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DRS clears the test (Relevant for Prelims, GS Mains Paper III)

India has a fascinating history with the Decision Review System. It was involved in its conception, was one of the first two countries to put it to trial, and then became the only nation to refuse to use it in bilateral engagements.

Emergence of idea of DRS
The DRS was a result of the Sydney Test of 2008, in which consistently poor umpiring created a fractious atmosphere, leading to some of the ugliest scenes cricket has seen.

First time implementation of DRS
India and Sri Lanka were the first to audition it in a three-Test series in 2008. But it was this very experience that shaped much of India’s opposition: the argument was that the technology wasn’t faultless and it allowed room for unskilled human intervention.

Opposition by India
While the rest of world cricket embraced the DRS, with a vast majority of players and virtually every umpire taking the view that it improved the game beyond measure, India held out for perfection. This it was able to do because of the influence it wielded in the sport’s administration.

The agreement to trial the DRS during the series against England was viewed by many as a welcome end to intransigence.

Two significant developments altered matters.
1. The technology grew more sophisticated: the frame rates of the cameras improved manifold, from 75 frames a second in 2011 to 340 now, providing more data for the path of the ball to be predicted;
2. a sound-based edge detection system, allied to slow-motion cameras, helped establish the first point of impact on the pad, greatly reducing human intervention.

Way forward
It remains to be seen if India continues to use the system after the England series. But the signals are that it has accepted it. There is no doubt that the DRS needs even more refinement and greater standardisation. But with India now on board, the chances are better of the evolution of an even more robust system that protects cricket from umpiring errors.



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