South Africa are currently in the midst of a largely meaningless ODI tri-series against the West Indies and Australia. Having lost their opening fixture against the West Indies, they need to bounce back against the Aussies.
But just 6.3 overs into the match, they hit a snag.
Quinton de Kock was given out leg-before after a successful review from the Aussies. While that might sound broadly straight-forward, it wasn’t in this case. While ball tracking agreed that De Kock was a goner, the issue was wether there was bat invovled or not.
There is no Hot Spot or Snicko in this series, and there seemed to be some confusion over whether there were two noises as the ball brushed past De Kock’s pads. At first listen, it sounded like there were two noises and the commentators suggested that they heard them, too. The question then is can the third umpire reviewing the decision be absolutely certain that there was no bat involved? Judging by the amount of times the incident was replayed, I’d like to wager we can’t.
The puzzled look from the dressing room said it all. Now, while we can argue until the cows come home over what we heard or didn’t hear and what De Kock’s body language was when the ball brushed past him, that is not the point.
The DRS system is a fantastic invention, but in order for it to be successful, it has to be implemented unfiromerly. We cannot have a situation where some countries are using some of the technology and others are using all of it. Not only is this not fair on the umpires and the players, but it is not good enough in the professional era.
Currently, the technology available to teams is up to the host broadcaster. Poorer cricket countries tend not to have all the luxuries of the system while others flat out refuse to use it.
We certainly can’t argue over the value of the DRS system, but the sport’s governing body – the International Cricket Council (ICC) have to come to the party and support all teams by ensuring that all the technology of the system is available to everyone. The current implementation of the system makes them look amateurish. As a global sport, cricket is struggling for relevance in the longer formats of the game and incidents such as these won’t do much to help its reputation.
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