Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Tag: BCCI

Doubts about DRS

BCCI has consistently opposed DRS, or UDRS as it was originally known, since India under Anil Kumble’s captaincy lost a Test series in Sri Lanka. The decisions went against India. Other countries agreed on DRS. It was part of World Cup 2011.

Some decisions based on Hot Spot during India’s series in England in 2011 raised questions. India lost the Test series 0-4, five match ODI series 0-3 one match being a tie and another abandoned and the one T20 match. After that India did not have DRS in India and Australia.

Then came England-Pakistan Test series in UAE. England lost 0-3. Now English cricketers have raised questions about DRS. Many LBW decisions went against them and they are not happy about DRS.

BCCI has said it is not against use of technology but is not sure of ball-tracking technology and Hot Spot. It is likely that more Cricket Boards will oppose DRS when their cricket teams lose. In case of England the change was dramatic, from 4-0 victory and No. 1 Test ranking to 0-3 loss and No. 1 Test ranking under threat.

Ball-tracking has to be automatic and not someone’s imagination against field umpire’s imagination. It is said when there is DRS field umpires give more LBW decisions and many of the decisions are upheld. Batsmen do not get the benefit of doubt.

There will be winners and losers due to DRS. When winners turn losers they will complain about DRS. DRS to be acceptable to all should not have any room for error or manipulation.

Too much cricket

There is the story of a man who killed the goose that laid golden eggs. Similar is the case with BCCI.

Recent ODI series in India against England witnessed large number of empty seats in Hyderabad, Delhi, Mohali, Bombay and Calcutta. There was drop in television viewing. The law of diminishing returns was at work. Within six months of World Cup interest in cricket had declined. During World Cup there were long queues for tickets for matches played by India and in some cases there was lathi charge. For the past four years there have been Tests, ODIs and T20s one after the other and people were bound to lose interest at some point.

When IPL began it provided an alternative to people fed up with K serials. Soon K serials disappeared. In 2009 and 2010 T20 World Cup was after IPL. In 2011 IPL was after ODI World Cup which India won and there was less interest in IPL.

Many cities host at least one Test or ODI every year. In those cities people have spent enough money and seen enough cricket. At one time when Tests were few and there was no TV in most parts of India every stadium used to be full for every Test. Then came ODIs, more Tests and spread of TV. Crowds for Tests in stadia declined. ODIs had full crowds. Then ODIs featuring India had full crowds and other ODIs had less spectators, sometimes very few in a stadium. Now even ODIs featuring India do not have full crowds.

Many Indians watch football and car race and interest in cricket is likely to decline. With less people watching there will be less money and that means decline of BCCI’s clout. That may mean politicians and businessmen leaving BCCI and cricketers running BCCI.

Loss at Edgbaston

India lost the Test, the series and No. 1 ranking at Edgbaston. England beat India by an Innings and 242 runs. India were 224 in the first Innings and 244 in the second Innings. This is the worst defeat since Lord’s 1974. England declared their Innings 710/7. India’s batting was average, bowling was not good enough and dropped catches made it worse. The Test was over within four days. Virender Sehwag returned to Tests to be out to first ball in both Innings, in first Innings after UDRS appeal. Hopes that he can turn things around were dashed. For India, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the top scorer in both Innings, 77 and 74 not out. India’s No. 1 ranking lasted 20 months.

After many years India lost three Tests in a row. With every Test the margin of defeat increased. India lost the first Test at Lord’s by 196 runs, the second at Trent Bridge by 319 runs and the third at Edgbaston by an Innings and 242 runs. However in the second Test bowlers took 20 wickets. The series that was dubbed as the champions versus the challengers proved one-sided.

What went wrong? England were a better side, a young side, they had home advantage, their bowlers were outstanding, but that does not explain the margins of defeat. Some blame IPL. Some blame Test players, especially bowlers, not playing first class matches in India. Some blame lack of preparation for the series. That is not the reason for the loss in third Test. Some say there is too much cricket and cricketers are tired. That is not the reason as cricketers who want rest are given rest. Injury to Zaheer Khan is mentioned as a reason but our bowling should not have been dependent on one bowler. There were other bowlers and sometimes they did well. Our fielding was bad and dropped catches cost matches. In the third Test India were a dejected and demoralised side as England piled up runs, there was no will to fight and players went through motions.

Some feel Gary Kirsten’s absence as coach has made the difference for India and Duncan Fletcher has failed. How much difference a coach makes is difficult to say. Under John Wright India were runners up in World Cup. Under Greg Chappell for sometime India were successful and then it was disaster. Under Gary Kirsten India achieved No. 1 ranking in Tests and won ODI World Cup. Duncan Fletcher was the coach for West Indies series and India won the ODIs 3-2 and Tests 1-0. Players who missed West Indies series did not do well in England.

BCCI is blamed for having its priorities wrong. BCCI is dominated by politicians and businessmen. Cricketers are unable to win elections. If defeats continue for India there will be no sponsors, Test, ODI and T20 matches will be less and Ranji Trophy matches will have importance.

Dethroned and disgraced, heroes to zeroes, were some of the expressions used to describe the loss. Some compared India’s bowling to county side. Some wondered how India became No. 1. India played well and that is why they became No. 1. They played bad and lost it.

There is one Test left. India can win that Test or draw it and avoid 0-4 defeat and salvage some pride.

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