The DRS continues to disappoint but in case of the first ODI and the controversy around the Rahul Dravid-dismissal, it is the third umpire which needs to come under the scanner of the ICC as well. Marais Erasmus was the third umpire who declared Dravid out in highly controversial circumstances in the first game, but with all the uproar surrounding the DRS and its issues, Erasmus seems to have escaped too much notice.
In what was a repeating theme of the Indian summer in England, Dravid was involved in a dismissal that had the commentators gushing with a lot more to talk about then only his cover-drives and the media going into overdrive about the method of dismissal.
Dravid was beaten by a Stuart Broad delivery, for which the bowler appealed and the on-field umpire, Billy Doctrove gave it not-out. England went for the review almost immediately, the Hot Spot showed no nick, but there seemed to be a sound as the ball went past the bat. After watching umpteen replays and finding nothing of substance to overrule the on-field umpire, Erasmus decided to given the batsman out.
The dismissal raised many a question-marks, both against the technology and the third umpire.
1. 1. Was there enough evidence for the third umpire to overrule the on-field umpire’s original decision? It was not so much a question of benefit of doubt but that of the third umpire to be convinced enough by the technology that he had on hands to negate the decision given by Doctrove – was he so convinced?
2. 2. The third umpire seemed to have been convinced by what he apparently heard on the stump microphone (the third umpire cannot use the Snick-o-metre), but why did he choose to use the noise he heard as the gospel and not the Hot-Spot, which showed nothing? The noise could have been caused by anything – bat hitting the ball or, as in the previous instance in the Tests, bat hitting the shoe-laces as well!
3. 3. So, if the ball really the bat, and Dravid himself thinks it did not, and it did not show up on the Hot-Spot, doesn’t it make it the third such instance on the tour that it has happened on this tour? Can Hot Spot, therefore, be trusted enough to use it as a decision-making tool, as opposed to only as an add-on to the broadcasters’ gamut of tools to ensure better coverage of the cricket.
4. 4. Can we now, at least, stop to doff one’s hats off to the BCCI’s opposition to the DRS and not criticise it? The arm-twisting methods of BCCI to oppose the DRS may have hidden agendas or no, but it has now been proved on enough and more number of occasions that the use of technology while decision-making needs to be revisited by the ICC before being used in its current form.