to not slow down the game. Image: The Indian Express

When the DRS was introduced into test cricket, the general consensus was it was there to remove ‘the howler’. The howler being a decision the umpire clearly got wrong. Well that was it’s intent, but that is simply not how it is being used.

The problem with the DRS is the time available to use it. It’s being taken advantage of. At the moment for batsmen, we have the appeal, followed by the walk down the pitch, the ‘what do you think?’ to the non striker. This is followed by the ‘I think it’s out mate but challenge it just it case’, followed by the challenge, often followed by the LBW, then followed by the commentator saying ‘that was a waste of review’.

If a batsman thinks he is definitely not out, then he should be challenging within 3 seconds. Otherwise he is not sure, and thus should not be questioning the umpire. The very basics of sport is to accept the umpires decision, whether right or wrong. This is the essence of sport that has been lost somewhere along the way.

Now if we want to say ‘but it’s professional now, and people’s livelihood's are at stake’, then enter DRS, where the howler has been removed. If you got a big inside edge before it hit the pad on the LBW shout, then you only need 3 seconds to let the umpire know. The howler has been taken care of, and everyone can move on.

Credit: Metro

DRS is not there for the batsman’s small hope that he may be saved by technology. This is not the way cricket should work. However that is the way cricketer’s are using it. And its use is simply wrong.

As for the fielding team, they may need more time. The two players in the best position to see if a decision has been given not out when the umpire’s finger should have gone up, are the keeper and bowler. If the captain is at mid off, or at second slip, then to ask those two will take more time.

Once again however, removing the idea that the dismissal is based on hope, rather than justice, should be crickets aim. To do this the allocated time, 15 seconds, should come down to somewhere between 5 to 10 seconds. Enough time for the captain to ask keeper and bowler, and if they aren’t sure, then they aren’t sure. If they are definite there has been an error from an umpire, then they won’t need more than this amount of time that they are trying to right a wrong. If they are discussing it out of hope, then they are unsure, and should not be questioning an umpire’s decision.

Cricket at the moment is missing out on a very fundamental practice when it comes to sport, and that is respect for the umpire. Sometimes the umpire will not be right, and sport must accept this. If it doesn’t, it tries for the impossible, which is perfection. And sport isn’t perfect. There is no need to deceive oneself into making it what it is not.

The best way to fix cricketers guessing is to give them less time to question an umpire. If they know they are not out when batting, then say so, straight away, not after a chat. And if they know it’s out whilst fielding, tell the captain, and get on with your review.

Reviewing out of hope should not be the way the DRS is used in cricket.

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