DRS issues

By NT Bureau Published on Mar 11, 2017 10:57 AM IST

The capitulation within three days in the first-ever Test hosted by Pune has put the spotlight on India, for the wrong reasons, so to speak. When the pre-series talk was about a clean sweep and how the Indian spinners would run roughshod over the visiting Australian line-up, which was dubbed the weakest in recent times, Steve Smith & Co seemed to have come better prepared.

On a rank turner, it was the home team that stood exposed as the relatively unheralded Steve O’Keefe had Virat Kohli’s men in a tangle. He kept pegging away and the Indian batters had no answers. The 333-run defeat is big enough but the manner in which the team surrendered would be the bigger worry. A lot can be said in hindsight but the Aussies, unlike New Zealand and England, which were at the receiving end in India recently, showed that they had different ideas to counter the rampant spin attack led by R Ashwin. Also, the first innings cameo by Mitchell Starc proved to be a game-changer.

While the batting flopped as a unit with Kohli holding the lack of application as a reason and not the pitch, which is right, the Indians seemed to be lagging behind with regard to the use of the Decision Review System (DRS).

Kohli may been a huge advocate of DRS but his dismal success ratio has shown that calling for referrals is not exactly his cup of tea. The five-match England series against India was start of India using DRS -- something they had strong reservations during Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s tenure under former BCCI honcho N Srinivasan’s regime.

But in the seven Test matches since the start of DRS use, India have got only 17 correct decisions out of the 55 referrals that they have taken. This comprises both batting and fielding statistic and the success percentage is a mere 30.9 per cent.

The problem with India has got more to do with referrals while fielding where they have got only 10 correct out of 42 that they have taken in seven Test matches, while in batting it has been much better with 7 successful reviews out of 13 taken.

While the final call for fielding the team’s DRS rests with the captain, it seems the close-in fielders have fluffed their lines including wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha, who have not been able to get their concepts right about umpire’s call.

Normally, an umpire’s call is very rarely reversed in case of legbefore referrals even if any part of the ball is shown to slightly graze the bails in ‘Ball Tracking system’.

In the Pune Test, on a turner, India wasted all four reviews while fielding and got one correct out of the three while batting. So, it was one out of seven referrals. Only thrice have they got more than 2 referrals correct in a single Test match.

Against England at Visakhapatnam, hosts had 3 out of 9 correct referrals and 3 out of 10 in Chennai. The Bangladesh match at Hyderabad was a shade better with 5 out of 11 correct calls.

So, apart from batting lessons, India needs to sort out the DRS issue before the second Test in Bengaluru.