HARARE – It was a mixed bag of emotions when Zimbabwe used the Decision Review System (DRS) for the first time during the just ended two-match Test series against West Indies in Bulawayo.
DRS is a technology-based system used in cricket to assist the match officials with their decision-making.
The visitors won the series 0-1 after claiming the first game by 108 runs before the hosts managed to salvage a draw in the second Test.
Emotions ran high particularly in the decisive match on day two when Sikandar Raza sitting on five wickets and looking for his sixth fired in a quicker and flatter delivery which caught West Indies captain Jason Holder on the pads, still on 11 runs while he attempted a backward defensive shot, an absolute plum.
The umpire Kumar Dharmasena from Sri Lanka shook his head in disagreement.
Zimbabwe had ran out of reviews, Holder survived but the tracker returned three reds on review and the locals miss out on a potentially big wicket which would have been the match’s turning point as the towering West Indies skipper goes on to score a hundred.
On the other hand, Zimbabwe captain Graeme Cremer survived on three occasions; first it’s a caught dismissal behind the wicket which is turned down and the two more LBW shouts are turned down before he goes on to save the match together with Regis Chakabva.
In an exclusive interview at the Zimbabwe Cricket managing director Faisal Hasnain expressed his misgivings over the use of technology.
“The second match at the end of the day a draw was a fair result, we didn’t deserve to lose that match and the way we fought, our boys fought in the second innings to put the shutters up and saved that match actually I thought it was a wonderful effort,” Hasnain told the Daily News on Sunday.
“What the second match brought out to me was that how much depends on umpiring? And I can appreciate what Streak said ‘they were umpiring errors which impacted both teams’.
“The decision not to give …Holder out may have cost us the match because they would have then extricate plan as they were still trailing by over 100 runs, they then had two proper tail enders coming in- Kemar Roach and Shanon Gabriel, proper tail enders and you saw when we got Holder the innings folded after that. We would have taken a lead; I think we would have been in a very strong position that cost us.”
The former ICC chief finance officer also admitted that Cremer also had his nine lives as the umpires took turns to spoil what would have turned out to be an exciting match.
“Subsequently on the last day there’s no doubt Cremer was reprieved three times. That cost West Indies a potential win but that would not have happened had that first decision not happened,” Hasnain said.
“So what I want to take up (with ICC) is that if you have technology that clearly shows you that the umpire made a wrong decision why can’t that decision be overturned? What is the rationale for this?
“Yes the rules impact both sides it’s absolutely fine but if you know and if the third umpire can make a decision he can call the umpire and say ‘before the next ball just hold on I want to look at this again’.
“The third umpire looks, play is stopped at that time and he clearly sees that Cremer has gloved the ball, it has gone and the catch is taken, they appealed you have turned it down and they don’t have a review…But at the end of the day I think that technology if it clearly shows they must have a way to do it.”
At that point, ZC communications and media manager Darlington Majonga interjects, “And talking about the DRS system it’s quite costly, you have to pay a lot of money to acquire that technology so for us not to benefit from it is pointless,” Majonga said.
Hasnain adds that it takes between $50 000 and $60 000 a day and “it’s expensive to broadcast matches, it’s expensive to have DRS the way we had it,” and reviews his intentions to raise some of the challenges related to the use of DRS at the next meeting of ICC chief executives since it is impossible to do away with the technology system.
“I don’t think I will go to the ICC with specific issues regarding the decisions that were made in this Test whether they went for us or against us. I think what I will raise at the next chief executives meeting is whether the use of technology when it’s available — how can it be used rather not used at all because it’s funny how these things go on to impact on the match. Holder went on to score a century and Creamer went on to save the match.”
But with all the challenges associated with the use of technology Hasnain said players and officials alike were still better-off than the yesteryears where the match was wholly dependent on the umpires without any referrals.
“There was a time when in the 80s, 70s even 90s where there was no technology to assist the umpires. He had to make the decisions which meant that the batsman were actually 100 percent dependant on the umpire,” he said.
“We have moved from there to have neutral umpires which to some extent has taken away this concept that the home umpires are biased towards the home team.
“And secondly, now you have technology which certainly an umpire can call anytime to look at runout decisions, to check no balls. This thing about two reviews is what I want the ICC to look at and ‘say guys why can’t we just go ahead and use the technology’.”
On the overall the ZC managing director was happy with the results against West Indies.
“I think that one nil was probably a fair result. I thought that we had a wonderful opportunity in the first match. Our batting collapsed in the first innings…we lost this match on day two…we had a wonderful opportunity. We should have taken a first innings lead even if we had taken a lead of 10 runs psychologically we would have been on top,” he said.
“Secondly, I think we fought back very well in the second innings if you reverse the two innings the way we played in the second innings if we had played that in the first innings the result would have been very different but unfortunately our batting collapsed in the first innings and cost us but I can’t complain about that result, we went down one nil its OK you win or lose we were very disappointed.”