Umpires or Robots – 2

Umpire gives an LBW decision OUT. Review taken. Ball pitches in line, impact in line, wickets umpires call. The Batsman is given out. 

Umpire gives an LBW decision NOT OUT. Review Taken. Ball pitches in line, impact in line, wicket umpires call. But this time the Batsman is given not out. 

This is the reason DRS has been a topic of debate over the years. The Decision review system was brought into the game to reduce the errors made by the umpires. This technology was meant to take out confusion but it has brought in more confusion and debate. There have been a number of players who support the DRS system but there are also those who don’t agree with it. 

Technology is inevitable and is something that has to be brought in to take the game forward. DRS has definitely given the batsman and bowlers relief on many occasions when the umpires have gone wrong. 

It is accepted that humans make errors in judgement, but it is expected of Technology to be very precise. Hence, the problem comes in with the ‘Umpires call’. When this situation occurs, the decision made on field is backed up. This is because the projected path of the ball which is the path that it takes after hitting the pads is just a calculated result which may not be a 100% accurate. Hence the decision made by the on field umpire is given priority and supported. In a way, this contradicts the purpose of the players taking the review, since the review was taken because the batsman or the bowling team was not happy with the Umpires decision in the first place. But the real issue is that there is a possibility for a decision to go two ways for the exact same ball. 

India under Dhoni’s leadership was the only team during its early stages to opt out of using the DRS system. The reason was that they didn’t want to use a technology which was not perfect. Recently Sachin Tendulkar had said that the decision should be made standard which means it should either be out or not out and should not depend on the umpires call. 

It is understandable that the Umpires decision is given priority when in doubt since they are the ones who are designated to make the decisions and hence their instincts based on the local pitch conditions on that particular day are trusted over the algorithm which may not be accurate enough yet. When it goes to a stage where the umpires call changes the decision, one team is always going to be disappointed. 

There has been some provisions made to deal with this issue like teams are able to retain the review when the decision is made by virtue of Umpires call. However unless there is a consistency in decision making, this debate and contradictions will continue. This is possible only if the decision making is given either completely to the Onfield Umpire or to the Technology. In this case since technology is already introduced, it would be a good decision to go with it completely rather than being stuck mid way.

Do you think it is fair to have Umpires call ? or should the decision making completely go to the technology when using DRS ?

2 thoughts on “Umpires or Robots – 2

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